April 09, 2020

Chino XL "Here To Save You All" (The Source + '96 Sampler)

"Public Enemy first posed the question: "Why are you so hostile?" The answer gave voice to arguably the foremost emotion underscoring hip-hop, the confrontational. Since then, nearly every MC to have picked up a mic has employed infinite rhyme and reason in trying to build on that sentiment. Unfortunately, the expression has, for the most part, been diluted. Simply put, too much of hip-hop's rage has grown tired and impotent. These days it is the rare artist that infuses new energy into hip-hop's most tried and true well-spring. Chino XL is such an artist. Get ready to throw down props for his debut, Here To Save You All. First and foremost, Chino can rhyme. Last year, two of his unreleased songs - "No Complex" and a collaboration with Ras Kass called "Riiott!" - circulated throughout the underground, popping up on The Source's "Fat Tape" and on hip-hop radio across the country. The full album proves neither joint was a fluke. The 16 tracks on Here To Save You All are a densely-packed, tightly-wound, searing, non-stop verbal assault on everyone and everything." Check out Chino XL's album sampler mix to "Here To Save You All," cont'd below...

"Chino takes the venerable practice of reworking pop culture and current event references into hip-hop contexts to a new level: O.J., Eazy E, the U.S. Invasion of Haiti, Woody Harrelson, teen pregnancy, Heidi Fleiss, Darryl Strawberry, welfare reform, even his own label - "My company (Rick Rubin's American Recordings) is fuckin' me like Arsenio does Eddie Murphy." You name it, they all get done. Still, what is perhaps most impressive about Here To Save You All is the fact that it's a record with equal amounts style and substance. Listen closely and you'll pick up more than laugh-out-loud jokes and disses. "No Complex" takes on the insipid materialism of much of today's hip-hop: "What I Am?" deals with growing up as a child of mixed ethnicity; and "Ghetto Vampire" and "Rise" delve into complex political and spiritual territory. The beats don't miss either. The album's production is laced with an intricate, Wu Tang-like flava. Although Chino is an East Orange, NJ native, a good portion of Here To Save You All was recorded in LA and the record successfully incorporates elements of both coasts' sounds. Here To Save You All is solid, dynamic and refreshing. It's both good and good fo ya." - The Source, May, 1996. The album was released on this day in 1996. Much respect to Chino XL!