Check out this interview Mack Maine did with XXL Magazine. He talks about his mixtapes, the business side of the industry, Lil Wayne, and much more!
XXLMag.com: You just dropped The Laxative mixtape; what prompted that release?
Mack Maine: Yeah, it was just some old shit, though. Thatâ€™s why I called it The Laxative, man, thatâ€™s songs from like â€™07, â€™08. We clearing that out before I start the new shit. A lot of them songs are old. I got like over 200 songs sittinâ€™ in my computer and like 100 sittinâ€™ in this iPod. I was listening to some of that shit and itâ€™s not old to new ears, so I was like let me put some of that out. And theyâ€™re loving it and I didnâ€™t explain the concept yet, so I think they think itâ€™s up to date or something.
Also if you really listen to it there are a lot of imperfections on the tape and I love it like that because itâ€™s raw. It donâ€™t have ad-libs on a lot of songs. A lot of people donâ€™t know, that whole mixtape, I actually freestyled it. I know how to come up with a verse without writing and thinking my verse in my head. But what I mean by freestyle, I actually went into the booth and didnâ€™t know what I was gonna say. And it was one-take; I donâ€™t really punch in at all. I did a tape called Freestyle 101 a long time ago. I was a battle cat when I was youngerâ€¦ Thereâ€™s not a lot of time for me to record all the time. I go to the studio 12 at night and I might have a conference call at eight or nine in the morning. So Iâ€™m leaving the studio at like six in the morning.
You started out as a rapper clearly, but youâ€™ve grown so much more on the business side. How hard is it to balance that out?
Itâ€™s a challenge, but itâ€™s kinda natural for me. I might go in the studio and in the same night Iâ€™m playing exec and artist, because I actually sit back and listen to some beats. The other day Lilâ€™ Chuckee text me like, â€œI need some beats.â€ So I had to go and check my email and see what beats might fit him, then I might hear a beat that fits me and go in and do a song right quick. And then Iâ€™m back out listening to beats again like, â€œThis might go for this person.â€ So even when Iâ€™m in artist mode, Iâ€™m still in exec mode.
So as Young Moneyâ€™s President, what is your day-to-day like? Can you break it down?
Iâ€™m just gonna give you an example of today. I talked to Pharrell, tryna to negotiate for Tygaâ€™s album. He has four tracks on Tygaâ€™s album, so I have to make sure he gets paid for that. Tyga sent me his track listing today, so Iâ€™m sitting back trying to figure out in my head an estimated number like, â€œIs he gonna be over budget,â€ basically. He has four tracks from Pharrell, one from Banner, a few features, so Iâ€™m calculating numbers in my head to see where heâ€™s at with that. Also, Iâ€™m on the phone tryna to schedule the events for Wayneâ€™s coming home party in Miami. We werenâ€™t gonna do one in Vegas, because we had a promoter guy and at the last minute he dropped the ball on it. Now a new offer came in for Vegas, so Iâ€™m trying to see what weâ€™re gonna do with that. Iâ€™ve been on conference call with Baby all day, texting back and forth, emailing trying to get that together. I wake up expecting the unexpected. I never know what tomorrow will consist of in total. I know I have a few things I have to handle, but I can get a call at any moment about anything. Iâ€™m also trying to finalize the Young Money debit cards.
Yeah, YM debit cars, thatâ€™s pretty crazy.
I dropped the video, â€œAll In One Swipe.â€ Honestly the cards stand out more than me in the video. I wanted it like that. Iâ€™m trying to promote heavy with that. When they finish watching that video I donâ€™t want them to be like, â€œOh, Mack Maine was cute.â€ I want them to be like, â€œI need one of those cards.â€ Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m worried about; money over fame, fortune over fame.
Thatâ€™s a real hustlerâ€™s ambition, when did you start developing that?
Itâ€™s something youâ€™re kinda born with. Also you grew up around it and also a lot of the great hustlers in music business were actually hustlers before they hustled music. No matter if it was illegal stuff, or legal stuff; whatever you did, you always had that ambition and drive before music. Especially when you come from almost nothing. When you look at the Jay-Zâ€™s, the Babyâ€™s, the Master Pâ€™sâ€”people who were born with nothing, you want to make sure you never go back to that feeling of being broke.
Speaking of Birdman, whatâ€™s up with the White Boyz mixtape?
Itâ€™s coming in a few days, Halloweenâ€¦ No delays. We got a few songs on there where weâ€™re talkinâ€™ about free Weezy. Heâ€™ll be home November 4th, so you have to make sure all that shit get out to make sure itâ€™s relevant and up to date. You canâ€™t be hollering that after November 4th, you might as well can that song or change the verse.
Whatâ€™s the plan for the day Wayneâ€™s released? Are you gonna bring the tour bus to Rikers?
No, no tour bus. Itâ€™s like picking up a king. We gonna make sure everything is straight; jets and luxury cars, red carpet and probably beautiful women and just make sure that heâ€™s [treated like] straight royalty. We ainâ€™t gonna have the whole family up. The bosses are gonna be there and the immediate family. We gonna do it how we do it from there. Straight from there weâ€™ll probably shoot to Miami, or we might go straight to Arizona. He has court on the 5th. Weâ€™ll go to court and then weâ€™ll probably be shooting to the next city on the 7th, which is that Sunday.
Whatâ€™s been the hardest part with Wayne in jail? We know it hasnâ€™t been easy, but with Drake and Nicki and the I Am Not A Human Being album, YM/CM has been doing pretty damn good.
As far as myself, thatâ€™s my little brother. Everybody knows our bond. As long as we been together, we rock how we rock. The day-to-day basis you lose your best friend and your little brother, thatâ€™s hard for me on a personal level. As far as the business side, itâ€™s not like he died and I talk to him like four times a day. So it was the same if I need to ask for advice on somebodyâ€™s project or if I had to let him know what was going on. I also made sure I saw him at least once or twice a month. As far as some of the artists, I used to get texts in the middle of the night like, â€œMack, I miss him.â€ Or somebody would need advice, or help on a verse. As far as the business side we pretty much kept everything intact, me, Tez, Slim and Baby. And Wayne, too, I asked him for different advice. We didnâ€™t really miss anything on that side, but personally his presence, him being in the studio, him coming up with a hook for somebody or being a mentor to the artists. He couldnâ€™t talk to them on the phone all the time. I tried to call them on three-way if they needed to speak to him. Heâ€™s great with advice. Who else is better to give advice than someone who has been in the game for 17 years?
You are very close to Wayne, do you ever feel like people come at you just to get to him? When do you know that people are genuinely interested in Mack Maine? How do you handle that?
Being that close, itâ€™s kinda like a gift and a curse to be honest. A lot of people out here would like to be in my shoes. There are quote-unquote benefits. But I never asked for anything, I never in my life have asked for anything. Iâ€™ve earned everything I get. The curse is kinda like, you have to decipher whoâ€™s who and whatâ€™s what. A lot of people come at you for the wrong reasons; just to get close. You also have a lot of haters like, â€œOh, you wouldnâ€™t be shit.â€ Things that Iâ€™ve learned and earned in my life are things that Iâ€™ve learned and earned. And Iâ€™m actually beneficial. And thatâ€™s my little bro, so there are a lot of things that heâ€™s learned from me too. There are a lot of things that we learned from each other. Sometimes you are only as good as your surrounding cast. Obviously Wayne canâ€™t go sit in every meeting and he canâ€™t go do a lot of things that I can go do because of who he is. Iâ€™m able to go talk to CW and different T.V. channels or negotiate this and handle my business for him and all of Young Money. Also I learned a lot from Baby growing up too, I didnâ€™t just start coming around. As Wayne grew in rap, I grew in the business. I knew that I could help lead this shit. â€”Rob Markman