Maino Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- The road from Maino's 2009 debut set, ...If Tomorrow Comes, to his sophomore full-length has been a long and bumpy one, but he hasn't let a little red tape slow his hustle. Well-prepared for the trials and tribulations of the industry by his background in the streets, the NYC representative has kept his nose pressed firmly to the grindstone, all the while channeling his experiences in the game into his music. The result, The Day After Tomorrow, is a fresh, gritty and one-hundred-percent real document of the artist's life, picking up right where its predecessor's story left off. Fueled by the success of singles "Let It Fly" and "That Could Be Us," as well as fan favorite "I'm About Cream," the set is scheduled to hit record stores and online retailers January 31, via Hustle Hard/Atlantic.
In an exclusive interview, Maino steps into the Booth to discuss how his sophomore LP will reflect his changing life circumstances, how the label setbacks and delays have affected his creative process, and why he's departed from his usual, street-oriented style to cater to the ladies on his latest single selection.
Your sophomore album, The Day After Tomorrow, has a January 31, release date. What is this album all about?
I wanted to continue what I started on the first album, the storyline aspect that If Tomorrow Comes had. That [concept] started with me getting out of prison and trying to get a record deal going through the stuff that I was going through and this is part two of that. It doesn’t chronicle the streets as much as [it covers] what I’m going through right now as an artist. I went from being a dude who was in the streets trying to get in the game to actually becoming an artist. I’m telling that story now, everything I’m going through today. This is The Day After Tomorrow because tomorrow came and here I am now.
You've dealt with many changes in your life, both as a person and as an artist. How have these setbacks and delays directly effected the creative process?
People doubted me from the get go so I’m used to the struggle of it. The push backs have more or less worked for me because it’s helped me create more energy around the records that we’re putting out. If you get the right kind of timing and energy around a record, now you’re actually saying something. The push backs are only due to needing more time on the records being out. We came out with “Let It Fly” and that went top 20 in the country and now we’re out with the new single “That Could Be Us.”
If you can handle a prison sentence and the politics of getting signed to a major label, push backs aren’t so bad are they?
Right. At the end of the day, I get to wake up and be an artist. I’m making a living off making music so nothing I’m going through today can ever amount to what I’ve been through. Regardless, I'm already successful because I made [it] out of the hell that I was already in.
That’s a great way to look at it. Tell us about the new single “That Could Be Us.”
It’s a record geared towards my female fan base. I felt like it was something I needed to do and the women were asking me to do for a minute now. Most great artists are able to make hot street records and turn around and make a record for the ladies, as well. It’s just something that represents my growth. Artists like Jay-Z are able to make street records and records for the women at the same time and nobody looks at them like they’re crazy. That’s something I wanted to do as an artist and I’ve always felt like I could. I put out a hard street record which was “I’m about Cream” with Lil Wayne and that caters to my core and then we dropped “That Could Be Us” a week later.
Are there plans to further push “I’m About Cream” as a single? Is there a video planned?
Definitely, because the feedback on that record was so tremendous, we’re going to do something with it. Timing is everything and some times you need time for things to explode the way you want it to but definitely look forward to that video and everything.
Another song that will make your new album is entitled “Glad to Be Alive.” What does that song (and video) mean to you?
That’s classic Maino right there. I’m glad you asked about that one. That’s real life music right there, real life sentences, keep it 100 all the way because I don’t like to sugar coat things and I am who I am. “Glad to be Alive”, I really feel that way. That’s something that I really go through. Every line on that song meant something to me because I’m speaking from my heart on that record. I’m giving people the opportunity to feel me outside of a club, party or street record. This is the truth right here. “Five years of balling ain’t worth doing life.” So many people took that quote from that song and felt that. I’ve seen so many people tweet that at me. It’s so real, it’s so profound. A lot of artists nowadays don’t come from the streets so they may not relate to that. Kids wanna’ be skateboarders nowadays but I’m talking to people who have been in the streets on that record. We’re just happy to be alive.
Is there any other information, in terms of features selections or production credits, you can divulge about “The Day After Tomorrow”?
I don’t really have too many big named producers on there this time. I got mostly up-and-coming hot producers. I’ve been working with Dangerous LLC, Mista Rogers, The Coalition Forces and G.Q. Beats among others. We’re not in a time where we need big name producers in my opinion. Whoever has hot sh*t is good enough for me; I don’t care what your name is. I haven’t worked with too many artists either. I’m still telling my story. I like to work with people outside of my album but when it comes to my album time, I’m a little more selfish; I don’t wanna’ share that with anybody because I’m still telling my story.
In closing, what does the future look like for Maino?
We’re just gonna’ keep working and pushing. I’m not going anywhere!