Complex | Combat Jack

Maino on The Combat Jack Show Ep. 1

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Combat Jack:

Yo, internets. Tonight, I'm really excited. We've had this man on the show before, and he's incredible. He's a Hustle Hard founder, mafia boss, problem solver, and rapper slapper; Brooklyn's own tonight, on the Combat Jack Show, Complex TV, the unstoppable Maino. What's up, Maino?

Dallas Penn:

Brooklyn.

Combat Jack:

What's going on, son?

Maino:

Amazing, man. How you feeling, man? Listen, this is a hell of a production you going on here.

Combat Jack:

Thank you, sir.

Maino:

You're blowing up out here.

Dallas Penn:

You remember our bootleg status before.

Maino:

It was cool. It wasn't bootleg, it was cool. I was comfortable, you made me feel comfortable, and we got the interview done and it was classic.

Combat Jack:

Are you ever uncomfortable?

Maino:

No, not really.

Combat Jack:

Maino, I know you've been asked this 1,000, and I don't even remember if I asked you. That's such a distinguished scar on your face; so distinguished.

Maino:

People say . . . some people say, "Where you get that scar from?" I was like, "I woke up with it one day. This is a mark from God."

Combat Jack:

A mark from God?

Maino:

Yeah.

Combat Jack:

What happened?

Maino:

I got this in Comstock. A dude that I had cut prior, he got his revenge. He got his revenge on me. You got barber shops in prison, people don't know that. They got barber shops where they cut hair and stuff like that. I had just got to the jail and I was getting my hair cut. I knew he was there, but it was when I learned to never overestimate myself or underestimate someone else.

Combat Jack:

Because you felt like no retaliation was possible?

Maino:

I felt like we had talked and I felt like he got it.

Combat Jack:

Y'all talked afterwards?

Maino:

I felt like he got where I came from. Years later, this is years later. I felt like he understood, and where we was at. He would, this is what you would call 'rocking to sleep'. I was being rocked to sleep, because everybody

else knew [inaudible:

02:26].

Combat Jack:

Just gently?

Maino:

Yeah. It came from a sense of false security, like this nigga ain't gonna do shit.

Combat Jack:

Right. I got him.

Maino:

This nigga ain't going to do nothing. That's what happened, and this is how I end up with that.

Dallas Penn:

How did you keep from being institutionalized?

Combat Jack:

Yes, man. You spent 10 years.

Dallas Penn:

I don't know anybody who doesn't do that stretch and doesn't get used to that routine.

Combat Jack:

10 years you spent in there.

Maino:

You get used to doing a routine, but you don't allow yourself to . . . you know what I did? I made myself a promise. I don't know if I told you this before, but I made myself a promise that I would not do, I think, it was 3 things.

Combat Jack:

3 things you mentioned.

Maino:

3 things. It was 3 things I would not do, because I felt like if I did them, I was leaving my spirit in prison and I would come back. I felt like if I would involve myself with . . . become a drug addict, because dudes never used drugs all their life, go to prison, become drug addicts. That was one. If I would involve myself with snitching and shit like that, then that's 2. If I would involve myself with homo activity, that was 3. I was doing something that wasn't normally wasn't me. I was coming to jail and giving myself to things that I would . . .

Combat Jack:

Would normally never do.

Maino:

Right. You understand. I'm doing something new. That's not right, not in my eyes. To each his own, but I felt like if I did these things that I would be setting myself up to leave my spirit in prison. Nobody told me this, this is just something that I felt. It didn't matter what they did to me. They put me in a box for 2 years, whatever. It didn't matter what they did to me. You understand? I done been in everything that they could possibly do to you, like the glass cage, the bread loaf diet. I'm what they call an asshole.

Combat Jack:

What's the bread loaf diet?

Maino:

You get the bread loaf diet; the bread loaf is like a little loaf with the cabbage. I don't even want to say it's steamed, it's like . . .

Combat Jack:

It's not tasty, is it?

Maino:

No. I learned that if you close your eyes and imagine what you want to taste, you can make it taste like a fucking hamburger. You see?

Dallas Penn:

Did it have cheese on it?

Maino:

[inaudible: 04:45] Cheese.

Premium Pete:

I will say this, Maino, and; you haven't started taking credit for a lot of this; there's not enough men that go away to jail that come home and stay home. I'm one of them. You're on a different level. You did more years than me, but really, that's something that when you say 'Speaking to . . .'

Combat Jack:

How long you get? 36 months?

Premium Pete:

36 months. When you say . . .

Maino:

That's a lot of time.

Premium Pete:

Listen, an hour is a lot of time.

Maino:

Right.

Premium Pete:

Coming home and staying home is something that is so good for to see. Being in jail is not a good, cool place. You did speak . . .

Maino:

I'm writing a book about that, about that whole concept of coming home and needing outlets and stuff like that.

Combat Jack:

We need a book like that.

Maino:

Yeah. [inaudible: 05:31] Now you're talking to dudes that's either just coming home or is about to come home. You understand? I shouldn't even be giving it away because you know niggas got these stealing ideas.

Combat Jack:

Of course.

Maino:

You see where I'm at with it? It's not an autobiography, but it's something inspirational for dudes that need it.

Combat Jack:

Let me ask you something; what about you changed for the better, being 10 years behind bars?

Maino:

Patience, I learned patience. I don't think I was ordinarily a patient person. I was forced to be patient, and this is one of the things that I try to tell dudes: "Homie, if you could sit in prison and you can deal with that for this many years, then you should be able to come home and apply the same patience that you learned. Apply it to the street." Rome wasn't built in a day. Understand that everything is a walk, everything takes time. Everything is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We going to be doing this for a while. Once you understand that . . . these dudes, they do all the time, they come home, and they want to rush. That don't even make no sense. You just learned how to be patient.

Combat Jack:

When you came home, didn't you want to rush?

Maino:

I wanted to rush into the game, but I already set myself to understand that it's not going to be overnight. Once I grasped that idea already, it's not going to be overnight; of course you want it to be as fast as possible. Shit, I kept on thinking that as soon as they heard me, I was going to be on. Couldn't tell me Hov wasn't going to sign me. You got to understand that when you're in prison, you got your ideas and you got your dreams, and you fit it in your mind because the world is not moving. Your fantasies fit . . .

Combat Jack:

Everything is structured.

Maino:

Niggas be like, "I got the plan of the century."

Dallas Penn:

Right, nut you can't put it in motion until you . . .

Maino:

Right. Your plan fits you now because when you're in prison and there's nothing moving. It fits your mind the way you want it to fit. When you get out here and everything's moving; cars moving and life is moving . . .

Combat Jack:

Mother fuckers not calling you back.

Maino:

. . . and things is happening, exactly, then it offsets your plan. You got to have a plan, but then you got to leave room for things to fluctuate.

Dallas Penn:

Variations to flex.

Combat Jack:

It did happen relatively fast for you, though.

Maino:

I came home and then I was signed. Combat Jack: You came home in '03.

Maino:

Yep, and I was signed by '05; 19 months. 19 months later I was walking into my first record deal. That's fast to me.

Combat Jack:

Yeah. That's fast to a lot of cats. Trust me, a lot of cats think . . .

Just Blaze:

That's fast to anybody who didn't spend that time away. There's cats who realize that's what they want to do at 17, 18 years old, and they might not land a deal until 30; if they [inaudible: 08:12].

Combat Jack:

Exactly.

Maino:

Even if they get it. See what you just said? You just said, 'maybe if, maybe not.' It's a lot of time when I speak to the homies, they leave no room for the plan to vary. It's easy to say, "Yo, I'm doing this with no plan B." Understand that . . . Okay, cool. Understand that things may . . . you got to weave and dodge because life is coming at you. Shit happens.

Combat Jack:

What was plan B?

Maino:

No, there was no Plan B. It was no Plan B, but I understood that I'm just going to stick with this and I'm going to give it. I felt like this; I swear to God, this is how I felt: If it don't work, fuck it. I tried, I can fall back on the street anyway. This is what I'm comfortable, this is what it is. I wasn't nothing anyway. It's sad to say. I wasn't . . . I win, I've already won. I wasn't anything anyway. I'm a 2-time felon. What am I? I've been in institutionalized, I've never rapped a day in my life until I went to jail, so if it didn't work, I was like, "Whatever. It didn't work." I never said I was a rapper anyway.


In the first part of our three part interview with Maino on The Combat Jack Show, Maino detailed the story behind the scar on his right cheek, which came following an altercation with a prison inmate.

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