interview CHINO XL (PART 2) (February 2009) | Interview By: Jonathan Hay

   Today, weíre picking up where we left off with Chino XL in Part Two of this exclusive Dubcnn interview. Also, if you didnít catch Part One (released in January), be sure to check that out, and be on the lookout for our third and final saga (Chino XL, Part Three), coming soon!

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to haywire@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in February 2009

Questions Asked By: Jonathan Hay

Chino XL Gave Dubcnn.com A Special Shoutout! Check That Here
Dubcnn Exclusive Ė Chino XL
A Dubcnn Exclusive
By Jonathan Hay
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Dubcnn: We are definitely looking forward to hearing your song with Big PunÖ

[Big Pun] is one of the greatest of all time and he is still underrated.

Dubcnn: I agree with that statement, he is unquestionably underrated and he still crushes a lot (laughing).

No doubt! Wait until you hear our songÖ

Dubcnn: Honestly, do you consider Lil Wayne to be a dope emcee?

Let me tell you what I think about Lil Wayne: all I know is that the most successful album that has come out in the last few years is by an artist who says that he is the best rapper. Not by an artist who says he is the biggest drug dealer, or by an artist who has f--ked the most bitches, or whatever. No, he comes out and says, Iím going to sell the most records and you should pay attention to me because of my lyrics -- and that hasnít been done in a long time.

First of all, that makes me happy because the debate about lyrics doesnít really exist anymore. Second, weíve seen the evolution of Lil Wayne from bling, bling to where he is now, so I donít see how people canít root for him. Also, he is really, really close to Bun [B] and Bun is like a brother to me, so anybody that is close with Bun is going to be close to me. But most importantly, from a lyrical and writing performance point of view, when I hear most emcees, not only can I always finish what they are going to sayÖ and I know exactly what technique and what there reference was, or what they were thinking and inspired by when they wrote their lyrics. Iíve been studying [lyrics] for a really long time, breaking them down frame-by-frame, as if it was the John F Kennedy assassination. [Lil Wayne] says and does things that I completely do not expect. Not many emcees can make me go, where the f--k did that come from?

Personally, I do not pay attention to that whole Vocoder thing that people are always complaining about. My statement on Lil Wayne is this: he cares about lyrics, so how could I not care about what it is that he is doing? He is completely relevant and necessary to what the best do and what the best have done, period.

Dubcnn: I agree with that perspective.

We need to get these wack muth-f--kers out of the seats that they are sitting in. For the most part, my mind frame is letís get it back to what it is supposed to be and move the art form.

Dubcnn: Iíd really like to focus this part of the interview on your new album, The SecretÖso with that said, what can fans expect when hearing it?

It is definitely much more musically and lyrically in the pocket than I have ever been before. I think it has the best hooks Iíve ever had as far as sonic, music and feeling go. The music itself has some of the best sources, because I got predominately FocusÖ tracks and DJ Khalil. The music is very much thought out and each work is where it is supposed to be. I have a lot about my history on the album and social commentary on what is going on in the rap world today. As a soundscape, it is definitely my best work for sure. Itís not going to go way over peopleís heads; itís going to be right there.

Dubcnn: From a business standpoint, who is releasing the record?

Machete [Records], through Universal [Music Group].

Dubcnn: You mentioned FocusÖ doing the majority of the production on your album.

FocusÖ is music. It sounds like such a blanket statement that ĎFocusÖ is musicí but itís the truth. I was in the studio with this man for a whole 40 days, from 4 oíclock in the afternoon until 9 oí clock in the morning, and I saw him play every instrument that was in the studio. Just the passion of how much he loves music and what it means to him is just amazing to watch. Thatís Bernard Edwards Jr., man. Iím definitely proud to be one of his personal favorite artists to work with -- I always give him everything I can.

Dubcnn: We love his work here on Dubcnn.

He is definitely one of the best out and Iíve walked with giants.

Dubcnn: What are some of the lyrical collaborations are on The Secret?

Right now, that is still a secret, but I can tell you some of the people I worked with during the recording: I have records with Snoop, I have records with Chamillionaire, I have recorded with Bun-B, Pitbull, and Akon. I have records with Psycho Realm and Immortal Technique. As I told you before, I got the joint with [Big] Pun. I have many records to pick from with me and Crook [Crooked I]. Let me think, there is more, butÖ

Dubcnn: Wow! Those features are crazy!

Itís just a blessing, man, and I really canít explain it. I donít think that too many people talk to such a diverse group of individuals like I do. Iím in a really unique place in hip-hop. I just feel so blessed and loved and that I am able to be pushed to the front by so many people who are relevant now. I got a rhyme on the album where I say, ďFocusÖ said Chino donít dumb it down too much to sell / What the f--k they going to tell you about hip-hop n-gga, youíre Chino XL.Ē

Not to be on some arrogant s--t, but I feel like Iíve put in enough self sacrifice, obviously to the culture, that if Iím going to try some different things, or whatever, I donít think people should hold it against me. However, you will constantly hear me do what it is that I am known for.

Dubcnn: Do you have some new videos coming out to coincide with the release?

Yeah, I do. We just shot -- Oh, sh-t! You know, I forgot to tell you that I got Barack Obama on my album. Did I really forget that (laughing)?

Dubcnn: What!? You got Barack Obama on your album?

Essentially, I had a meeting with the people who put together his Red Campaign. At first I thought it was going to be for a skateboard commercial, you know, get some exposure from some of the X-Games fans, cross promotion and marketing and get a check, boom, Iím out. Especially cause Latinos get real heavy into the Extreme sporting. Anyway, this person starts asking me about my political views and they start talking about what Iíve accomplished, this and that. He goes on to say that he was out working and he had one of my songs on his iPhone. He listened to the song so much that somebody else took his iPhone and said, ďlet me hear that.Ē So he listened to the whole song and said, ďI want to deliver like that when I speak.Ē He then goes, ďdo you know who that man was?Ē I said, ďwho?Ē and he said, ďBarack Obama and that is why you are here.Ē I looked at my homie that I had with me at the meeting and I said, ďYou cannot be serious?!Ē Obviously though, he was serious!

Dubcnn: Thatís Crazy Chino!

So anyway, to make a long story short, I got a song called ďLittle ManĒ thatís about violence in school, cause we never see the mechanism or the minutia of what really happens in the mind. If somebody could have just stopped and noticed that this kid was a little to the side, he could have maybe been intervenedÖ I really went into it in a way that I think nobody has before. Honestly, I felt the song was a little too irresponsible, because it didnít have a moral fabric to it -- at least I didnít think so. To me, the song was just narrative but, because I explained the song so well, it kind of became a message. Anyway, they contacted [Barack] Obamaís people and they got a speech of Obama cleared for me to use, so it could say, ďfeaturing Barack ObamaĒ on my record. Itís one of the few things Iíve done in my career where my Mom was actually proud. So yeah, I have a song on The Secret called ďLittle ManĒ featuring Barack Obama.

Dubcnn: That is so amazing! Honestly, it doesnít get any bigger than thatÖ

Iím know Iím saying this with such a grain of salt but thatís because Iíve had this relationship for like the last five months, so Iím a little desensitized to it.

Dubcnn: Iím blown away, Chino!

I know, I know, I was too. With him complimenting my delivery, you know, and he handles himself so eloquentlyÖ

Dubcnn: The way that Barack Obama speaks and delvers his speeches is extraordinary.

You can actually see him thinking and his mind working. Itís not like something heís rehearsed -- heís really off the cuff. Heís rocking off the head.

Dubcnn: Changing subjects here, do you think hip-hop and the music industry, in general, is more focused on singles then the full-length albums?

I donít think singles, I just donít. I canít do it any other way and I donít know if I should celebrate or apologize for that. The Secret never loses its theme through the whole album. Every song has like a little mystery to it. There is a certain thing that people would like to kill that I represent, or that Psycho Realm or Immortal Technique represents. Anyway, itís definitely a conceptual [album] and I always think of my music like that.

Dubcnn: In my opinion, a lot of hip-hop has lost itís continuity and there hasnít really been that whole album-themed feel in a long time.

Before we started, before one beat was programmed, that was the idea. I didnít pick tracks; FocusÖ went in the studio and made what he thought I should be on. Every song goes along the same theme and it all has the same feeling to it. I promise you.

Dubcnn: How important is the actual album cover artwork to you and the whole visual side of your music?

For me, itís extremely important. It sets the tone. The semblance between what it looks like to what is feels like, is everything. You have a branding and itís important for the way people perceive it. Itís expression, but now we have to think smaller for the creative -- and that sucks. Itís no longer a twelve inch or a CD layout; now you have to have something that will look good as a small iTunes icon.

Dubcnn: I feel that and I miss back in the day when we would sit around and talk and wonder what our favorite artistís next album cover was going to look like.

Yea man, I do too.

Dubcnn: We canít wait to hear the album!

To Be ContinuedÖ Stay tuned as we dive in deep to all things Chino XL in the next segments of this special three-part interview.

Chino XL Gave Dubcnn.com A Special Shoutout! Check That Here



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