Playwright Patrick Blake and Lyricist Chi-Ill
Jermaine “Maino” Coleman
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. “When we actually start living these dreams out, you have different kinds of issues. It’s pressure from everywhere: your family, loved ones, relationships. Just the pressure to maintain.”
Maino (né Jermaine Coleman) hasn’t always been so comfortable resisting duress. Born into the slums of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the oldest of two boys was literally parented by the vicious Crack Era. His father, an electrician, became addicted to the epidemic drug while mom waged her own battles between working odd jobs. Hip-Hop was always there, though, to soundtrack the troubles, triumphs, frustrations and growing pains. Yet it wasn’t until the increasingly rebellious Maino found himself crouching in the darkness of prison’s solitary confinement that he began rhyming his own words. “You’d be in the box for 23 hours a day; it was under these conditions that I started rapping,” says the father of one, who remembers gravitating towards Run DMC, LL Cool J, N.W.A. and Rakim as a kid. “I would come up with songs and concepts and think about it, like, I should go home and try this shit.”
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 it’s 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.”
With his new rap group The Mafia, performing well above the norm, Maino is looking beyond the Big Apple. “I’m not making music for just New York. I’ve done that. That’s why we’re in the box we’re in now,” Maino says. “I have a lot more growth, a lot more to say. I’m more versatile than these people really understand. I just want to take it to the next level.”
A native New Yorker, Felicia Gorham has been performing for most of her life. Starting Martial Arts at the tender age of seven, Felicia, within a year began competing at a regional level. After the disappointment of not placing in her first tournament she had promised herself to never “lose”‘ another. At such a young age , with hard work, determination , and under the careful guidance of her instructor she never did. Felicia went on to win many local,regional, & national titles. Finally in 2001 all the endless hours of training had paid off and at the age of 13 Felicia had become a three time World Martial Arts Champion , as well as receiving the honor of being the first and youngest to ever be inducted into the International Kung-Fu Federation Hall of Fame.
After 12 plus years in martial arts Felicia felt it was time to chase yet another dream of hers,music. Growing up with likes of Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross, and many other of the ‘Ol school Rythem and Blues legends this is where she drew her inspiration.Yet expressed herself much differently , through hip -hop. Clenching on to all of the moral qualities and characteristics she had received growing up and reinforced through her martial arts training Felicia had become part of the pop/hiphop/r&b group Mrz.Smith. In 2008 the group was quickly signed to Universal/Motown through well respected music exec Sylvia Rhone. Even though the group did not have a major release Felicia was grateful to have worked with various Grammy award winning songwriters and producers such as Rodney “DarkChild” Jerkins, Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs, & Tricky Stewart. Who have worked with the likes of the late great Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson , & Beyonce. Felicia was also fortunate to work with Rolling Stones Saxaphonist Tim Ries and feature on his project with many talented world artist along with Grammy Award Winner Lisa Fischer .
“Being an artist is not just what I do but its who I am and acting is definitely a passion of mine. Its been something I’ve always wanted to do.” Like most things she touches turns to gold, however no matter how many accolades she receives Felicia basks in the fact of being a student of life. Felicia is far from a one trick pony but a Entertainer.Though she has not had any prior or extensive training in the acting field she is adamant about building her knowledge and fine tuning her craft. While doing so Felicia also is looking forward to making her transition into the world of acting given the opportunity.