Interview: Brian “B.Dot” Miller
Convict. Thug. Mixtape rapper. One-hit wonder. Yep, Jermaine “Maino” Coleman’s heard it it all before. And after years of sitting in hip-hop purgatory the Brooklynite finally seeing the light with the release of his debut album, …If Tomorrow Comes on June 30th. In part one of our interview, Maino spoke to Rap Radar about beating the odds, Oprah’s BFF, and, puttin’ on for his city.
On your album, you have production from Just Blaze [“All The Above”] and Swizz Beatz [ “Million Bucks”]. How did you manage to obtain such a great look?
Man, why wouldn’t I get this look? I’m on a major label. That’s what’s supposed to happen, especially after I came out with “Hi Hater”. I did [that] without a major producer. I put myself in the game, so now that I have people that wouldn’t mind working with me. So it easy to go work with a Just blaze with a Swizz Beatz.
Did you know “Hi Hater” was going to be a success?
I knew I was holding on to something. I recorded that record right when
I got out of my Universal deal and I was recording it while I was
negotiating with Atlantic. I actually didn’t have a deal when I
recorded it. When I went to Atlantic, I had it. It was done already.
Atlantic signed me on having “Hi Hater”. A record without a plan ain’t
gone work. So, it put me in a position now from just an average dude on
the mixtapes to now international spotlight.
Do you regret making controversial records like, “Take It Like A Man?”
Nope not at all. I don’t regret those moves. That’s who I am, I don’t regret none of that. The decisions I made yesterday help me get here today. I didn’t come in the game kissing nobody’s ass. I came in the game speaking my mind saying what I want to say. It’s just now, I’m getting to another space so now I got to not move different. I got to think and plot out my moves a little differently and actions a little bit better.
You got to understand people, didn’t expect me to get this far. People wasn’t betting on me. When the convo came up about who’s gone be this, who’s gone be that a couple years ago, it was never me. When XXL did the who’s next and all that, I was never on the cover. I wasn’t even on the inside. There was no mention of me. I understood though and I forgive them for doubting me.
Why do you think that was?
Because they ain’t take me serious. They thought I was just some goon. My past was right there with me. I was getting into little incidents so it didn’t look serious from the perspective of critics. It just looked like, “oh, it’s just some street dude that just came off of jail. He’s not going to last,” And you can’t even blame them cause its like, N.Y. ain’t been doing good. So, how can you see a Maino coming up? So when it came to who they thought was going do something in the game it definitely wasn’t me.
After “Hi Hater”, you dropped “Hood Love” featuring Trey Songz but it failed to connect. When did you realize that song wasn’t going to work?
See one thing about me is I don’t get emotionally attached to my records. “Hood Love” was great record but coming after “Hi Hater” and the energy that I made in the streets, in the clubs, and on the radio it was like they almost wanted another “Hi Hater” from me. So, “Hood love” was moving but it wasn’t moving as fast as Hi Hater was. It’s no use of crying over anything. Lets get back in the studio lets come back with something undeniable and we came up with “All the Above.”
It seems as if you’re finding your footing. In fact, I hear Gayle King is a fan of yours.
I actually did an interview with her on Oprah radio. What happen was she was doing an interview on Good Morning America and they was talking about the First Lady. She was like “it’s like the rapper Maino who has a song called ‘Hi Hater,’” and they started smiling. And she was like yeah, I know the song and she started singing “Hi Hater”! So then, I heard about that, saw the footage and then sent her some flowers. I found out what kind of flowers she liked, she took that, and was like, “Wow, Maino is a good dude.” She touched out to my peoples and had me call into Oprah Radio and then we just chopped it up and it was all good.
Ha! So does this mean Maino is a celebrity now?
Aye man, aye man. I mean, I don’t know. What the streets saying?
I’d like to think you’re on your way.
All I do is just project success and I’m just try to come up and just because I’m able to perform in front of 65,000 screaming fans and I’m doing stadiums now and people want to touch me now, It don’t go to my head. I’m still who I am. I’m a grounded nigga that’s because when you see me —even though I’m on my third single and my second one is a gold single, I’m still me.
It’s crazy to say, but you’re but new face of New York.
I knew I would be , I felt like I would be. I felt like I had what it took, I was strategic and more strategic than a lot of of niggas were on those mixtapes. It feels pretty good. I want other people to come up to though, it cant just be me.