“Reject my single I ain’t mad at it , like O.J. getting married again, I’ll take another stab at it.” — Chino XL
In the earlier days of AAHH, I had started a few columns that have since died out; one series I especially want to bring back is my Great Rappers You Slept On series, where I profile acts that should be (or should have been) on your radar. In past pieces, I’ve profiled acts like the late Pumpkinhead.
This time around, we’re going to look at Chino XL.
In the timeline of rappers who have been known to shock listeners with their content — like Eminem for example — none are more underrated and unappreciated than Chino XL. As far as no-holds-barred savagery goes, his 1996 effort Here To Save You All could very well be considered a climatical ground zero. His rhyme schemes were really clever; Chino is (literally) brilliant — like Mensa brilliant. Google it!
His extremely precise style was (in this debut iteration) a smorgasbord of allusions like “My beat get messy as abortion on the ninth month.” Or the oddly relevant “your style’s too old to do me like Aaliyah and R. Kelly.”
I think the first time I experienced Chino, was the track “Riiiot,” featuring Ras Kass. Specifically the bars “Governmently engineered like Ebola for this rap garage sale/ By this industry, I’m trying not to get fucked like 2Pac in jail /You can hate me, but await me like I’m Magic Johnson’s death / In a box with Jordan’s pops that ass’ll never take another breath.”
Just let that sink in. Within 10 seconds, he suggests that the government created and intentionally spread Ebola, perpetuates the “Pac got raped in jail” rumor (which has ironically come back into play recently), Magic Johnson’s HIV (he still hasn’t died), and the death of Michael Jordan’s father — quite callously.
In many ways, this ‘I don’t give a fuck’ demeanor was a precursor for some of the biggest bullies in the game, like 50 Cent (think “Ghetto Qu’ran”) and even Maino — specifically when thinking of the song “Rumors.”
Unfortunately, he’s hardly mentioned in any top 5 lists, which is criminal. After his debut, label bullshit kept his sophomore off shelves until 2001. He’s since dropped four studio albums — the last of which is the double disc, Ricanstruction: The Black Rosary. If you haven’t heard this, it contains a Big Pun verse you haven’t heard. You’re welcome.
He’s worked with some of the spitters and producers in the game and has a catalog filled with so many flame emojis that it’s easy to lose count after a few tracks.
Here is his classic 1996 debut, in all its glory. If you’re into it, go check his catalog on your streaming platform of choice.