The momentum is building for Mack Maine. After hopping on the remix to “Got Money,” as well as the song’s video, the New Orleans product and childhood friend of Lil Wayne is set to release a mixtape with Don Canon, called This is Just a Mixtape: The Realest To Never Do It, in roughly two weeks. This offering will be the latest addition to a resume that highlights Mack Maine’s versatility, including the release of two previous mixtapes, Freestyle 101 and Bitch I’m Mack Maine, serving as Wayne’s co-manager, the president of Young Money Entertainment, and heading up a DVD distribution company. While on the road in preparation for a 24 City Tour alongside Weezy, T-Pain, Keyshia Cole, and others, Mack checked in with XXLMag.com to speak on his new tape, his appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” and the wide array of musical interests that have had an impact on him.
XXLMag.com: What have you been working on recently?
Mack Maine: I’m working on a Don Canon mixtape. A lot of people think it should be my album, because it’s all original beats, so I decided to name it This is Just a Mixtape: The Realest To Never Do It. [Plus], the album is stupid man, I got 230 songs; I’m recording every night. I’m about do my first movie. I just started reading the script on the plane and it’s a pretty interesting movie. I’m also working on my documentary that’s supposed to come out in theaters sometime soon. Denzel and Will Smith are getting kinda old, I’m about to see if I can fill that void, you know, just to give it a shot.
XXL: So you try to touch it all, not just music?
Mack: Yeah, music’s just a start. Kush Entertainment is where we put out DVDs, and I’m the CFO. I also just started my own label, called Soothe Your Soul Music. You know, it soothes your soul, baby! We touchin’ souls around here, we not just tryna make you dance. Dancing is a part of soothing your soul, but you might laugh, you might cry, you might release your stress away.
XXL: Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Lil Wayne?
Mack Maine: That’s my brother. We rock like brothers from the same, not from another. We’ve been good friends since like age 5. We were raised by the same people, came up under the same structure, and were taught the same morals and values on life. Now he’s up for eight Grammys. That’s big for the team. I watched that dude rap when he was eight years old and I thought he was weird, man. We’d be playing basketball and he’s on the side, and we like, “What the fuck is he talkin’ about?” Back then, there weren’t no kid rappers. And now he’s up for eight Grammys and it’s just like, wow.
XXL: It seems like you’ve gotten some more exposure recently. What has the verse on “Got Money” done for you?
Mack: I’ve always been kinda big underground, but with the “Got Money” verse, I guess you could say that’s my debut to the world. They got to see my face and I got a little publishing money. I never really made money off of rap too much, but I always made money off of other business stuff. I quit the street stuff kinda early, so I ain’t gotta be in XXL talking about, I sold mad drugs; that’s not my style. But I’ve been on the business side for a while. Right now I’m the President of Young Money and I help out with managerial duties with Wayne. I made a lot of money off that aspect before my first album. So, the “Got Money” verse got me some rap money.
XXL: And what about your performance with Wayne on “Saturday Night Live” last September?
Mack: SNL, man…WOW! I was looking a my MySpace the other day and I watched that again and I called my mom in the middle of the night. I was like, “Mom, you realize that when I was younger I used to go to sleep to ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and who would’ve ever thought I’d be on it?” You got rappers that have went gold and platinum that will never do “Saturday Night Live.” Obama was supposed to be there, too, but there was a hurricane during that time so there was some stuff he needed to address so he missed his flight. If I woulda did it with Obama, I might have retired. To say I rocked the stage with Obama, what else is there to accomplish?!
XXL: On “Other Shit,” off Bitch I’m Mack Maine, you talk both about how you’re different from other rappers and how you don’t write. Can you speak on those a bit?
Mack: First of all, I’m not a rapper. I’m a prophet. That’s why I don’t write. I’ll do a whole song in three to five minutes—one take. Some people will be like, “Well, how good is the song?” But on songs that you heard [from me] that you already like I did like that. I’m gonna do a song on my album called “This is What Happens When I Write,” and that’ll set it up to where I’m gonna write my whole second album, and I’ll let the fans judge which one they like better. On the third album, I might mix it up and do whatever they like.
XXL: Did certain rappers influence you when you were coming up?
Mack: There’s a lot of ‘em, that’s why I’m so versatile. You know I sing, too? I love singing…Why not? Soothe your soul! In terms of people that impact me, the first tape my dad bought for me was Eric B. and Rakim, so I gotta salute them. Also, Salt-n-Pepa, Kool Moe Dee; I gotta pay tribute to Run-D.M.C. And then, as I got older, there was Eminem, Jay-Z, I grew up watching the Hot Boyz, plus Big L. I listen to everything—Maroon 5, James Blunt, too. I actually went to a predominantly white school for a summer and I learned a lot from them. They turned me on to a lot of stuff when I was younger where Wayne and them thought I was weird. We used to ride the bus and I’m singing Red Hot Chili Peppers.
XXL: Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Mack: Yeah, “Under The Bridge,” that might be my favorite song in life. I ride around with the top down on South Beach bumpin’ that. I’ve been on reggae recently, too. There’s so much about Jah Bless. I like people that put they heart into their music and you can hear they mean what they saying. It’s not just simple music like, “I’ma shoot you, fuck you.” I really lived like that before, and I could go back to my hood and sit down and see that. I don’t like music that gets me riled up, cause I’m naturally that way, so I need music that calms me down. I like the old school, too, like Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers, and The Commodores.
XXL: So when can we expect the album?
Mack: Whenever the momentum’s right. With me being in office, it’s whenever I feel it’s right. I’m gonna see how this mixtape do, and if the momentum’s there then it might be early. Wayne is supposed to drop in February, around Valentine’s Day, so I don’t wanna be around that time. I’m on that [album], so I’m gonna let that drop, run with some more momentum after that, and bam, probably come out after him.
XXL: Anything to add?
Mack: My name’s Mack Maine—that’s Mainestream. Get the paddle. I don’t need a yacht, I’m not fancy. I’m gonna paddle out Mainestream. Also, look out for all the artists on Young Money: Drake, Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, Nicki Minaj. What female on earth is messing with her right now? Plus Chuckie, he’s 13, and Twist who’s 15. And free T. Hilly. That’s my business partner with Kush and he’s locked up right now. He’ll be out in a minute, though. -Adam Fleischer