By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
In fifth grade, Mayalino was tired of seeing other kids have what he didn't. At 11, he stole a car to teach himself how to drive. At 12, he was tired of stealing cars to get money.
"I wanted to move up," he says.
At 18, he was selling crack out of his grandmother's house, and at 21, a member of the JBlock Street Gang, soon becoming its leader after his predecessor went to prison for murder. At 22, he was indicted on three federal counts of conspiracy, after being caught in a vehicle in his name with two bricks and a gun.
He had a chance to roll over on his codefendant because he wasn't driving the vehicle, and get off scot-free in the face of a possible 45-year prison sentence, but he chose to follow the G-code: Never snitch, never roll over on your homeboy.
"It feels good not to snitch," he says. "Snitching is worse than murdering somebody."
After writing a letter to the judge confessing to everything, he lucked out and got only three years. He emerged from Federal Detention Center a member of the Tango Blast Houstone prison gang, a feared group who live inside and outside Texas prison walls and have taken informal ownership of the Houston Astros' star logo.
You can often find it inked on the necks of the gang's members. You can find it on Mayalino's.
Mayalino's latest project, Fuck These WetWacks, echoes his story and his disdain for fake rappers through a unique, intelligent and original form of metaphor usage throughout his lyrics. He uses this style of rap to toy with the consciences of hip-hop artists who know they are rapping about a life they don't lead, and to offend their sensibilities.
His beats and production are of the highest order, provided by some of the nation's top emerging producers. His music doesn't feel anything like his past, grimy or gutter. It doesn't have a Southern accent either. It could be from anywhere.
Mayalino's body of work is surprisingly sophisticated, bringing a smoothness to the rough edges of the life he's followed. His whispery delivery and conversational flow, spread over high-quality and unique beat production, dilute the in-your-face aspect of his message.
Instead, he replaces it with easygoing mockery blanketed with a certain cool. But it doesn't lose the gangster persona he's trying to portray and promote.
"I do want to challenge everybody in the game," he says. "I attack the younger generation, the motherfuckers rapping in my class. When I was selling dope on the block, if your clients came to me, they are going to stay with me. I'm going to hustle them a better product that is uncut and pure.
"When you are a Houston artist, you have to make a powerful statement every time," he adds. "We're rapping about the streets, so you should expect that, right?"
What? Hustling better music that is uncut and pure? Houston certainly hopes so, because although his life may have been illegal, as far as hip-hop is concerned, Mayalino is following the rules.