Andrew Fung aka INGLISH | “For the music we make, it helps to be honest, real and humorous.”
Sick beats, eloquent words, and witty humor comes standard with the package of this Seattle comedian-rapper. The icing on the cake is his ability to make social commentary sexy, covering every issue from the AZN Pride era of xxAZNballaxx and cutieAZNpriNc3ss screen names to the remarkable headway we’ve made into pop culture since then. Say hello to Andrew Fung, aka Inglish. Using the springboard of social media, Andrew has graced us with rhyme after badass rhyme, including Still Got Rice, the spot-on update and clever remake to the infamous Got Rice. In fact, he and his rap group Model Minority have been doing enough damage to catch the attention of the LA Times And Andrew doesn’t stop there. He and his brother David made the brave trek to the city of dreamers and doers just two weeks ago, and you can find them already killing it at open mics. Welcome to Los Angeles Andrew.
Be on the look out for the release of his Dim Sum Truck music video.
- School of attendance: University of Washington
- Major: Business Administration Degree from Foster School of Business
- Guilty pleasure: Likes making fun of people
- Favorite color: Various shades of yellow
- What the “J” stands for: Jose (I wish)
- Relationship status: Single
- Pet peeves with regard to girls: Dirty, sloppy UGG boots
OA: Why Inglish?
AJF: The story is, in 7th grade, I made my first rap song for an English project. I called myself Emcee English. That was my name for a while, and that’s what a lot of my friends and my biggest fans(all 3 of them) still call me to this day . But I dropped “Emcee” to modernize it and then I didn’t want to just be the language “English,” so I made it into more of a name: Inglish. FYI, an Asian rapper named English will NEVER make it.
OA: I see a lot of love for Far East Movement on your YouTube channel—who is your biggest inspiration?
AJF: If you’re an Asian American musician/performer I can’t see how FM isn’t an inspiration. They worked hard, carved out a lane for themselves and have been killing it ever since. Comedy-wise Ken Jeong, Louis CK and Aziz Ansari make me want to write more jokes every time I watch them.
OA: Who do you look to for sound and style influence then?
AJF: Musically I look to J Cole, Childish Gambino and Kanye. But I’m not quite as good as any of them yet.
OA: What goes on in your head when you come up with rhymes or when you freestyle?
AJF: Right now, with my rap trio, Model Minority, we’re putting out a lot of topical songs about issues that we feel need to be addressed like Battle Hymn of the Tiger Sons, Rush Limbaugh Diss and most recently a song dedicated to the Japanese Tsunami victims. Other than that, we write about what we love and what is true like food, basketball and computers. For the music we make, it helps to be honest, real and humorous.
OA: Let’s talk about Still Got Rice: it was a huge success, accumulating over 80,000 views on YouTube, and gives a good look into the progression of Asian Americans in pop culture a decade later. Are you a big proponent of Asian Americans in entertainment, and why is it important to keep doing what you’re doing for the community?
AJF: I am a proponent of Asians in entertainment… after all, I am Asian and going into entertainment. Numbers wise, we aren’t a huge percent of America but we have a lot of purchasing power so we need to demand more Asian American entertainment. The big studios don’t put us out — not so much because they’re racist — but because they haven’t seen us be profitable. Studios follow the money and it just isn’t pointing towards Asian Americans right now. We as a community need to prove that we can add value to films, music etc. It doesn’t help that our community is so fragmented and people split themselves up into Asian sub groups. I believe that a rising tide raises all boats….That’s why it’s important for everybody to be successful.
OA: Tell us about the national rap contests you participated in, like Rip the Mic 2010.
AJF: It was a cool experience for me. I was around rappers from Houston, Las Vegas, Oakland and LA. I have a feeling I was chosen to be the token Asian, but hey I got flown out to LA for a weekend so no complaints here.
OA: Given how much your songs touch on the subject of you being Asian American, from serious issues of our lack of representation in the media to simply, our bowl hair cuts, let’s explore what it means to be Chinese American: Growing up as a Chinese American in the Seattle area, do you identify with your Chinese side?
AJF: I do identify with my Chinese side, but from what I’ve heard, I’m pretty American. The area (Kent, south of Seattle) I grew up was mostly a middle to working-class non-Asian population and from a young age I assimilated a lot. Also, I’m the youngest child so naturally I can speak the least Chinese. But I think growing up in Seattle was great because all the minority groups were forced to work well in communities together. There aren’t a lot of minorities so Black, Latinos and Asians all operate in the same area. That gave us a lot of different influences. I’m proud I’m Asian but also proud about being able to operate well amongst just about everybody.
OA: Have you dealt with any generation gap issues?
AJF: Definitely. My parents had me when they were pretty old so no, I didn’t inherit much pop-cultural/entertainment/anything-considered-cool-by-American-standards from them…but they’ve been here long enough so they got the hang of things. It’s interesting for children of immigrants because we can’t be like these other kids at school that say “I want to be JUST like my dad when I grow up!”. I admire my parents for many things, but we can’t be THAT much like our parents, because our parents are immigrants. But I really appreciate their support and understanding of what my brother and I are trying to do. Shout out to my sister Tracy by the way, she’s awesome.
OA: Any other obstacles you’re trying to overcome?
AJF: Getting stage time in Los Angeles is just tough. It’s not like in college when I got to host every event and was on stage all the time. Just trying to find videographers, web masters, producers and other artists that are TRYING to work with you is an obstacle. Anyone down to help?
OA: What is up with your love for Popchips?
AJF: I was a brand rep for them back in Seattle, but I’d like to say that I’m sponsored by them.
OA: So you love Asian girls—why? What do you love most about them?
AJF: I like them because….they usually tend to like me haha. But I think every nerdy guy in America, no matter what color, likes Asian girls. There’s something so elegant, feminine and sophisticated about them….plus, they might have a ‘fetish’. As Asian men we gotta learn how to fight for them though or else we’ll go extinct soon….Haha. (enters Asian dating coach)
OA: Are you ever going to do a rap in Cantonese or Mandarin?
AJF: I have a little bit, but my Mandarin and Cantonese is so bad that when I speak it to people from China, they are convinced I’m Korean. I’ll leave it up to my brother @DavidBFung to do the bilingual raps.
OA: What upcoming projects have you got lined up?
AJF: Model Minority is releasing the Tiger Sons EP sometime in the next month or so, we’re working on our stand up comedy sets and I have this music video which I did for the Dimsum Truck in LA produced by Third Estate Media, the same guys who shot Teach Me How To Dougie. That should be released in the next few weeks so stay tuned and follow me on Twitter!
Interview by Julie Zhan
Photography by Melly Lee
Edited by Julie Zhan
Trackback from your site.