VP Records
May 24, 2011

Chino - Chino Track list
  1. Never Change (From Mawnin')
  2. Protected
  3. Pon Your Head
  4. I Am
  5. Yeah Yeah
  6. Build A Vibes
  7. Badness
  8. God Nah Sleep (Rise & Fall Story)
  9. My Soul
  10. Seal The Link (Leaving)
  11. Ruff It Up
  12. Mus' Come Back
  13. Driving Me Insane feat. Denyque
  14. Before Dem Gone
  15. Work
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 5-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 7-
Average -Votes: 1-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 16
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Chino McGregor entered the music business some time ago around 2000. At first at a low profile, but after a while he became more prolific, recording successfully for Delly Ranks and brother Stephen McGregor amongst others. In 2007 he released his debut album "Unstoppable", that was sadly only released in Japan. For his sophomore album he teams up with Stephen McGregor (a.k.a. Di Genius) once again.

The album opens with "Never Change", it has a remarkable intro and lyrically is extremely strong, it really showcases the potential Chino has and proves to be the perfect opening song. Two of his other already well-known songs, "Protected" featuring Di Genius singing the chorus and the clever "Pon Your Head" are included. After hearing these songs, it is not hard to figure out why this Big Ship artist is considered as such a big talent. He's strong voiced, he deals with reality topics and the production of his brother doesn't hurt either. All were big hits in 2009, both "Never Change" and "Pon Your Head" featured on "Greensleeves Biggest Dancehall Anthems 2009", and "Protected" was picked for VP's compilation "Reggae Gold 2009". The remaining songs though are mainly new songs and above all sound fresh, fresh, fresh!

"I Am" starts with some French talking accompanied with accordeon playing music. When it really kicks off the beat constantly swifts, from a beat utilizing Balkan style instruments to a techno influenced beat to bassdriven dancehall backing. Together with Chino's lyrics (stating he's the perfect man for the ladies) certainly no prototype dancehall song, but it gives a good hint what direction this album is headed for. Similar lyrics on a riddim with a pounding bass and old-school drum programming follows with "Yeah Yeah". "Build A Vibes" is a short skit where he shows he can DJ on a hype riddim as well. The pace slows down a bit with the reggae orientated "Badness", a conscious output protesting against bad boys and the way they are living. Dealing with a serious topic as well is "God Nah Sleep". It has a more mainstream, Stephen Marley like sound, with his distinctive voice he gives it his own twist and displays he's fully capable of handling this style.

Only halfway through the album it's amazing how versatile it is, Chino possesses a unique voice and the production sounds real refreshing compared to so many recent dancehall releases. The second part continues with the up-tempo dancehall "My Soul", a self-aware song where he claims he will always stay true to himself, and the equally fast reggae-style "Leaving". With "Ruff It Up", an older song recorded in 2009, and after that "Mus Come Back" he continues on the lovers path, both decent tracks with a similar flow. The duet "Driving Me Insane" with Denique is actually a rework of Shabba Ranks' (and Chevelle Franklin) "Mr. Loverman", with Chino naming himself 'Mr. Ruff It Up'. A good combination and nice updated version of this dancehall classic, good stuff! At first not more than ok, but if you listen to it closely a couple of times, it turns out to be a real good song dealing with serious matters, the 2010 recorded "Before Dem Gone". "Work" is the closing track of the album. The topic, work hard and good will come to you, is like the summary of this entire album project. You can hear Chino took time to write his lyrics and the music has been produced well with great attention to details.

Chino reaches a high level on his album. He sounds at ease with the music and displays very self-confident, balancing nice between songs with a love, bragging and cultural theme. If he can maintain this standard there's a bright future ahead of him. And why doubt he will, since the quality on this album is exceptionally high and it's full of originality.