Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
Maino: Please Don’t Take This The Wrong Way!
By Khalil Amani
I can admit my fears. I’m bat-shit afraid of Maino—(him and Detroit’s Trick Trick!) I’ve seen enough footage of Maino putting the “Hand of Gawd” on folks and stepping to a bigger nigga and asking “said” fool, “You know about me, right?” Maino is one of the few rappers who means what he says and says what he means. Maino is one of the few rappers I really wanna meet because I think he’s “Tupac-esque” in real life. And! I need to keep my New York ghetto-pass, so I’m gonna walk on eggshells and double-check my sentences with respect to Maino and his Black Flag Mafia, ‘cause I do beez up in deez clubs (unlike a lot of bloggers who are merely Internet Gangsters).
So Maino! If you’re reading this—KNOW that I’m writing in the fear & dread of the “Hand of Gawd”—which you and only you possess when it comes to checkin’ a mofo. My fingers upon my keyboard tread lightly. Aiight?
Taking a page out of the Kendrick Lamar playbook, Trinidad James came to New York recently and went on a calm rant about the state of New York hip-hop. He claims that the Souf (Atlanta, in particular) runs New York. Again, with respect to tha god Maino, he’s right! But it’s how he said it that has drawn the ire of Maino and others.
You can’t come into another man’s house (city) and air him out and then leave with “It’s whatever!” (Paraphrasing James) Trinidad set the tone with that back-handed “Ain’t nobody scurrrred of you!” remark. So yeah, Maino and many in The Big Apple are feeling "some type of way” now! Can ya blame them?
Does Trinidad James know about Maino’s street cred and Hand of God? Or is Trinidad James a real street dude too who gives no fucks? That aside, let’s get to the crux of this whole whose running whom argument.
Let’s face one harsh hip-hop reality (for a lot of folks)! The South is runnin’ the rap game and has been for the last few years! (And that’s just not New York!) One of the main reasons that the South has the rap-game on lock is because there is UNITY! Sure, the South has had its share of beefs, but it’s light stuff compared to the beef up North, which I believe lead to the demise of the Goliath of hip-hop—New York.
What people should first understand is that no region will reign supreme forever! This goes beyond rap music. Life is forever changing! Life is cyclic! Life is dynamic! Life moves, evolves and morphs, so it’s silly to think because New York birthed hip-hop that it should always be where the greatest art comes from. That’s just ig-nant, but there are a few events that precipitated the downfall of the New York hip-hop dynasty.
Like the Book of Revelations—that beast who had a deadly wound, yet was healed—New York hip-hop has a deadly wound; not dead, but looking lifeless. Who inflicted that wound?
By all accounts that first wound can be traced back to Tupac, Snoop & dem. Tupac’s “Hit em Up” and Tha Dogg Pound & Snoop’s “New York, New York” was the first time anybody seriously challenged the supremacy of New York hip-hop. It didn’t destroy New York Hip-hop, but it did put one of those Maino scars across NY hip-hop’s face. (It is okay that I reference you Maino? Fingers shaking on keyboard.)
Tupac and Tha Dogg Pound put the strong pimp-hand down on New York with their disses! They exposed New York as the “Suge Knight” (bully) of rap and set into motion the thought that rappers in the South and other areas could actually have a voice independent of what their Northern counterparts were rapping. But that was just the first wound.
The next wound was self-inflicted by a New Yorker named Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent, who, when his popularity was at an all-time high—instead of rallying the troops, bringing other New York rappers into his cipher by doing features and what not---crushed the New York rap scene with his bare hands—starting with Ja Rule. He forced New York rappers to choose sides and pick allegiances!
Northern rappers were all over the beef place! 5o Cent vs. Ja Rule, The Game, Cam’ron, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Jr. Mafia vs. Dipset, Jay-Z vs. Nas, Jim Jones, Uncle Murder vs. Papoose and Big Truck, Fat Joe vs. Papoose, Maino vs. Lil Cease, Nycks (Oh you mad ‘cause I’m Stylin’ On You!) vs. E-N-J, etc., etc. etc. These Northern rappers were your classic “crabs-in-a-barrel.” Instead of bringing that Northern lyricism and hit-making sound that the world has come to know as rap music, they were stuck in internecine struggle (in-fighting!). Meanwhile, the South was strategizing and getting to the money!
Yes! These two deadly wounds lead to the demise of New York hip-hop. Couple that with the fact that hip-hop/rap was leaving the nest anyway—this was bound to happen.
Maino has every right to be peeved though… even when, at the same time, Trinidad James spoke the truth. No one can hear you when you’re being condescending Mr. James. It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it. Own up to that and make it right with Maino and New York ‘cause I ain’t tryna see “Rommey Rom vs. The Hand of God.” And Maino. I’m-a need you to reel it back in a notch and keep it hip-hop. (In my bitch-ass voice, “Please?” But whatever you do, don’t take this the wrong way!)
Alas! Don't count New York hip-hop out! Like the beast of Revelation, which was wounded, but did live, so shall New York! Wounded unto death, but like the phoenix which rises from the ashes of Hades--New York hip-hop will see better days! Can you say "Troy Ave?"
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com