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Mixtape Review: Maino’s “I Am Who I Am”

Maino

Rating: 8/10

With his sophomore album The Day After Tomorrow set to drop on February 28, New York’s Maino has dropped his new mixtape I Am Who I Am, which is being called “the album before the album.” The statement is solidified by album-quality type tracks opposed to throwaways, in addition to features from the likes of Meek Mill, Lloyd Banks, Jim Jones, and Wale. Hosted by DJ Green Lantern, the majority of the tracks on I Am Who I Am features the “unstoppable” Maino rapping about his come-up and struggle to survive in Brooklyn.

DJ Green Lantern provides the introduction before Maino begins on the track “Rare Breed.” He lets us know his attitude immediately (“You know it’s hustle hard“), and he spends time shouting out more than a handful of people presumably from his Bed-Stuy neighborhood. He closes after stating that he’s a “rare breed,” ending it with a short sample from his popular single, “All The Above.”

The theme of grinding and coming-up continues on the next song, appropriately titled, “Last of the Mohicans” and features Push! Montana. Both MCs bring it on this energetic drum and guitar filled track as the tape’s intensity continues to rise as they rap about their past. Maino raps, “Any night could be my last night / out here scuffin’ up my damn Nikes” and that he was down to do anything to survive, whether it be robbing a bank or selling drugs. Although Maino’s music has helped push his life in a positive direction over the past few years, Maino is sure to remind us that he is “still grindin’” on one of the mixtape’s stand-out tracks.

On “Cream,” Maino announces he “Finally touched my first mill“, and takes the time to share that grindin’ pays off (“Diamonds drippin’ / parked the Bentley down in Fort Green”). The hook features a Rick Ross sample that loudly raps: “I’m about cream,” fitting perfectly with not only Maino’s verse, but guest verses from T.I. and Meek Mill as well.

As the tape goes on, bangers carry a solid mixtape that features Maino at his finest with his “hustle hard” mantra on full display. From the remix to “Let It Fly” (which features Ace Hood, Meek Mill, Jim Jones, and Wale), to the title track, “I Am Who I Am,” Maino’s lyrical content and delivery allow him to deliver bangers that not only sound great, but also motivate one to “hustle hard” and be “unstoppable” like Maino in their own life.

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