Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mad at the World: 1994 Chino XL Interview, Part 1

When Common's last name was Sense, and Chino wasn't Chionardo

Due to the overwhelming response to the Chino XL retrospective post, I've dug deep in the magazine archive for a classic interview: Caught In The Middle (a short-lived regional Chicago rap mag) interviews Chino XL in that incredible year that was 1994. Art of Origin had just broken up, but he was still promoting the singles that were circulating, and providing us with some crazy insights on the "meaning of the name" Art of Origin. It's a long interview, so I'll be posting it in sections. Hope y'all enjoy.


What's the science behind the name Art of Origin?
We got the name from this book called "Xorism." It had a lot of references to the "2 of the origin" and what they made with the art of origin, so we just kind of stuck with the name. That was in 86.

Where are you representin from?
East Orange, New Jersey.

I know there has been a lot of crews coming out of Jersey, so how is the hip-hop scene out there?
It's fat but even though there's a lot of people from here I wouldn't really say there is a scene. Not like there is a scene in...uh...LA where you can go to the Good Life and rock or wherever and rock. There's nowhere in Jersey where MC's can all go to and do their thing. Everybody from here is kind of in transit going to New York or whatever.

Has it always been like that?
Naw, there used to be this place called CLUB 88.

I heard about that.
Yeah, let's talk about that. It seems like all the other groups that talk about Club 88 never metnion me and that's fucked up. In like '88 and '89 I had it so sewn up in there. When muthafuckas saw me and my boys come up in there they wouldn't even sign up cause they knew we were going to win. It was like a talent contest and I won so many times in a row that they stopped me from entering and just made me the special guest when I rocked from then on. I used to rip that shit so hard that the contest prize was $100 but Tony from Club 88 used to give me $200 or $300. I used to murder that shit. I wouldn't lie to you.

What made you start rhymin?
It was like '85 and I used to pop. MY man used to rhyme and he would say all of Double Trouble's raps and I liked it, but I couldn't identify with it. I didn't find anything that fit my personality and would blend with it yet. Then LL came out and I heard all of his stuff and it was dope. I was like yo, he's yellow-skinned like me and he rocked solo so I identified with him, but I still didn't really get into that much. When I heard "Rock The Bells" and that verse he kicked.... "...a misdemeanor, cleaner women I subpoena, no conjecture in my lecture...". That hit me and I connected with it. I liked the way he put the inflections in it and I really started from there. Besides that I used to listen to the Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee battle all the time. Mostly just those two.

How did you get into the darker type style that you kicked on your first 2 singles?
Well my uncle is Bernie Worrell from Parliament/Funkadelic and Ikind of grew up on tour with him. They were on this label, Casablanca, and their labelmates were Kiss. When the groups went on tour they would play towns in conjunction with one another. The same towns but different venues. I know the P-Funk stuff inside and out so I used to go to the Kiss concerts. I liked all the blood and theatrics. I started to like that darker imagery and I started buying a lot of metal like AC/DC and it just stemmed from that. This was about from the time I was 5 til I was 10. I went on tour with them all over the world.

How do you feel about the sudden populatrity with MC's having this dark side to their style?
They all sound humorous to me. Number one I don't think they know what they are tampering with because it's something that's real serious. It sounds like a gimmick from everyone from the Gravediggaz on down. I like the Gravediggaz music, but I like them better when they aren't trying to act like that. The Flatlinerz are one big joke to me. I haven't heard one thing that makes me think that they have experienced some of the dark situations that I have. It sounds all fake to me.



Post a Comment

<< Home