A fundraiser for One Vizion Foundation
It’s time for some new blood. Time for the emergence of fresh talent to identify with a new era of hip-hop fans. It’s time for Maino. Having used the mixtape circuit to cull a strong following, Brooklyn, NY native Maino is no longer his borough’s best-kept secret. The swagger-rich MC is now in a position to present a brand new look to hip-hop with his debut Atlantic album, If Tomorrow Comes… “I don’t want to say let’s bring New York back, but let’s bring New York forward,” he says. “And the only way to bring it forward is to breathe new life into it. That’s how you keep hip-hop alive, you give birth to the new. I want to be the one bringing that new life.” Surely bold proclamations from rappers are nothing new, but with Maino it’s his captivating approach that’s refreshing. “I’m not trying to be the next anybody,” he says. “I can’t do what Jay-Z does. I can’t do what Diddy, 50, or Wayne can do. I can’t do what Big or Pac did. I can only be me and master what I do.” And what Maino does is blend gritty lyricism with riveting street flair, combined with a magnetic confidence that’s both hard enough for the fellas and appealing to the ladies. It’s a proven formula that all the greats utilize, and it has come through in his music, starting with buzzworthy mixtape joints like “Rumors,” “All Eyez On Me,” and “The Diary.” “I come to the people as one of them,” he says. “I’m not Hollywood. I’m coming from the ground up, trying to get to the top.” Able to overcome a daunting ten-year incarceration, Jermaine “Maino” Coleman made the transition from nobody to somebody look relatively easy. However, the journey was anything but trouble-free. Raised in the heart of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn –Nostrand Ave to be exact – Maino developed an affinity for hip-hop during the genre’s classic ’88 era. Legends such as Rakim, KRS-One, and Brooklyn’s own Big Daddy Kane were some of his early inspirations. In fact, Maino’s fondest memories were the late-night radio mix shows that he’d record. “I’d make my lil’ tapes so I could have something to play for me and my friends,” he recalls. “I wasn’t really writing rhymes yet; I was doing it because I was such a fan.”
Before Maino gets his opportunity to ascend to hip-hop’s elite echelon, If Tomorrow Comes… is going to have to acquaint him with the masses that might not be familiar with the hard work he put in under the radar. And he’s already begun the process with the hard-charging “Be Me.” Not an official single, the Nard & B produced track is a fitting introduction to a rapper who’s been known to attract some controversy every now and then. “I don’t want to scare the money away,” says Maino. “But I’m not about to shy away from who I am. And this record speaks to that.” You can expect more of the same unadulterated candor throughout If Tomorrow Comes… It doesn’t get any more straightforward than the Alex Da Kid-produced “Role Model.” Toying with the staccato flow made popular by Brooklyn rapper Smooth Da Hustler, Maino offers a disclaimer to fans of all ages: “I’m bad company; don’t look up to me.” As unruly as that may sound, one listen to the vibrant clubbanger “Hi Hater,” and you’ll see why it’s easy to root for the bad guy. Produced by newbie Mr. Raja and Maino, with a classic Jimmy Spicer sample (most recently made popular via Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy” remix), the track is the quintessential anthem that’ll help Maino crack the repetitive rotation on hip-hop radio. “You got to make records that compete,” he says. “I see what I have going on as a movement. This is the type of song that pushes a movement ahead.” To ensure that Maino makes a serious push to become the “new life” in hip-hop, If Tomorrow Comes… is stacked with a broad spectrum of bangers. From the raunchy southern-tinged bounce of “Dump Dick” to the introspective “Back 2 Life,” Maino piques your intrigue on many levels. Along with collaborations with B.G., T.I., and Cool & Dre, Maino’s debut leaves an indelible mark on first impression. “Nothing can compare to what I’ve been through,” he says. “Dudes in jail used to tell me ‘when you get your shot make it work.’ Now that I got it, I want to make it work.” And for our sake, if it does, what we hear on the radio won’t be more of the same. It’ll be something new.