Nino Brown on Jesus Christ: "He Got a Little Gangsta in Him"
Before Cash Money Records, there were the Cash Money Brothers, a group of fictional New York City drug dealers whose criminal ascension during the '80s crack epidemic was masterminded by their leader, Nino Brown.
The New Jack City character, played by Wesley Snipes, has become an iconic rags-to-riches story in hip-hop culture, much like that of Al Pacino's Tony Montana.
More than 20 years later and over 1,000 miles from New York, DJ Khaled's We the Best have found their own Nino Brown.
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Formerly know as Rich Kidd, Nino's notoriety has continued to climb with his We Don't See Em mixtape series and his most recent, New Jack City 2.
Last week, Nino took some time out after a Miami Heat game to talk to Crossfade about being signed to We the Best, knowledge and wisdom, the character Nino Brown, and gym sessions.
Crossfade: What's the greatest benefit to being signed to DJ Khaled's We The Best?
Nino Brown: The greatest benefit to being signed to We The Best and Khaled is all the hard work and dedication you put into what you're doing and let you know you're being recognized by one of the greatest DJs that ever lived in our time. Not just that, look at his track record, you know what I mean? That just speaks for itself. It's a great feeling. It's an acknowledgment, saying that you doing what you're supposed to be doing out here, and it's time that you join a team that's winning.
What separates you from Ace Hood, Vado, and Mavado?
I think my versatility separates me from them. They got they own lane, I got mine. But I'm the type of artist can do a lot of things. I could sing, I could rap, I could do a lot of things. They do they own thing. Ace has his style. Vado has his style, which is more New York-ish. Mavado is more reggae-ish. But me, I wouldn't say I'm bigger, I would say that I represent the streets and the hood, and I could talk to them commercially, I could talk to the ladies. I could give them what they want, and give them that passion that the game missin'.
I just have a certain type of passion and delivery that these guys don't carry or possess, and it's hard to come by because it takes years of dedication and grind to get that. And not just grind, seeing things, knowledge, wisdom.
How have you been able to acquire knowledge and wisdom?
I mean, from bumping my head. A crash dummy ain't got no brain, but you learn from being a crash dummy. I was the biggest crash dummy. I was the dude who liked to flop because even when I fell I still win, and that's learning from a situation. And I could just overcome anything, because you're only good as your last challenge, and I always challenged myself. Like LeBron say, "Strive for greatness." I came from the Rolexx. I came from selling CDs and DVDs, in 30-below weather to rainy nights to hot to when no money. I had to borrow $25, $700 some nights. And that gave me wisdom from seeing dudes get killed and seeing people shooting people and getting shot and able to live and see another day. And for me to make it from that to where I'm at is just a blessing. That's what gave me wisdom.
What was your greatest lesson?
The situation I overcame with an associate of mine that I was helping out. I care not to list the name or nothing like that, we ain't going to give them no free promo. But when I went through that, it kind of enlightened me that it's just so much of all my friends turning on me. Well, they weren't friends if they turned. And everybody turned they back on me, they counted me out. They thought, "Oh, OK. This situation happened. It's going to bother you. It's going to hinder you." And it actually helped me see, because, like they say: once you blind, now you see.
I was blind to the fact that I had a lot of fake friends, and they were what you call wolves in sheep's clothing around me. And when that situation occurred that happened to me, they unraveled. They got revealed. I was naked. I felt naked, like when Adam ate the apple. I always refer to my life story in Biblical terms because I'm one of the greatest hustlers that ever did it in Miami, Florida. So I feel like I live a Biblical life, so I could speak on every term of the Bible and incorporate it in my life.
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