Knife Work: Ne-Yo Collaborator/Rapper Jinsu Dices His Competition on "The Triumph"


With a co-sign from Ne-Yo and top notch production from Jahlil Beats (Rick Ross, Lil Wayne), Rhode Island-bred rapper, Jinsu, has the industry paying attention.

While preparing for his first huge New York City gig as an act in the MTV Jams “Closer To Our Dreams” tour featuring TYGA, Kirko Bangz and Iggy Azalea, Jinsu granted us access to a behind the scenes look at how he arrived to this point.

See what motivates this 19-year-old to “let the haters hate”, hear his thoughts on being the first rapper from Rhode Island, and why his recently released The Triumph is more than just a mixtape. Listened to The Triumph, and I can’t tell where you’re from.

Jinsu: I’m originally from the East Coast. I lived out in New York for like five and a half years. I’m originally from Rhode Island. Could you possibly be the first rapper from Rhode Island?

Jinsu: Possibly. I think so. [laughter] Is this your first official mixtape?

Jinsu: This is my second mixtape. The first one was called It’s Been Said. This is my second one – The Triumph – and it’s hosted by Jahlil Beats. I put that out September 4. You call it The Triumph. Maybe this might’ve been your way of saying, “I’m here!”?

Jinsu: A statement. Getting pass all the BS in the industry and the personal stuff I was going through from before I dropped my last mixtape. Basically telling them I’m done with all that, I’m here now. Foot’s in the door. It’s time to just make great music and keep it up. When was that moment when you really started to take this stuff serious?

Jinsu: I always took this music thing serious, I just felt like I was so underrated. Being a young artist, coming from a state I come from, the way I was around music, I wasn’t getting a lot of recognition that I deserve. I felt like teaming up with another hot producer, one of the youngest in the game right now, would let them know that I got some head honchos around me. This was the perfect mixtape to do, and perfect timing to drop it. How did you end up on the “Closer to Our Dreams” tour with Tyga and Iggy Azealea?

Jinsu: That was actually though my managers. They set that up. That was out of love, with the buzz of the mixtape, so it was the perfect tour to hop on. It’s a lot of fresh young artists. Me, Tyga, Kirko Bangs, Iggy Azelea, Sterling Simms. Plus, it’s the crowd I’m catering to, as far as age wise. Are you nervous about tonight’s show? I mean, it is New New York City.

Jinsu: Definitely not. I don’t even think they know how excited I am. I performed out here when I first got started. I was on a school tour, maybe three years ago. Performing on tour and on the road – this is my first time. You linked up with singer Ne-Yo on “Let Em’ Be Mad”. How’d Jinsu get Ne-Yo to drop a hook and verse on his album?

Jinsu: A friend of mine, we were going back and forth networking, and we reached out [to Ne-Yo] to do a little skit for my last mixtape. My last mixtape was supposed to have an intro with different artists and celebrity friends that I knew – through voicemail. So when we talked to Ne-Yo and asked if he could do a drop, he said, “Yeah, I’ll do it!” and sent it back in like a day. It was real fast. I was like “Wow, that was love.”

We took the extra mile when I started working on my newer project The Triumph, and I had some tracks. I told my team we should holler at Ne-Yo, see if we can get him on a track. Trying is worth the effort. The worst thing somebody can say is no. We reached out with a couple of tracks, and he just fell in love with one. He did a hook to it. I think he was in London at the time; he sent it back in two or three days, with a hook and a verse added to it. I was like “Oh, this crazy!”, the concept is dope. The concept was let the haters hate. They can do whatever they want to do, they just want to be where you’re at. That’s what I was going through at the time. Did it, and next thing you know, we got a banger: “Let Em’ Be Mad”. What are you looking forward to most?

Jinsu: Going on that stage and having a good time. The crowd, and giving them the energy they can feed off of. If you go up there boring, it’s going to be a boring show. You gotta make sure y’all have fun together. Plus, my dad is in town. I always keep it cool. I listen to certain type of music. Lots of people tend to get nervous, I just relax. I go on with my regular day and just work magic. That’s all. What’s next for Jinsu?

Jinsu: I’m writing for other artists, shouting to a few labels, and maybe even hopping on another tour soon. Just working things out and staying busy.

Download Jinsu’s The Triumph here.