Maino
The Madness

maino-1.jpgIn hip-hop, a little embellishment goes a long way. Nowadays, fabricated drug tales and overblown hustler personas are often utilized to score record deals. But unlike most MCs, Maino has lived the life often falsified on wax. The Brooklyn native’s rap sheet is extensive, including 10 years in prison for kidnapping. While his street credibility is unquestioned, it hasn’t translated into a fruitful hip-hop career, as of yet. In 2004, Maino released “Rumors,” an ode to taboo hearsay such as DMX’s alleged drug habit and Trina’s alleged bi-sexual escapades. It was the start of a career marked by controversy. In 2005, Universal Records A&R, Tone, of the Trackmasters, signed Maino. In preparation of his debut album, Death Before Dishonor, Maino became a mainstay on the New York City mixtape and DVD circuit. He also appeared on “Gimme That” off Lil’ Kim’s The Naked Truth, “Definition of a Thug” off Funkmaster Flex’s Car Show Tour album and “Code of the Streets” off DJ Kay Slay and Greg Street’s The Champions.

Through his candid lyrics, Maino’s buzz accumulated. But it was still his penchant for beef that garnered the most attention. In 2005, Maino’s friendship with Lil Kim resulted in feuds with Lil’ Cease, JR. Mafia, and Brooklyn MC Gravy (who’s friends with Foxy Brown). Then, last year, he was embroiled in a heated rivalry with Queensbridge native Tragedy Khadafi. His reputation as a “hip-hop bully” grew. Maino’s vigilante behavior, however, didn’t translate into support from Universal Records. Frustrated, he eventually asked for his release in 2006. Then, with some help from 50 Cent, Maino signed to Atlantic Records. With a renewed vigor, Maino finally hopes to release his debut album this year. In the meantime, he’s released a new mixtape, The Hand of God. Once again, though, controversy has followed. His new song, “Take It Like A Man,” addresses the demise of East Coast hip-hop, suggesting Bad Boy Records is “dead” and artists such as Jay-Z and The Wu-Tang Clan have fallen off. XXLMag.com talks with the controversial MC about his new record deal, rollercoaster career and tough guy image.

Your song, “Take It Like A Man,” ruffled a few feathers. Has anyone confronted you about it?
First of all, ain’t nobody gonna confront me about shit. The only conversation I had was with Puff. He asked me if I really felt like Bad Boy was dead and I told him, ‘Yeah.’ So he said what he said, and I said what I said. I ain’t trying to single him out, but there was a time everyone wanted to be a Bad Boy. That time is over. People in the industry and the people I’m talking about don’t [like the song], but I ain’t have too much backlash from it.

Do you consider yourself a hip-hop bully?
I’m definitely not a bully. Why, ’cause I don’t take shit from a nigga? Cause I don’t allow niggas to disrespect me?

No, because you’ve had alleged altercations with Lil’ Cease, Tragedy Khadafi, and Gravy and you always seem to be involved in drama.
I stand out amongst an industry full of fuck boys. You have to look at who I am before rap. I’m not going to say, ‘I’m a college educated, working class man.’ I told niggas from the jump – my whole life I’ve been a criminal, and then I started rapping. I went from being in the street, spending 10 years in prison, to coming home parlaying into the industry. I’ve been banging all that time.

Can the industry’s perception of you sometimes overshadow your music?
I don’t want people to think that’s what I’m about, ’cause any nigga that really pays attention to my music knows I can put a good song together. I know how to make records. My lifestyle just goes with the music.

Last June, a gunman tried to rob you inside a sneaker store in Brooklyn. Although you walked away unharmed, did it ever cross your mind that he could’ve killed you?
I could’ve killed him also— let that run around your mind, too. You gotta understand me – I come from that. I come from putting my gun in other niggas faces. So that’s my background. Now, I know for a fact this nigga really didn’t know what he was doing if he got the gun on my head. He didn’t know what he was doing and that’s why he ended up in the position to be popped. He ran outside of the store [and] the police was outside. The witnesses were like, “Hey! He was trying to rob Maino!” Police interviewed me on the spot, and I told them straight up, ‘Man, I don’t know nothing. All I know is somebody with a mask, I never seen the person before, threw a gun in my face. I grabbed it, we tussled, gun went off and that’s that.’ Dude went in jail trying to say I told on him or I made a statement. To this day, I don’t even know what that man looks like.

Do you feel you’re invincible?
Definitely not, man. I can die today. I’m not running around the industry thinking I’m the toughest nigga, that’s not what it is. I’ve had discrepancies with rappers that never went further than wax. But, I also had discrepancies that went way further than wax. I feel like, if you get on a record and you disrespect me, than you’re willing to deal with what comes with [that]. We’re all accountable for our [own] actions. So, if I disrespect a nigga, in my mind, I know I’m accountable for dealing with the repercussions.

You often say your victims were struck by the “the hand of God.” Is there anyone else in hip-hop that needs to feel your wrath?
The whole fakeness in hip-hop is just crazy. Everybody is a follower. Niggas ain’t comfortable being themselves ’cause who they really are isn’t appealing. Everybody wanna wear a [biker] chain on their belt [or] pants and don’t know what the fuck they doing. Get the fuck outta here; the streets don’t respect that. That’s the problem with these niggas – they too extra. You got niggas that will sit up there and lie to your face. You got these A&R niggas playing with niggas’ budgets, lying to a nigga, selling a nigga a dream. I would like to touch that and change it if I could, but I don’t think I could because it’s run by a bunch of fuck boys.

maino2.jpgWhy did you switch from Universal to Atlantic Records?
Tone, from Trackmasters, had another agenda. We sat down and I told him the best thing he could do for me, if he really gave a fuck about me, was to let me get the fuck up outta there. It’s just money to you, [but] it’s my life. 50 [Cent] stepped in and helped me out, [though]. He did some real nigga shit, put in a call for me and spoke to the right people. The situation was already gonna happen, but when a nigga like that makes a call, it’s way more major.

Although you first made your mark nearly two years ago, do you still consider yourself a new artist?
Every nigga that’s out right now [has] been out before me. And I’m not talking about every nigga with an album. I’m talking about every nigga that’s perceived to be a new artist. I was listening to all these niggas when I was still in jail. So you tell me. I haven’t even reached the general public yet. Let’s be honest, I haven’t been exposed to the masses yet. Niggas keep hearing about Maino, but I haven’t been exposed. I haven’t been on 106 & Park. I haven’t been on Rap City. I haven’t been on TRL. I haven’t had a single out. But now, God willing, everything is going to go where it should this year.

There are rumors you were supposed to appear in Def Jam’s Icon video game.
I was supposed to be in the game. I don’t know what happened, but at the last minute, they said I wasn’t in it. They flew me out to Cali, scanned my body, went through the whole motion [sensors] and stuff. I was definitely disappointed ’cause I was running around promoting the shit [and] talking about it. It’s all-good, [though].

You’re also on a 50-foot billboard in downtown Brooklyn for Stash House’s clothing line.
I’m very major right now on that billboard on Fulton [Street] and Flatbush [Avenue]. Shout out to Byron Kirkland and the whole Stash House for putting that together. You think these people would invest in me if I was that much of a liability? I can sit down and deal with business. I’m not some fucking animal. You got a nasty bitch like Foxy Brown running around spitting in people’s faces and doing all kinds of nasty shit. That’s a fucking animal right there. That bitch can’t function. If I was that much of an animal, I would have killed a nigga already.

  • Holla

    lol – he blacked on Foxy.

  • H.O

    Thats a real Nigga

  • icey SFD

    a nasty bitch…

  • THE G.O.D

    Peace

    now although I think it’s good the brother is doing music in the hope of not fallin’ victim but a true soldier just does his thing now starting controversies has been the chump way of having a buzz and another thing is claiming Jail time doesn’t make you ” real”. I remember I once chased a litlle crew of 4 or 5 cornballs by myself, for one had tried to bump me and I did not budge and one of the suckers told me he just got out of jail big deal, dun, sunny was stupid to get caught.

    do music ang get money dun
    one

  • FUCK WHAT YOU HEARD, I RUN NEW JERZ

    jersey we are first niggas, maino’s a real nigga when a nigga speaks from his heart and dont give a fuck what a nigga think and this nigga got a little flow i havent heard much from him hope to hear from him soon i just hope he aint on no dissing other rappers bullshit

  • Holla

    great fuckin interview!

  • RAY

    MAINO is pretty good heard acouple of tracks.TRAGEDY beef was over some money ..so i don’t consider him a bully he’s taking care business.

  • That Dude

    lol, at maino….i agree great read.

  • thecollinb

    Please recognize the only cat to step to Maino was Diddy….further proving the point that Diddy is really the only gangsta in the industry. All these clowns runnin around scared of Maino and Diddy probably was spittin all in the niggas face when he was talking.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mgmtinc SA

    Great interview! shout out to Brian “B.Dot” Miller!

  • http://www.rashadadesign.com DJ Intergral

    Maino sucks. He should get a real job and stop trying to rap.

  • SB

    Who is Maino?

  • http://www.supremeschemes.com DKNY

    DKNY / King Supreme
    We rock wit Maino. RealNi**as do real things. He always gonna get love on my projects. Keep grindin, we see you my dude.
    One

  • That Dude

    Diddy’s gangsta > everyone else’s

    He also confronted Nas when he said shit about him on that song “Purple” off Lost Tapes.

  • AZ$rugerman

    I been feelin Maino since he laced that verse w/ Cormega & Lake on that Mega album a few years back(damn i got that CD sittin in my car but cant recall the name?? possibly Legal Hustle)anyway this man is about to get his shine on once he drops that album, Maino speaks TRUTH at the same time he got credentials to back up whatever or whoever he wanna put on Blast..

  • Jo-Jo

    Maino. Havent heard nothing from him that was any good. A waste of time, he wears being in jail a badge of honor. U know what he probaly got county fucked in jail, Acting like he hard, we know u sweet boo!!!!!111

  • NoMamesBuey

    come on man ya’ll forgot Diddy with the cham bottle 2 Stoute’s head lmao

  • THE PROPHECY

    ATTENTION ALL THUGS!
    STREET CRED DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TALENT!
    I WISH MOST OF THESE DUDES JUST OPEN UP A BARBERSHOP WITH THEIR HUSTLE MONEY OR SOMETHING.
    TOO MANY RAPPERS. NOT ENOUGH LYRICISTS.
    THATS WHY WHITE GIRLS ARE SELLING MORE RECORDS THAN YOUR FAVORITE RAPPERS.

  • runninthe617

    Maino da truth… diddys a straight bitch fuckin faggot

  • http://www.myspace.com/princeunseen unseen all city

    MANIO IS A REAL NIGGA . HE AINT FAKE LIKE ALOT OF RAPPERS BY THAT I MEAN EVERYTIME I SEE HIM HES THE SAME. HE AINT ON NO HOLLYWOOD SHIT CAUSE HE GOT A DEAL. I SUPPORT HOMIE 120% ON SOME G SHIT.

  • maine issue

    sounds good,but every rapper and there mom’s mom’s mom says this is gonna be my year or the classic I don’t take no shit or I went to jail.Fuck all that show some talent fuck the war stories

  • E

    Diddy is not gangsta. Fuckin kidding me. Hotheaded does not, getting into altercations is not gangsta. Gangsta is doing gangsta shit, no fucking mogul shit.

  • FUCKING BITCH ASS NIGGAS

    ALL OF U PEOPLE ON THIS SITE ARE SOME FAKE ASS WANNA BE GANGSTA ASS BITCHES STOP TRYNA ACT LIKE U GO HARD CAUSE U DONT……

    AS FOR MAINO REAL NIGGGA RIGHT THERE HE MADE ME LAUGH WIT THAT FOXY BROWN SHIT

  • thecollinb

    RUNNININTHE617:
    Please turn off your computer, go in the bathroom, and kill yourself. Diddy is the last real nigga alive.

  • mistahmalik

    prophecy you said it all fam!..Too many Rappers, not enough Lyrics..I respect Maino’s hustle, I just cant say I respect tha taste of tha people who cop and promote his sh%t..On some way next sh%t though, that I normaly could give a f%ck less about…Isnt it ironic that Maino jumped off with Lil Kim’s “Holly Hood” crew, but instead of selling the chains he currently wears as payment for supremely wack ghost writting, he just went ahead and named his crew “Hustle Hard”?..I aint hateing, im just….Not f%ck it im Hateing!..ha ha…BK ALL DAY!

  • Luga & Chanel

    Foxy got da media locked….she’s a 10 year veteran…He just mad….(i been spitting in faces and catching cases) since “96″

  • FLIP

    Ok, you just might be the realest nigga in the industry, but what it all comes down to at the end of the day is how good can you rap? And this nigga is terrible!

  • Mobsta

    Bang Bang Anywhere Gang Jersey Gang….Hu$tle Hard!!!!!!!!!!

  • Caine

    My whole thang is, to each its own ya heard me. Errybody tryna say da nigga can’t rap, and he ain’t a lyricist, but truthfully speaking da nigga CAN make a good song. Which is all that matters. I’m a real street nigga and I listen to a lot of different shit, but dis nigga Maino is aiight. Check em out on dat new Smack joint. he gotta video showin how da shit went down in da shoe store. Da hook hard as a bitch(if you can relate).

  • ATG

    Straight up and down…MAINO is it, he is the future!

  • i’ll shit bag u

    that dudes a joke..i hope the WU fucks his bitch ass up!!!

  • what

    he don’t want it wit tha WU

  • Macdatruest

    amino? oops I mean miano oops. Damn’ my keyboard don’t even compute this niggas name!

  • Macdatruest

    And how come Maino is the new “unknown future” of NY? What happened to Papoose? What about Saigon? Who else is right just about to be the truth son?

  • EAST 27TH OAKALAND MURDER DUBBZ AKA THE TWOMP$

    MANIO IZ THAT NIGGA THATS IT AND THATS ALL

    AND A NIGGA FROM OAKLAND BAY AREA USA SAID

    WEEEEEEEEEEEE SOCKKKKKK THE SHIT OF NIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZ YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • new orlenz jean yaaaaaaaada mean

    P.S. FAGGZ HE WAS NOT DISRESPECTING THE

    WU TANG SWORD IN THAT FASHION HE JUST SAID ITS NOT WHAT IT USE TO BE

    GOD YOU NEW HIP HOP GENARATION OF WIGGERNOMOTRY IZ GAY GO LISTEN TO LLYOD

    NA WEEZY BITCHES

  • Young Stray

    im a burnout!!!!!!!!

  • lies ya tell

    lies lil him a her nigga maino needs ta lay it down .what kinda live nigga go at a broad…….foxy brown the king bitch of rap is so sick wit it……..got these str8 nigga stuck in dey feeling wow…….maino who are ya never heard of ya……and lil him is sitting back laughing at ya dumb ass…….chile please please foxy brown you sexy black bitch you kepp spit ya hot 16 on dem nigga put duke in check………..

  • Dipset

    Fuck this nigga!!!

    After he made that song “Rumors”, and dissed the whole industry, I never respected him again. He trying to follow 50′s foot steps by dissing everybody untill someone knows who he is. Gay Ass Nigga!!!

    Ya Dig??

  • http://www.myspace.com/mgmtinc sa

    FYI- “Rumors” wasnt a song dissing the industry! its exactly what the title states RUMORS! if u can even understand the concept, its about how people talk and pass along rumors in the industry, all he did was include the current rumors in the entertainment world…

  • DJ

    yo ive been bangin maino for like a year and a half now dis nigga iz soo sick hes got sick flow and mad passion wen he raps hes like pac just bringin dat shit up from his gut. and da industry frontin on him just cuz da nigga actually real yall bitch ass niggaz hatin on maino havent prolly heard any of his songs yo down load “my hood” “new york freestyle” “take it like a man” fuckin “mixtape love” “pop yo ass again” fuckin… any thing off the king of the city mixtape its all hard and right sick maino wen da album drop its gon be crazy nigga

    1

  • M@

    funny read…
    xxlmag.com interviews> allhiphop.com

  • Shorty Iz Great

    All y’all haters need to suck a dick a die, Maino is a real nigga, that nigga, my nigga, a fly nigga, get your ass died nigga! Expect heat from this man, he is the truth!!!

    brooklyn all day baby!

  • old head

    i want to hear from a rapper if this man wanna fight then box mayweather.if not make a hit record