Some individuals have a grind that’s all their own. Some individuals adapt a grinding philosophy that is placed in front of them. And some individuals create highway for their own grind which surpasses most. Jermaine “Maino” Coleman, hailing from Bed-Stuy Brooklyn did just that. After a 10 year stretch behind bars and taking a risk on his most valuable product, himself, Maino captured the masses. He hit the game hard with his Hi Hater anthem. He then achieved heavy radio spins with the T-Pain assisted All The Above. And then he banged out the clubs with the Swizz Beatz produced Million Bucks. All the hits were spawned from his debut If Tomorrow Comes. He then released a slew of mixtapes that brought him to even more of the masses. Now, Maino has released the aftermath of his first studio album. His official sophomore release The Day After Tomorrow. Yo! Raps got the chance to vibe with the Brooklynite emcee and feel his movement and his vision for the future.
I heard you say in an interview, “If you feel something live it out.” What made you want to live out Hip-Hop?
When I was still inside and I was still in prison I felt like I wanted to do something different with my life. At that point I still didn’t know what I was actually gonna come home and do. And the truth of the matter was what could I do when I came home? I had a prison record, 2 felonies, a GED and no job skills! I started to consider the thought of doing music and after awhile I said you know what, Ima take it serious and Ima do it. So it was still while I was in prison, when I felt like I had to do something different.
You also spoke about Love and Hip-Hop approaching you for the VH1 show and you stated that you really weren’t feeling their concept. If you had creative control and decided to do a reality show, what would the concept be?
I would have to do something that was based on my life in some sort of manner, something where people could get something out of it, something more realistic. I mean you have these people that sit home and watch these shows and to them it’s just entertainment. So for me it would have to be something that people could get something out of.
It seems like your enjoying life and creating a new lane within your music for the ladies. How did that decision to expand musically come about?
It’s just me growing as an artist and refusing to be put in a box and refusing to let people tell me that I can only make music one way. I mean all the great artists we love and all the artists that we said were great were versatile. So I’m a versatile dude. I can still multitask and never stray away from my core.
I can respect that and I can definitely see the growth in you as an artist. On the new single, That Could Be Us, was it your idea or was it a collaborative effort between yourself, Robbie Nova and Video Director Antwan Smith to incorporate the visions of the power couples like Jay-Z and Beyonce, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys and Barack and Michelle?
That was something that I wanted to incorporate myself and originally, I wanted to dress up like them. I wanted shots of me looking like Barack and the girl looking like Michelle and vice versa with Jay and B, but eventually we went with something a little less complicated.
Prior to your debut CD, you had a crazy Internet and street buzz with the song Rumors. I won’t rehash the names you mentioned on the song or the rumors that you spit about but I will ask you this; now that you have had a chance to be in the spotlight do you think differently about the rumors that are started in this industry and the people that get hurt behind those rumors?
Oh yea! Yeah, at that time I wasn’t in the game. I was still on the outside of it. I was laughing at the rumors about people. I wasn’t really considering that the artist is a real person. I wasn’t taking into consideration that some of the things that are said about some of these artists are not true. None of us are made of steel so yea, but Rumors had to be made because that’s where I was in my life at the time. So now, I definitely have a respect for artists and entertainers that have to deal with crazy rumors all the time.
I know you were big on 2Pac when you released Letter To Pac, which was a spinoff of Letter to B.I.G. done by Jadakiss. Why was Pac so influential to you?
He made music that I felt was the soundtrack to my life. If you were in the streets and if you lived a certain type of lifestyle you could understand what he was saying. I mean I can’t even say it was from that era because a lot of the things he spoke about are still relevant to this day. I mean I listen to Pac now all the time even like right now. When he says shit like, “How can I explain how this game laced me/ Plus with this fame I got enemies doing anything to break me/ My attitude changed got to the point where I was driven/ 24/7 money’s my mission/ Just a nigga tryna make a livin.”
You know he was just so realistic man but everything isn’t for everybody. I had arguments about dude from people who said they wasn’t really Pac fans and they ain’t really listen to that. So I had to look at them and I had to realize what kind of dude I was talking to, ya know?
I read a quote from you that said, “There was a time when I didn’t know what I was gonna do with my life personally and that’s a scary feeling, especially when you come from an environment where your friends die or go to jail.” What was the defining moment for you when you said to yourself enough is enough and you figured out that you didn’t want to live out your entire life as a statistic?
It was definitely when I was in prison and I was teeter tottering with the idea of taking rap seriously. It’s a scary feeling not knowing what you re gonna do with your life. I mean dig this, imagine being 30 years old with no job skills and felonies. Imagine not knowing how you are gonna make this money and prevail. That is a scary place to be and it’s a scary thought to not know where your life is going and how your gonna live it out I knew that I would probably go back to doing what got me in that position in the first place and I just really wanted to correct that. I just wanted to try to do something different. If it didn’t work then fuck it we gonna get back to the crack later fuck it, but I had to at least try.
Let me pose this question to you. You worked with B.G. on your debut and now according to news reports he was allegedly apprehended in a stolen Alamo rental car with 3 weapons, ammunition and 2 extended clips. What do you think about an artist that has had several shots at making a career in music work and then they end up facing 10 years?
Well, first and foremost shout out to my brother B.G., he is a very good friend of mine and let me say that I don’t know all the particulars in his situation but, the thing is we are human and we make these mistakes. It’s judgment mistakes, we come from an environment where this is what we know how to do. Rap was a way out. A lot of times we are still in the same situation with the same people around us so that’s a judgment call where we have to say to ourselves, enough is enough and we gotta fall back and sometimes we don’t do that. I’m rooting for him I mean I spoke to him maybe two or three months ago when I was in New Orleans and it’s just an unfortunate situation not just for him but for any artist going through stuff like that.
I know you have a son how old is he now?
What is the biggest message you try to give to him?
Responsibility. I talk to him and I tell him that he's very fortunate to have a father that can provide for him and give him everything he wants. He’s a kid and kids do things like, losing their clothes and me and his mother we argue about it. If he goes to school and loses his coat she will just say we’ll buy him another one but it’s not about being able to buy him another one it’s about him being responsible. I tell him about the places I’ve been to like Haiti and I’ve seen kids with AIDS bathing in the street and I tell to him about all these things and let him know how blessed he is. I tell him he’s gotta be a worker and he needs to know what he wants to do with his life. We all make mistakes but I tell him let’s get it right the first time so that we don’t have to make those mistakes and then we don’t have to learn from them.
What’s the next video?
Oh, we’ve been shooting a bunch of stuff. We got Nino Brown coming, Gangsters Ain’t Dead and Unstoppable. We are gonna be releasing the tour dates soon.
What are you looking to do next musically? Are you heading in the direction of live instrumentation?
I’ve tried that a couple of times. It’s cool to do sometimes but I’m definitely getting back in the studio and I’ll probably put out an EP or something but I just wanna keep making good music and not lose any momentum.
What’s the next step for your imprint Hustle Hard?
We definitely trying to put out and help other artists like Robbie Nova, my man Push, and my brother Mouse. The bigger I am the more people I can help.
- By K.B. Tindal