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Biggie said it best back in 1997: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. It’s a sobering reality that whacks anyone ascending to a higher profile or wealthier tax bracket. Fast forward a decade and a half and it’s another Brooklyn rapper, Maino, who’s caught within the whirl of this heavy realization. Having converted a potholed past into mainstream music stardom, Maino is done paying dues, yet invoices the price of fame on his matured sophomore LP, Day After Tomorrow. “I’m not coming from the perspective of a dude trying to come out of the street—I’m out,” says Maino, whose true-to-life debut album If Tomorrow Comes… follows an ex-con gone legit.
Once released from his 10-year stint, Maino swapped the streets for the studio.After a mutual friend introduced him to DJ Kay Slay, Maino slowly infiltrated the mixtape circuit, politicking with local DJs to get his name and music buzzing. “I knew that the industry wasn’t going to come to me,” says Maino, who won hardcore rap heads via street-tailored tracks like the eyebrow-raising “Rumors.” While a 2005 deal with Universal led only to a shelved first project (Death Before Dishonor), the rapper persevered and was signed—along with his own Hustle Hard imprint—to Atlantic in 2007. He made his mark quickly on his rookie album If Tomorrow Comes…, spearheaded by the hood favorite “Hi Hater,” an ultra-catchy ode to naysayers that quickly became a fixture in hip-hop vernacular and even inspired its own T-shirts. Yet it’s the million-selling, Just Blaze-produced “All of the Above,” featuring T-Pain, that launched Maino into the mainstream consciousness. “‘Hi Hater’ felt big because it hit the culture, but ‘All of the Above’ crossed over for me. That’s the hit that changed my life,” he says. “I know what it felt like to get a platinum plaque, to have a record playing all over the world. I want that again.”

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