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Maino and The Mafia: “This Our Wu-Tang Thing

How was it crafting the ‘tape, did you guys have to re-do certain verses and all, because I’m sure there’s competition between you all every time you hit the studio.

Maino: That’s what pushes everybody to do better. Even me, as an artist you always want to strive to be better. You never want to be an artist to just feel like [you’re] the shit. Then you’ll [end up] getting lazy with your craft. If you gon’ step into this craft, you got to be ready to grow. So, it’s about pushing each other. I got a record half way done, Luck will hear that shit and be like, “Oh I got to go crazy on there.” I told niggas, go in there like you ain’t got no friends. Go in there competitive, because at the end of the day the world is gonna look and we don’t want to give these niggas nothing to [criticize over]. No way. I’ll put my boys up against anybody, whatever, whenever, however. We don’t do battle rapping, I’m just telling you the music is good. I feel good because this is the first time I did a project that wasn’t me and about me. I wasn’t just thinking about me when we was picking beats, hooks and all that. I was thinking about my niggas and it felt good.

How long did it take for this project to come together?

Maino: We been working on this mixtape, now we working on the EP. We been working on this basically all summer.

Is there a prospective release date for this EP?

Maino: No date yet because we gotta finish handling this mixtape, run around and do all this press, and promote the movement’s introduction, then we’ll jump right into the EP. Look forward to another single and more videos. We trying to drop a video every week and just to continuously mob.

Shot By Gladimir Gelin/NewYorkMADE Films

Was bringing your whole crew in the game something you had in mind for a while?

Maino: I mean, you always want to bring your homies with you. That’s just an innate feeling that you have in yourself, like, I want my niggas to feel this, I want my niggas to live this—what it feel like to be on tour, being able to rock 60,000 and all these things. So it was like, How can I do this? After I dropped my last album and came up off that cycle, I now had the opportunity to do that. I had the opportunity to say, Yo Luck, yo Push, I feel like we got to do this. It’s going to help all of us, because people like movements and to see that.

I feel like this is more than just a Brooklyn movement—

Hustle Hard Mouse: This ain’t about Brooklyn, this is global. We got niggas down South, we got niggas all over. They just waiting on the word.

Lucky Don: It’s the foundation.

Hustle Hard Mouse: Word. The foundation is us and we just happen to be from Brooklyn. Brooklyn is where we from and that’s cool, but we ain’t gon’ just put this in a box and say it’s a Brooklyn thing. This is going to be global. You could be rep the Mafia and don’t even have to rap, you could be the camera man but you repping the same movement.

This is not a rap crew, this is a movement. We all doing our own thing and rep the Mafia so now we all gonna come together for a compilation. That’s what it is. It’s not a group, it’s a compilation and we just the beginning of the bigger movement that’s going on.

Maino: It’s a family, whether we name it or not, this is still my family and they’re still gonna be my niggas regardless. The thing about other places and when you spread certain things—I got homies all over that rep that Black Flag, that Mafia—as far as music is concerned, we gotta ignite it from somewhere and for us being from Brooklyn it helps that we’re igniting and coming right out of Brooklyn. There’s a lot of new energy coming out from there like the stadium and a movement was needed. Something new was needed. Unity is something that they say we don’t have on this side so, I want to them that we do.

How do you plan to stay relevant in a game that’s now ran by crews?

Maino: Just do us. When you concentrate on you, you don’t got no time to worry about nobody else. So we gon’ do us collectively and do our Wu-Tang thang. —Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)

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