IAmChino Aims to Take Over the World of Latin EDM With "Amor"

IAmChino prepares to hit the road for Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias' third co-headlining tour in June.
Derick G
IAmChino prepares to hit the road for Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias' third co-headlining tour in June.
I recently sat with Pitbull’s go-to beatmaker, IAmChino, in the studio as he played music from his stash of unreleased records. The songs that fused EDM and urban Latin music piqued my interest. They were different from Chino's previous work with Latin rappers like Farruko, Gente De Zona, and his label mate Fuego. The Cuban-born producer and DJ has definitely shifted gears since I dubbed him one of ten hip-hop DJs to look out for in Miami this past January.

After dropping his internationally known debut record Ay Mi Dios featuring Pitbull and Yandel, Chino is embracing his brand new sound. Not only will he bring his unique music to stages across the country this summer, he plans to spread his sound across the world one festival stage at a time. Earlier, Chino expressed how excited he was about starting his new journey as a Latin EDM DJ with his new single, “Amor,” featuring veteran reggaetonero Wisin and fellow Cuban artist Chacal.

“I’m Latin and I was raised in Miami, but I’m in both worlds, you know?” said Chino. “I feel like with the music I’m trying to do right now especially with the new single... we hit it right on the money with who I really am as a DJ.”

Jose "IAmChino" Garcia began his career as a teenaged DJ spinning at clubs in downtown Miami like Metropolis (R.I.P.). At age 18, Chino met Pitbull’s team while Chino was on the job one night. He introduced himself to Pit’s manager, Mike Calderon, and boasted about how much of a fan he was of the M.I.A.M.I. rapper. Afterward, Calderon started booking Chino to DJ birthday parties and album-release parties for Pit and formally introduced them. They’ve been working together ever since.

Chino became Pitbull’s official DJ before his second LP, El Mariel, dropped in 2006. He watched Pit’s style of music evolve in real time from his debut, hip-hop album M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is A Major Issue) to his smash club hit “Culo” to songs like "El Taxi” and “Como Yo Le Doy.” Inspired by his hermano’s monumental growth over the past decade, Chino is ready to enhance his own career and become the artist he’s always wanted to be.
“I feel like there’s a gap for that,” Chino said. “There’s no one really doing that... In Spanish there’s nothing.”

“Amor” represents the electronic sound that Chino embraces. The song features Wisin and rising Cuban artist Chacal, who’s finally getting his time in the spotlight after writing “Ay Mi Dios.”

“Chacal’s the one who wrote ‘Ay Mi Dios,'" Chino added. "So I gave it to Yandel because he heard it and he loved it... In ‘Amor,’ you can really hear him singing what he can do. He can be the nasty motherfucker, he can be a dope singer, and he can rap too.”

While there are other Latinos in the mainstream EDM world like Puerto Rican house legend Robbie Rivera and Ultra Records’ Mexican-American producer Deorro, Chino is the only Cuban DJ topping the charts. Aside from performing his long-standing duties as Pitbull’s main DJ, Chino is doing everything he can to take advantage of the vacant Latin market, like performing at a slew of venues while on tour with Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias as well as preparing his own show made for EDM festivals around the world.

Chino is currently preparing to hit the road for Pitbull and Inglesias’ major tour with opening act CNCO. He’ll appear in between each act and also plans to play his Latin EDM mixes at a slew of after parties. The North American tour kicks off June 3 in Chicago and will make its way to Miami on June 23 before it concludes in Toronto on July 6.

“The sound is ahead of its time," Chino said. "It's an up-tempo EDM sound which reminds us of a Calvin Harris-David Guetta world sound, but it's still an amazing sound. I didn’t want to take away from what the song is about. If you play it on the guitar, it’s still an amazing record.”