Maino has been running Brooklyn for years. In case the world needed reminding, the “Hi Hater” MC dropped King of Brooklyn 2 this week with hopes of inspiring BK’s next generation to walk in his royal footsteps.
With young upstarts like Bobby Shmurda and Troy Ave finally bringing the world’s attention back to BK’s music scene, Maino is optimistic about his borough’s future. And he feels like he’s in the perfect place to make the most of the moment.
“I’m excited about the whole situation. I’m excited to even put out dope music,” said Maino. “It just feels good to be able to speak directly to the fans and not be held up so much.” He’s confident that his indie label situation will present even more opportunities for his empire to grow.
BET.com spoke exclusively with Maino about the purpose of KOB2, his recent collaborations with New York Knick Iman Shumpert and his favorite kings of Brooklyn’s past.
What is your mission with KOB2?
With King of Brooklyn, I’m just owning who I am. I’m just coming to grips with my destiny. I been knew that I was the King of Brooklyn. This has been going on for a long time. I said this when I first got in the game early on, I used to say, “I run Brooklyn, I run Brooklyn.” But as I got more popular, I wasn’t saying it as much. So it was just about me owning who I was. Me saying I’m the King of Brooklyn ain’t about no rap shit. We all kings. I come from Kings county. Why not?
How did you get involved with the Full Court Press Vol. 1 project?
I got involved with the Full Court Press through my man Cipha Sounds and Drewski from Hot 97. They told me about it. They told me it was a dope situation. It was motivational, it was inspirational, it was tying in NBA players. So I came in and played my part, jumped on a record with Iman Shumpert and Ma$e and it’s all good. I worked with Shump on a record before, a few years ago. He’s a cool dude. Somebody that I’ve known, it’s all love.
Do you have any predictions for this year’s NBA season?
It’s still early. But you know I’m a New York boy. So right now, people tell me I can’t do what I’m doing, but I got two teams. I’m a Knicks fan and a Nets fan.
How does it feel to see Troy Ave and Bobby Shmurda bringing some light back to BK?
I love it. I love it. I actually love it. I love all that Brooklyn love, I love all that energy that’s coming out of my borough because we’re letting the world see that we ain’t going nowhere. Not just for Brooklyn, but just for the whole city as a whole. It’s important that Troy Ave blows up, and Bobby Shmurda. It’s important, because no one artist can do it alone. That’s how we start changing things. You have a number of artists with some energy going on. And then people started looking back at New York like, “OK, they really hitting the charts in a major way. They really making dope music. We want the world to see. We don’t just wanna make music just for New York City and just for Brooklyn. We wanna make music for everybody. We wanna make music for the world. We wanna make music for people that’s like us, but not necessarily from our zip code.
Who are your favorite kings of Brooklyn of all time?
Man, I love everybody, homie. I’m a student of the game. I’m not one of these f**k n****s that get on the interview and say that they ain’t fans of n****s. It ain’t nothing personal. You a fan. You can’t tell me that you been out here, you been from Brooklyn, you been in prison, you been in the streets, you been in the life, and you ain’t been a Jay Z fan. I find that hard to believe. 'Cause we talking about, in my eyes, the best that’s ever done it. Period. Being a hustler, being from the streets, being from something that I actually can relate to. Me growing up knowing the same people that he know, same people he rapped about, being from Marcy — seeing him conquer not only the rap game, but just move in the corporate way and be about his business and solidify so many things on so many different levels. It’s just inspiration, homie.
And you’re playing the same role for the next generation.
That’s what this thing is about. That’s the type of music I make. And that’s the type of artist I am. I’m an artist that, when you see me, I look like inspiration. Because these young n****s and these dudes out here that’s going through what they going through, they know I’m one of them. And that’s how I used to look at Hov.
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