Chino

Chino

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Subtitled “...The Autobiography of Daniel McGregor” until the very last minute, Chino’s debut for the VP label is somewhat shy about giving up the fact that the man's dad is the one and only Freddie McGregor. Being the son of a reggae legend, it’s only natural that Chino worry about making it on his own terms, but this now self-titled effort displays a wealth of talent and a daring, spirited artist whose taste for multi-culti fusion is unique from his Dad’s work. Chino is also a true singjay who can transition from Beenie Man-like rapping to smooth R&B crooning without a hitch, and he’s hip as well, handing the album’s production over to brother Stephen McGregor, who himself is an Island alternative to will.i.am. Speaking of which, “I Am” is like the Black Eyed Peas going dancehall on their best day with banjo, accordion, and sweet nothings whispered in French all bouncing on Stephen’s infectious beat. That whirling studio concoction is a complete contrast to the Anthony B-like blast of live, modern roots dubbed “Badness,” and shoehorning a reference to PBS commentator Charlie Rose into a great “get out of Babylon” song (“God Nah Sleep”) proves the man can do just about anything. Solid songwriting, all of it co-written with Stephen, seals the deal, and since it’s delivered in a polished, Islands-to-the-world package, both Wyclef and Damian Marley must be put on high alert. Royal bloodline or not, Chino becomes a reggae star right here.

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