Brooklyn rapper Maino will tell you he recognizes what is real and what isn't. When it's the only thing that you know, you have no other choice. Not only is Maino determined to keep his music in the streets, but also hustle the game for everything its worth.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Maino about running through the industry, bringing Hip-Hop back to New York and his new mixtape with DJ Envy, "Real Recognize Real." The new single "Rumors," has been turning heads, and the comments Maino makes about some notorious Brooklyn rappers will drop mouths. But just ask AHH's illseed, rumors make the world go 'round!
AllHipHop.com: You've got a lot of street credibility from your mixtapes. How are you feeling?
Maino: I feel good. I'm happy that people are listening to it. It's been a blessing to just be in this position from where I'm from. I wanna take it to the hoods and all over the world and touch people.
AllHipHop.com: On your "Real Recognize Real" mixtape, you've got a record called "Rumors." The industry tends to feel that any up and coming rapper doing tracks like these is jumping on the "How To Rob" band-wagon. What's your response?
Maino: With that comparison, the only thing that is the same is that both of those songs where a person was challenging the game. They weren't afraid to say what he wanted to say. They are not alike though. He's talking about "How To Rob,"and I'm talking about "Rumors" going on in the game. They are two different things, two different concepts. The only thing that is the same is that the songs are exciting, where a dude can come and challenge the game. Now you have to look back to when B.I.G. was doing that. Back then, people wasn't doing that. So all of that is in the same line. But as far as my style and how I rap, I don't sound like 50. That's the only similarities that I see. Both songs are challenging. A lot of people are afraid to say what they really want to say.
AllHipHop.com: Are you afraid of any repercussions due to the song? You mentioned Cam'ron, and a few other people. In 50's case, he reportedly caught static from Ghostface.
Maino: With what I've done in my life, I'm having fun. I'm not worried about a rapper not liking me or a rapper saying something slick.
AllHipHop.com: You're coming out now, so is Saigon, Stimuli, and several others. Who do you think will also be the next to blow?
Maino: I'm not commenting on nobody. I'm just trying to concentrate on myself. I'm trying to stay in my lane and keep hitting people the way that I need to hit them. As far as whom I think will be the next to blow up other than me, I don't know. That's up to the people to decide, it's not even up to me.
AllHipHop.com: What label are you through?
Maino: Universal, since January. [All the Maino publicity] that you've seen as of lately has just been mostly me and my team. But the system will kick in soon and you will defiantly see the difference.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about when it's time to move from mixtapes to albums.
Maino: I'm working on my album. I'm thinking that it will be released at the beginning of this year. I'm still trying to come up with a name for it. It's going to be a concept album. A lot of cats aren't doing that. I'm just trying to give you all of me. Not a bunch of party songs. None of that. It's a way for the people to stop and get to know me. My songs are conceptual. It's going to be different from what a lot of cats are doing now.
AllHipHop.com: It's definitely a change that needs to be made.
Maino: Yeah, because a lot of theses dudes aren't thinking. They just getting tracks and rapping over them. They're on some, "I got this... I got that." "My car is the color of this." You can't have 24 tracks of that. Everything is boring right now.
AllHipHop.com: I agree. In the summertime it seems like that's a lot of what comes out. Good hard-core stuff is year around though.
Maino: We need to go back to good quality music. And that's what I'm doing. Ya' know, "Real Recognize Real."
AllHipHop.com: You've worked with a lot of people over the years. In your video you have Babs from, Da Band. I also hear that you're down with Lil' Kim.
Maino: Me and Kim are family. She's like my sister. She's definitely in support of what I'm doing. She's also on the album.
AllHipHop.com: She's not longer with Junior M.A.F.I.A.. How do you feel about them?
Maino: Junior M.A.F.I.A. is gay.
AllHipHop.com: I'm telling you right know, what you say is set in stone.
Maino: I'm a dude that says things and I know exactly why I say them. So I say that Junior M.A.F.I.A. is a bunch of gay rats - especially Lil' Cease. I mean it.
AllHipHop.com: What's your motivation behind all of this?
Maino: It's a lot of things. It ain't nothing major, but those cats ain't right. You can't just do things like that. It's not right.
AllHipHop.com: I'm a firm believer in standing behind anything that you say.
Maino: I don't front. I stand behind everything that I say. So if I say that Lil' Cease is a b***h, I mean it.
AllHipHop.com: You called out Gloria Velez on some of you stuff...
Maino: It was just a metaphor. It ain't anything personal. I was just saying something slick. That's just how I am. It wasn't anything personal because I don't know her like that. She ain't never done nothing for me to come at her like that. Did you know that Lil' Cease is a hermaphrodite?
AllHipHop.com: Pause. Wow. Do you feel that there are a lot of people in Hip-Hop that are fake and relying on controversy for attention?
Maino: Most definitely. You're always going to have that because there are more clowns that real rappers. When you have more clowns than real people, you're going to have a lot of circus acts. I can't just take just one situation and make an example, but you have more fake people than real in this game. But how am I to distinguish between who's real and who's not in this game? You have some many that are trying to be something that they're not. But ultimately, you can't lie to the people. They will see right through you. The truth will always come out in the end.
AllHipHop.com: So, you're that cat that is going to put Brooklyn back on the map?
Maino: I think that people forgot what Brooklyn looked and felt like. I wanna definelty let them know what it is. I'm just trying to stay consistent and work hard. I'm doing things differently than theses dudes. I'm trying to make music about what's on your mind. I don't just try and say things for me. I try and say things that the people are thinking about. The track, "Rumors," is just a small example of what I do.
AllHipHop.com: You're from Brooklyn, how do you feel about its redevelopment?
Maino: That was bound to happen. There are more nice parts of Brooklyn than bad. More White people are coming back and I guess that they're just trying to push all Black people to one area. I don't know what area, but it is what it is. They've been doing stuff like that to us for how many years now? We just gotta stay strong and do what we have to do. I don't let it directly affect me because I've been through worse. I'm just trying to do what I got to do regardless of who lives next to me. I can't really say about that because I don't even live directly in the hood that I grew up in. At the end of the day, we're all just trying to live in a nice area anyway. If they are going to fix it up and make it nice, than it's all good. But it just makes things harder for the people that are unfortunate.
AllHipHop.com: In your videos you wear a lot of B.I.G. shirts. Closing on the Brooklyn note, who do you like more, Biggie or Jay-Z?
Maino: It's not that, B.I.G. isn't here. He gonna live on, but he ain't here. I do that in showing respect. In memory of. Jay-Z is still on top of the game. Both are great in their own ways. B.I.G. didn't have the great run that Jay had, but both are legends.