Headliners: Maino and DJ Green Lantern
Representing: Brooklyn, New York
Mixtape: I Am Who I Am: The Album Before the Album
Real Spit: While Maino is known to keep close ties with the streets, the Brooklyn MC has a knack for making rap hits that transcend his 'hood. From 2008's "Hi Hater" to his T-Pain-assisted "All the Above" and his current Lil Wayne-featured banger "Cream," Main has managed to keep a stash of radio gems but has never compromised his underground appeal. Now, as he gets set to finally release his sophomore album, The Day After Tomorrow, Maino leads first with a mixtape prelude, I Am Who I Am: The Album Before the Album.
"It's the album before the album, it's album-quality music, it's not just a bunch of throwaways," the tape's disc jock Green Lantern told Mixtape Daily.
"With mixtapes, a lot of times, a lot of people do something where they're rhyming over other people's beats, they freestyling and stuff like that. I wanted to do something that was a little bit more different and something that I was used to doing," Maino said. "I feel like one of my strong points is making hot records, making songs. So I wanted to do that right before my album was gonna drop."
I Am Who I Am features a handful of street odes. "Cream," with Lil Wayne, is included, and why wouldn't it be? The repetitive Rick Ross sample on the hook makes it memorable, while Main and Weezy's focused vocals make it bang. "Yes Yes Ya'll" featuring Lloyd Banks is another winner. The Hustle Hard boss trades bars with Banks over a bouncy beat that draws inspiration from Peedi Crakk's 2003 single "One for Peedi Crakk."
Then there is "Last of the Mohicans" with Push! Montana. Over the pounding drum track, Maino and Montana rhyme about their struggles coming up. They draw a clear distinction on the song between themselves and the rappers who only portray a gangster's lifestyle.
Maino truly embodies everything that he raps about on I Am Who I Am and that's what makes his tape so compelling. And just to think, this is only The Album Before the Album. Next up: The Day After Tomorrow.
Joints to Check For
» "Last of the Mohicans" - "Last of a dying breed, ya know? Right now we're seeing a different trend in hip-hop where it's not so much about street credibility. It's not so much about what you may have done in the streets; it's not so much about you being a gangsta and stuff like that. It's about just making hot music."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.