Gangstas Don't Die, They Write Books: Maino's Little Bro Chats New Book, Becoming An Author

For Brooklyn natives Maino and Mouse, hustling hard is all they know. Hip-hop heads are familiar with Maino’s music but younger brother Mouse is working on his grind in the literary world. Mouse, who is also a rapper, decided that he wanted to make a living by applying his hip-hop and street acumen to books. While in prison, he wrote and studied the publishing business so that he could set up a new career upon his release.

Mouse wrote fervently, which resulted in the creation of Gangsta’s Don’t Die, the first book from his company, Hustle Hard Publishing. VIBE caught up with the young entrepreneur to talk about his fledgling company and why hip-hop and books mix. —Starrene Rhett

What was your inspiration for starting Hustle Hard Publishing and how was the journey to getting it off the ground?

The real reason I started it is because after I wrote the book, it was like what do I do from here? I was locked up when I originally wrote it and I had already studied how the market was, how the game was. I didn’t feel like giving my book up for a price was feasible for me. I felt like if I just sold my book to one of the publishing companies and put it out then it wouldn’t have the life span that I knew it could have, so I figured let me create my own situation that could work for me. It’s been a long journey. This is a whole different avenue for me. With this avenue, your follow up game has to be strong. You set up meetings with these bookstores and wait for them to call back and they don’t call back so you gotta go and search them out it’s a real grind.

You’re also rapper as well so why didn’t you go the same route as your brother?

Either way, rapping or writing a book–that’s my thoughts coming out so it didn’t really matter. It’s like my brother’s a rapper and in the hip-hop game it’s a little harder to come behind a sibling so I went through another lane that was open for me that no one was doing. I still do my rapping though. You’re gonna hear my thoughts whether it be a book or my beats, it’s just me expressing myself out here so I’m gonna be doing both.

How has becoming an author instead of a rapper impacted your life?

Being an author is some good shit to be out here! [Laughs] I say I write books and I get a whole different look as opposed to saying I rap. That’s a whole different look and it opened up a whole lot of doors for me. I’m going today to meet with someone who writes plays on Broadway. They want me to help them out. It opened up a lot of doors. A lot of people want me to f--k with them on some different shit. I’m about to start writing screenplays once I see the format.

What’s the book about?

I can’t give too much away. If you look at the back of the book, I don’t even have a synopsis on there. I leave you clueless because with the book name itself, Gangsta’s Don’t Die, you gotta figure out why I’m saying that. Yeah gangstas die but the terminology, the persona never dies. It’s always gonna be some type of gangstas out here but the book is based on relationships. It’s a relationship about a mother and a son, a relationship among friends and a relationship between a man and a woman. It takes place in an urban setting so you get to see everything else that’s going on but it’s just a book about relationships and how these relationships get tested. It’s a real deep book. It’s almost like a cautionary tale without me saying it.

The title actually sounds like a movie.

That’s the next step, that’s what I’m doing right now. I shot a two-minute movie trailer for the book. Everybody thought it was a movie when they seen the trailer. Not too many people are doing commercials for their books. We kinda set up. I got some sales. I’m making a little bit of money off this. I just feel like this whole process is promotions. We’re not even gonna kick into the next gear until after the summer. I got NY locked down but I gotta get into these other states. Barnes and Noble is not really the bookstore that caters to us. they’ll put us on their website but it’s a hard time getting us into their stores.

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The 55-year-old music mogul will remain under 24-hour care for the next few weeks as medical professionals continue to monitor his progress. Doctors are still unclear on what caused the aneurysm.

Dre’s hospital release comes days after new details were revealed in his divorce from estranged wife, Nicole Young. According to court documents publicized this week, Nicole accuses Dre, birth name Andre Young, of putting a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. She also details other alleged abuse incidents in 1995 (before they were married) and in 2016, when he allegedly punched her in the face and kicked down her door.

The Grammy winner has denied Nicole’s abuse claims.

Nicole and Dre tied the knot in 1996. The pair share two adult children, Truice and Truly. Nicole filed for divorce last summer.

In addition to demanding that Dre cover her legal fees, Nicole wants the court to take the abuse allegations into account when “awarding support and fees.” Dre has already agreed to pay $500,000 of Nicole’s legal bills and $2 million in temporary spousal support.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

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Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Wendy Williams Reveals She Was Date Raped By ‘80s R&B Singer

Wendy Williams revealed that she was date raped by  ‘80s R&B singer, Sherrick, early in her radio career. The talk show host shared the story with reporters while promoting her Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams: The Movie on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

“He mesmerized me with his twinkling eyes,” she recalled. “He flipped the interview around to where he was interviewing me — I was just gaga over this man and he asked me to go to an album release party with him that night.

“Before the party, I was date raped by him,” said Williams.

Sherrick, born Lamotte Smith, was a member of the group Kagny, whose song is featured on The Last Dragon soundtrack. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1987 and scored a marginal hit with the single “Just Call” off his debut self-titled album. Sherrick struggled with sobriety but declared himself “drug-free” before dying of unknown causes in 1999.

Williams says that she was raped in Sherrick’s Washington D.C. hotel room and it, unfortunately, wasn’t her first time being sexually assaulted. The New Jersey native had been date raped in college. “Those types of things happen to girls all the time and they’ve been happening a lot, to a lot of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their great-great-grandmothers too.”

From the sounds of it, Sherrick's widow doesn't exactly believe Williams' story. She not only questioned Williams' account but wondered why she waited so long to go public, and why she didn't call police at the time of the incident.

“As I will never minimize or dismiss the horrid actions of sexual assault, I am saddened that Ms. Williams feels the need to publicly make these allegations when the man she is accusing is no longer on this earth to defend himself,” Lynne Conner Smith said in a statement to Page Six.  “Our family does not know Ms. Williams and are not aware of any relationship or encounter they may have had.”

The sexual assault will be chronicled in the film, as well as other details from Williams' life -- like her rise to talk show fame, her battle with drug addiction, and marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Lifetime on Jan. 30.

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