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If Tomorrow Comes...

Maino

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Album Review

Bed-Stuy rapper Maino spent nearly a decade behind bars before he launched his rap career. Thanks to numerous appearances on mixtapes, the "Maino Is the Future" tagline started appearing about 2004, just one year after his release. Switching labels, scrapping a finished album, and not releasing his official debut for five years brought this "future" into doubt, but it was really just a case of the stars aligning because If Tomorrow Comes... is a killer way to start a career. Over an especially good Swizz Beatz production, he identifies himself as different right from the start, declaring it's better to give than receive on the opening "Million Bucks." Feeling good about the success of others isn't common in gangster rap, but Maino is hardcore all the way and will later offer "I contemplate, they ain't never hear you screams with a pillow to your face" on "Kill You," and by the way, he's speaking to a female ("You gonna look better in my trunk girl, layin' funny"). If Tomorrow Comes... believably lives in both of these worlds because it is a concept album, one that follows Maino from crack addict parents, to prison, and on to parole where he's determined not to fail. His poetic explanations of why going back to the joint is no alternative are hardly Scared Straight! material. Instead of shock value, he speaks to the soul-crushing joylessness of prison and what an important role pride plays in his life, and how much that differs from the average rapper's idea of respect. On the key track "Runaway Slave" he spits "How they gonna remember me?/What up be my legacy?/How they gonna talk about me/When they pour Hennessey." Elsewhere, while reenacting his first meeting with future mentor DJ Kayslay, he's surprisingly humble, unwilling to boast but entirely confident his demo will achieve. Lighter moments appear along the way with the infectious and snide "Hi Hater" and the T-Pain-produced victory number "All the Above" keeping the album from becoming too heavy. After all that time in prison, Maino has few answers but he has a plan, and it happens to be a righteous plan. The way he maps it out on If Tomorrow Comes... is vivid, cold, hard, hopeful, sometimes even thoughtful, but most of all, it's riveting. As Kayslay says during one of the interludes, "You need to be congratulating the dude."

Biography

Born: Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

A favorite on the New York mixtape circuit, Brooklyn rapper Maino, born Jermaine Coleman, grew up in the borough's Bedford-Stuyvesant section in a household with two drug-addicted parents. Lacking parental guidance, Coleman kept to the streets and involved himself in petty crime, which landed him in prison in the early '90s. There he learned to rap so that he could deal with boredom and isolation. In 2003, after about ten years, he was released from prison and wasted no time setting up his new imprint,...
Full bio
If Tomorrow Comes..., Maino
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  • 85,00 kr
  • Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Music, Underground Rap, East Coast Rap
  • Released: 26 June 2009
  • Parental Advisory

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