This moment has been a long time coming for Maino. Trials and tribulations had to be signed, sealed and delivered for the ultimate understanding of this Brooklyn hustler. If Tomorrow Comes is the testament to this rappers pain and struggle and the album plays like a novel. Straight with no chasers, Maino careens over the concept of the album while dropping thoughts about his native life, death and his native New York. Truly waving at haters now, the underground maven re-introduces himself his name is Maino.
AllHipHop.com: I quote “08′ was great if you was on your grind, but I’ma tell you what’s gon go down in ’09…” There were the first two bars from your “2009 Predictions” track. Your album’s finally here, did you predict that?
Maino: Oh yeah at the ending I said, “I’m going to predict that I’m going to be the next to blow.” I told people I was coming, they didn’t believe. A lot of people doubted that this day would come, which is all cool because I’m cool with being the underdog you know.
AllHipHop.com: I was relieved to see the minimum features on the album. What was the process and stand point going into the album?
Maino: Did you listen to the album yourself?
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I actually listened to it; it’s put together well. I liked it.
Maino: Thank you. See the thing with that is I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to tell a story about me coming out of jail with a dream and the obstacles I was up against trying to make that happen coming out of jail, getting back in the street, having one foot back in the street- no foot in the industry at all. It was hard so I couldn’t tell that story with having a lot of features of there. It would have been impossible; it would have been a disservice to me and the fans. For me to do all that time, then pushing my album back, and then to finally come out with a record with 30 features on there… Unbelievable, it would have not been a good look.
AllHipHop.com: Considering you hooked up with T-Pain for the “All The Above” track, how do you feel about the D.O.A. track?
Maino: I don’t feel anyway about [Jay-Zs] Death of Auto-Tune. I don’t think the auto-tune thing is going to be dead. That’s a lot of people livelihood for one. I mean it doesn’t really apply to me, you understand. But I don’t think one person can stop a movement. I mean the auto-tune thing- I don’t see it really stopping.
My story on the album is almost just as accurate as it really happened in my life. It’s as accurate as possible. I tried to make close as possible to real life and that’s what it is. It’s like an autobiography- a book.
AllHipHop.com: How did you manage to hook up with B.G. for the “Gangsta” track? Out of all the collaborations you could of had, what made you reach out to B.G. for this track?
Maino: Because it makes sense. First of all B.G. is a very good friend of mine and it made sense to have him on my album. Why not two gangstas on the same record?
AllHipHop.com: I was curious to not see if Lil’ Kim would be on the album. What’s your relationship with Lil’ Kim now? Were you two ever romantic?
Maino: No, we weren’t.
Maino- “Til’ I Die”
AllHipHop.com: I love how your skits break up into scenes representing the process of breaking into a record label deal. Are the scenes realistic to your personal journey?
Maino: Exactly. It was very realistic.
AllHipHop.com: How would you say your experience was going into the whole record deal business?
Maino: My story on the album is almost just as accurate as it really happened in my life. It’s as accurate as possible. For me to make it into an album and with the scenes, those are different portions of my life that I was going through. The stuff that I was feeling at the time, I was trying to get into the industry and I’m like “Man I’m caught up. I got a son- a brand new baby, I’m on parole, I’m in the street, I got baby mama drama, I’m still in the street… Am I ever going to be a rapper?” You understand? So this was I was faced with and you know the album, I tried to make close as possible to real life and that’s what it is. It’s like an autobiography- a book.
AllHipHop.com: Now in current state of the industry we’re in, do you find it hard to stay relevant since it’s so trendy and constantly changing? How do you stay relevant and successful without having to feed into the current fad?
Maino: By just staying true to who I am- doing what Maino does. The thing about that is I do what I do you understand. I’m in my lane, I carved out a lane for myself, and that’s the lane that I’m going to continue to be in. I’m going to continue to stay true and making music that I think my fans love.
AllHipHop.com: With everything being so trendy, do you think Hip-Hop still has creativity? Considering what’s being presented and pushed in Hip-Hop, how do view the creativity in Hip-Hop? It’s really not much there anymore.
Maino: Right. It’s really not there. There’s a lot of cookie cutter stuff. Everybody’s following this and that. At the end of the day, it to each it’s own. Just as much as I can’t really get with that, I don’t have time to complain about that either. I just gotta keep moving and keep pushing. Hopefully what I’m doing can come to the forefront of the game and we can make the same kind of impact.
“Well, it works two ways. The internet can hurt you- like in the position I’m in now, with an album and stuff being leaked and downloaded for free. But, in the beginning it can help because, you want to promote yourself.”
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel having your album release shortly after the passing of Michael Jackson? Do you think it affect your sales in anyway?
Maino: I don’t know. I have no idea.
AllHipHop.com: After he passed did you have any thoughts like “Oh I wonder how my album’s going to do” or anything like that?
Maino: Honestly, naw because we’re in a time where we know the album music doesn’t really sell like it used to. That’s already what it is. However, whatever God has planned for me, it’s gonna be that, you understand? I don’t put too much pressure on myself and too much thought into what it’s going to be and how many records I’m going to sell because whatever is meant to be, will be.
AllHipHop.com: One thing I can say is that I respect the fact that you don’t do the traditional “Gangsta Rap” since you actually have the creditability to do so. What is it about your music that doesn’t need to rely on your past for success?
Maino: Well, I mean I just try to stick to making things realistic. It’s reality. Like what I do is based off reality. If I’m talking about the struggle, I’m talking about my life. I’m talking about things that I’ve done. I’m going to say it in a way people can relate to it on an everyday basics. That’s all. I try to make feeling music. I want you to feel me. I want you to feel what I’m going through. Just stick with it being realistic- that’s all. I don’t try to put it in a category of being Gangsta or this or that, just realistic.
AllHipHop.com: Do you regret any random slap ups or beat downs that you may have encountered? Would you relate to Ving Rhames’ character whom beat up Tyrese’s character in Baby Boy?
Maino: I felt more like Jody all my life. I never been in a situation when I had my girlfriend’s son that I wanted to beat up. Anything that has ever happened to me or with me, naw I don’t regret. It is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: The internet has taken it’s toll on the music industry. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve heard the term “internet rapper”. How do you feel about the net and Hip-Hop? Do you think it’s for the better or worse for Hip Hop?
Maino: Well, it works two ways. It can hurt you- like in the position I’m in now, with an album and stuff being leaked and downloaded for free. But, in the beginning it can help because before you put out an album, you want to promote yourself as in [using it as] a way to promote. You know you get yourself hot out in the streets using the internet and stuff like that. So it’s like a double-ended sword.
AllHipHop.com: With well familiar old names like 50 Cent and Jay-Z keeping New York alive, what would you say New York needs?
Maino: We need to start making good music and start producing new young fresh young stars. I don’t consider 50 Cent being like- I still consider 50 Cent new almost. He came out 2003 and he hasn’t been around as long as Jay-Z. He’s still kind of fresh to me.
AllHipHop.com: Other than getting love in New York City, where do you find most of the love outside the city?
Maino: I get love everywhere. It’s too various, man. There’s so many places that show love that I can’t exactly say where.
AllHipHop.com: Is there any places where you say you had the best experiences or one show where you rocked out at and you were really feeling the crowd?
Maino: It’s happened so many times. I mean we have to talk Atlanta, Philly, North Carolina- like we’re talking about a lot of different places. I’m in two or three cities a day. I’ve been on the road for months so in some of these places I’ve been twice. So it’s more than one place where I’ve gotten extreme love. Connecticut, DC, Baltimore… you know it’s just all over man.
AllHipHop.com: So If Tomorrow Comes is here, is there anything in the works and coming up for Hustle Hard Entertainment?
Maino: Yeah definitely we’re just going to keep building a brand, moving, putting out new music and making history.
AllHipHop.com: Any last words for Hip Hop?
Maino: Album in stores right now. That’s it.
Here are the predictions Maino made at the top of 2009. Now, that we are six months in, see how accurate he was.
*The economy will get worse
* The Knicks will still be terrible
* Angela Simmons will lose her virginity
* Amy Winehouse will O.D.
* Real and Chance is coming out the closet
* Remy Ma going to win her appeal
*Cassie won’t sell
* Lil Wayne will become stranger this year
* Lindsay, Paris, Brooke Hogan and Kim K will get more senseless publicity
* Foxy Brown will come out with a sex tape
* Chris Brown and Rihanna wont make it to September
* Jay Z and Beyonce will have a baby
* Kanye West’s clothes will get tighter
* Cam’ron will return to rap
* Yung Berg still wont get his chain back
* Cops will shoot somebody and get away with it
* Al Sharpton is going to march and do nothing
* Another book by Superhead is coming soon about how to suck d**k using autotunes
* 50 Cent will be on Oprah
* Lastly, Maino will be the next rapper to blow