Maino has been going in for a while now; but why? All external evidence suggests that this ex-con (he served a ten-year stint for kidnapping and was released in ’03) lacks the charisma, flair and technical ability to make it big. His debut album, If Tomorrow Comes…, did pull some good reviews and managed to hit #25 on the Billboard 200. His 2012 followup, The Day After Tomorrow, did not chart as well and none of the singles had staying power. He has not released an album since then.
So perhaps Maino isn’t interested in fame and glory. Perhaps he’s plying his trade as a therapeutic outlet; he did, after all, pick up rapping while incarcerated. Maybe hip-hop, as a form of artistic expression, is the best vehicle for him to convey his feelings. He might even have ambitions of being a producer or record executive, but must content himself with rapping. Yeah, sure, but probably not.
K.O.B. Business is Maino’s second mixtape of 2016, following the Yellow Tape collaboration with Uncle Murder. The contents are mostly freestyles and G-mixes, many over familiar beats like “New Level.” There’s a Funkmaster Flex freestyle, and a Kay Slay appearance that also features Stack Bundles, Joe Budden and Paul Cain. Rather than being a mixtape of new music, this is more of an anthology, but unlike the hot bars on Big K.R.I.T.’s #12For12, the highlights here are few and far between.
For me, the standout track is “Dios,” which also features contributions from Uncle Murda over the beat to “I Got The Keys.” The verses are enjoyable, the hook is well-executed and even the use of auto-tune is artistic and appropriate. Dedicated Maino fans might find more to like here, but I failed to be blown away by it. Download K.O.B. Business here.