“The book’s relentless energy and comics-style violence owes as much to Lee’s deadly sidekicks as Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker’s Rush Hour franchise, and repeated listenings to Wu-Tang Clan and gangsta rap…While Chinkstar could easily be read as a fun action-movie mashup in itself, on another level, the book asks us to examine our own reactions to accepted cultural stereotypes.”
When the king of Chinksta rap disappears, his younger brother, Run, must navigate the unstable underbelly of a musical revolution.
Everything was about to change. In less than forty-eight hours guy’d be taking the stage in Vancouver, owning an audience meant for some all-hype-no-talent young-money rapper, spitting next-level truths that’d have A&Rs scrapping for him coast to coast. He’d ink some paper and drop an album on the world it didn’t even know it had been waiting for. All with game and swag to spare.
This was the edge, the almost there, and we knew it.
Chinksta rap is all the rage in Red Deer, Alberta. And the king of Chinksta is King Kwong, high-schooler Run’s older brother. Run isn’t a fan of Kwong’s music — or personality, really. But when Kwong goes missing just days before his crowning performance and their mom gets wounded in crossfire, Run finds himself, with his sidekick, Ali, in the middle of a violent battle between Red Deer’s rival gangs, on the run from his crush’s behemoth brother, and rethinking his feelings about his family and their history, his hatred of ‘rice-rap’ and what it means to be Asian.
With wit, verve and a flair for the rap lyric, Jon Chan Simpson mashes up the (graphicless) graphic novel and the second-generation-immigrant narrative to forge a bold new vision of what the novel can be.
Coach House Books, World, June 2015
Media and Awards:
A CBC Best Book of 2015