Since May 2018, two friends and talented composers and trackmasters LIN and Hylen have been making music together and releasing dope tracks that not only make you bop your head, but the lyrics can be relateable all at the same time. Even around that time, with the power of Twitter, word spreads out quickly about their collaborations and I ended up following the duo since then. With LIN’s creative rhymes and Hylen’s intricately soulful backtracks combined, the duo has become one of the rising names within the underground (?) J-
When I opened
This month, their first full-length album has been released with brand-new dope tracks, as well as the ones they previously released last year. I wrote reviews on all of them, so I’m not going to write about them in this post. You can read the following if you’re interested:
Aside from the six tracks that LIN & Hylen released last year, the following new tracks are included:
- NGS (feat. CHERRY BROWN)
- Drizzing (feat. YUKI (MADKID))
- Tips (feat. Snow Smile)
- 君と何処へでも (Kimi to doko e demo) 2
- Say Your Name (feat. bit_not_yet)
- Found You
In total, 15 tracks altogether.
When it comes to reviewing single releases, I normally would dig deep into the lyrics. But because this is a digital album review and there are no lyrics available (yet), I’ll just write about what I think of the album altogether.
I’m not ashamed about my age. I was in high school when all the MADKID members were born. 3
But that aside, I grew up listening to rap/hip-hop since the late ’80s. Back then, not very many people understand the concept of rap and hip-hop, as many think that they’re just talentless people who can’t sing and just play some random background music to it as they “mumble along with some loud bass music.” That wasn’t the case for me. As a child, I thought it sounded really cool and how I enjoyed their wordplay and rhyming from line to line. When I got older in middle school, the golden age of rap, hip-hop, and R&B began. As I listened to the genres evolving rapidly, I also started to understand the genre a lot more.
My favorite rap/hip-hop groups back in the day were mostly duos: an MC (rapper) and a DJ (one who mixes the back track). To name a few, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, 4 as well as Pete Rock & CL Smooth. 5 We don’t really see much of MC-DJ duos in today’s rap/hip-hop, but LIN & Hylen are a breath of fresh air for these past twenty-something years.
Sometime in between my graduation from high school and my first few days in college/university, I also discovered the rising of Asian-American (mostly Filipino) groups and artists in the hip-hop/rap/R&B genre. Sure, most of these artists were only popular in local areas here in California, but in some ways, they still made a mark in American pop. This was in the late ’90s also. Some of the hip-hop/rap tracks I’ve heard were very distinctive from the mainstream hip-hop that we were hearing on the radio then that somehow it’s added some kind of an “Asian flavor” to it.
There was one particular compilation album that I recently downloaded from Apple Music. I don’t know if it’s available around the world through iTunes and/or Apple Music, but the album is called Motivate Movement: ASIATIC. The artists included in this compilation are mostly Asians and Pacific Islanders from my hometown 6 and California, but there were a few from outside California also. If you’re into underground/indies (old school) rap/hip-hop or simply support Asian artists, I recommend taking a listen to this. One day, when my Japanese becomes better, I’d like to recommend this to LIN & Hylen.
I remembered the ’90s back in high school, where Asian-American (mostly Filipino) kids would just randomly pass out flyer cards promoting an underground club party where teens and (probably) young adults would gather around at night at some “underground location” along with a DJ mixing the freshest tracks with rhymes and bass completely unheard of from the mainstream. I’ve never been in any of these underground parties because I was raised to be a Dalagang Pilipina 7 or something like that, my parents would never let me go to these underground parties. However, some of my friends who are into rap/hip-hop and in hip-hop dance crews have been there, and all they could do is tell me about them and even let me borrow some tapes with tracks I’ve never heard from the radio.
During the early days of college/university, I branched out from the Asian-American scene to the real deal Asian scene, starting with Filipino rap/hip-hop and eventually, with J-Pop/J-HipHop. I remembered KICK THE CAN CREW, Heartsdales, and A.I. during her earlier days. Almost a decade later, MADKID and I met, which lead me to LIN & Hylen.
Subconscious isn’t just another underground (?) rap/hip-hop album, but each of these tracks was carefully crafted, even though many of them were short in length. Although we hear a lot of trap elements as we all are familiar with MADKID tracks, each of the tracks has different, distinctive character and flavor. I guess that also depends on who is the third collaborator in some of these songs, but it also depends on the subject or theme of the rap lyrics. Just listening to this album repeatedly (not including the tracks they released last year since I’m already familiar with all six of them) really brought me back to the old rap/hip-hop days during the Asian(-American) music scene. 8 I could seriously bump this album while I drive anywhere, just like how I once bumped old cassette tapes on my old car as I drive to college and back.
I don’t expect anyone to understand what I’m talking about, or what I’m trying to point out regarding my thoughts of this album. To make it short, I really love this album. I added the entire album under my Underground Hip-Hop playlist along with the Motivate Movement Asiatic album and a few others.
All I’m saying is take a listen to Subconscious and you be the judge. When you do, holler at LIN and Hylen on Twitter, thank them for this, regardless of whether you like the album or not. But for me, I look forward to more LIN & Hylen collab tracks in the near future.
After all, the album itself reached #2 in the Japan-region Hip-Hop/Rap category on iTunes/Apple Music during the first two days of release. Why wouldn’t you check the album out?
Extra Omake Thing…
There is another MADKID member who is interested in a collab with Hylen.
SHIN was congratulating LIN & Hylen for the top #3 rank on the first day of the
If you support this idea, please go reply to SHIN and Hylen on Twitter. I did just that. 😏
- I wish I’m able to, but because I’m overseas, it’s impossible to write reviews on solo projects on other members, such as SHIN’s periodical SHIN-derella Night (solo mini-concerts/lives), for example.
- “Anywhere with You”
- But I’m not old enough to be considered a “mom” for the MADKID boys. I was 16 when YOU-TA and SHIN were born, 17 when LIN, KAZUKI, and YUKI were born. In other words, I would be more of an oneechan than a “mom.”
- Jeff Townes & Will Smith
- Pete Rock is the DJ/track master, CL Smooth was the MC/rapper.
- San Francisco Bay Area
- The Filipino version of the Japanese Yamato Nadeshiko concept. It’s the 21st Century, they’re nothing but myths now.
- We’re all Asian after all…