If Tomorrow Comes...

If Tomorrow Comes...

Maino has the kind of story the rap world loves. After being sentenced to five years in jail on a kidnapping charge, he accrued an additional five years from crimes committed while incarcerated. Over the course of the ten years he spent in prison he started writing rhymes, and when he was released in 2003 he set about launching his rap career. If Tomorrow Comes… is the end product of that story, told over the album’s five “scene” interludes. Maino raps like a man who has earned the right, and who understands that all of it could disappear in an instant. His passion and anger ignite “Back to Life,” “Runaway Slave” and “Soldier.” All rappers talk about the pain and regret they carry on a daily basis, but few express it as vividly as “Floating,” which details a gunfight on Gates Ave. in Brooklyn which left Maino’s friend paralyzed. Most of the tracks are straightforward, well suited to the rapper’s raspy, impassioned voice, but there are a few brilliant curveballs. Finally, the hit New York single “Hi Hater” resurrects the beat from Jimmy Spicer’s 1983 rap hit “Money (Dollar Bill Y’all),” a brilliant choice that underscores Maino’s old-school credentials.

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