Review Summary: Chino XL’s second album offers better production than his debut along with the masterful metaphors great punch lines and scathing disses you’d expect from him.
As kids growing up, we were all told “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Sounds like good advice, don’t make enemies unnecessarily, don’t alienate people that might be able to help you down the line, a pretty good way to go about your life right? Well it doesn’t seem that anybody told Chino XL that theory as he’s made a career out of naming names and continues to do so even at the expense of a more successful career. After his deal with American Records fell through, Chino signed with Warner Bros. a deal that also fell apart so he finally released his second album after a two year delay on Metro Records even though many WB references are still here.
On the skit “Chinophone, Part Two” an automated message gives the listener options of the Chino XL the caller wants to hear, he obviously chooses the option “Chino XL dissing everybody” which is what Chino has become known for, after all he did say “But I've been written a billion bars of dissin’ for any rappers dead or livin.’”
Much like his debut, “I Told You So”
is calling out names and everybody who is anybody is being mentioned: “I'm sicker than seeing Kelly Price doing aerobics,” “You'll be the only entertainer with less groupies than Biz Markie,” “Who the only star on WB? That would be me!”
I wonder why Warner dropped him? Although known for his clever metaphors and dropping punch line after punch line, Chino can also be a powerful storyteller as shown on “Sorry” where he is joined by Shaunta and they tell a story of a love gone wrong over a touching sample from William Bell‘s “I Forgot to be Your Lover” and “Be Here” which talks about Chino’s affair with a married woman that (surprise!) goes wrong, backed by an acoustic guitar melody than only enhances the track’s mood.
With much better production than the debut, “Here to Save You All”
may not have stellar beats but at least it’s no longer to the detriment of the album and doesn’t take away from Chino’s astounding lyricism. The subtle but stirring string sample on “Nunca,” the hard-hitting drums and various Nas samplings on “It’s My World” prove that when Chino has even adequate production, he can deliver amazing tracks.
The track “Chianardo Di Caprio,” takes boasting to another level as Chino raps about his sexual exploits “I'll have to take Ginko or some *** to remember half the bitches I hit”
and his way with the ladies “I intimidate them cuz I'm prettier that they is.”
Due to sample clearances “Water,” one of the best tracks of Chino’s career, didn’t make it on to the album (thank you Prince) although it IS on the track listing, maybe the line “I'm The Artist, without a pound of makeup on my face”
wasn’t such a good idea… just another example of Chino’s me-against-the-world attitude. “Water” is an incredible song where he dedicates one verse to each of the very important women in his life: his mom, his wife/girlfriend and his stepdaughter.
A considerable step up production-wise from his debut, “I Told You So”
however is not a very cohesive effort. The flow of the album is constantly broken up by the excessive amount of skits and while some of these are hilarious there is no reason to sit through them repeated times which hurts the reply value as you’ll find yourself constantly skipping these segments. The one constant however is Chino’s lyrical prowess, like he says on “Don’t Say a Word”: “I’m the king of ill lines.”
Hard to argue with that statement.
It’s My World
But really “Water,” find it!