This episode of Southern Fried Asian features a special panel organized by community members from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Keith, a graduate of Old Dominion, joined the panel alongside, Dr. Francis Tanglao Aguas, Dr. Kim H. Nguyen, Dr. Melody D. Agbisit, Veronica Salcedo, and Tracie Liguid.
I first met Chops back in 1999 when the Mountain Brothers were at the peak of their powers. They came down to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA to perform at an event for the Asian Pacific American Student Union, a group I founded the year before. Needless to say, they blew the roof off of Webb Center and solidified APASU as a legit organization on campus. So after the show, and some late night IHOP pancakes, we bid the Bros — Chops, Peril, and Styles — adieu, and I was content with my signed Self: Volume One CD and brief brush with Asian American hip-hop royalty.
Fast forward a decade and a half later — and thanks to the wonder of social media — Chops and I reconnected. Weirdly, he remembered who I was. So we met up one chilly night in Philly earlier this year. That’s when he first told me about Strength in NUMBERS over some beer and cheesesteaks. He even previewed just the tiniest snippet of a track while we rode around in his big ass Buick. Instantly, I realized how historic this project was going to be. I mean, an MBs reunion alone would be game-changing. Now you’re gonna throw in 30 other artists (including the likes of Dumbfoundead, Prometheus Brown, Rekstizzy, Rocky Rivera and dozens of others)? What? That’s a who’s-who of APA hip-hop right there! Then, here’s the part that blew my mind. He wanted my help. Say wha?