Maino is from the land of hustlers, so it’s no surprise when one learns of the major moves he’s made in 2017 alone. In 10 months, the Brooklyn rapper has dropped three projects—Some Women Are Realer Than MenGhetto God and his latest effort, Party & Pain—and had a memorable role in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me. The opportunity to play a part in a flick about Tupac's life isn't something Maino takes for granted. “Me shooting [the actor] ’Pac… I was ready to do whatever, as far as be a part of the movie in any capacity,” Maino tells XXL of his role as the gunman of the infamous Quad Studios shooting. “I had to make the best of it.”

The ’Pac film served as Maino’s first leap into Hollywood, but it was his next acting role that showed his promise. A month later, the "Family" rapper appeared in Irv Gotti’s Tales series on BET, starring in the episode inspired by Meek Mill and Diddy’s 2015 track “Cold Hearted,” off Meek's Dreams Worth More Than Money album. Directed by Benny Boom—who also got Maino the role in All Eyez on Me—the show’s second installment reeled in nearly half a million viewers, giving it a rank in the Top 50 Original Cable Telecasts to air that day.

Though he's focused on expanding his brand at the moment, fear not when it comes to his music; Maino’s heart still lies in his bars. Last week, the self-described "King of Brooklyn" reintroduced himself on his new LP, Party & Pain, two subjects the Bed-Stuy MC knows all too well. “Party & Pain. Pain and party, that’s my life, baby. It’s my ups and downs, it’s my pains, it’s my passions, it’s my love, my rocky life,” Maino shares.

He also references his role in hip-hop culture on the project. “Because here’s the thing: once you’re the new nigga, you can only be that new nigga one time,” the 44-year-old rhymer explains. “Everything after that is about trying to reinvent that. You deal with the ups and downs of that, you know? Just as much as we like to get money and buy cars, you know, ride around in Rolls-Royces and Bentleys and stuff like that, we still live a real life. So that’s what Party & Pain is.”

The newly-released project holds 16 tracks, 12 of which have features from the likes of Uncle Murda, Dave East, Young Greatness and Fat Joe. The Joey Crack-assisted single "God Bless," also featuring Fresh, is currently in rotation on the radio circuit.

If you thought Maino was done, trust and believe this year only served as the wake-up call for those still sleeping on the seasoned rapper. This past summer, Maino and a friend decided to bring back a 1990’s fashion trend after asking the question: “What if we spent the whole summer wearing all FILA?”

The brand answered his question after extending a deal for him to produce his own pair, a KOB version of the FILA Mindblower, one he calls “simple but poppin.” “My FILA collab, it’s dope, man,” Maino says of of the leather and suede-adorned kicks. “I will say that I’m honored to be able to have been a part of that. Me being from Brooklyn, growing up wearing FILA, it’s classic for us.” The KOBs are scheduled to drop in April 2018.

So let's rewind for a second. His own label, Hustle Hard, multiple music projects, standout acting roles and now his own shoe? For someone who did a lengthy prison bid into the early 2000s, Maino has done more than most rappers can only dream of during the course of their career. It may not be far-fetched for him to up for the King of Brooklyn title after all.

See New Music Releases for October 2017

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