As common and cleshe' an excuse as being a scarface fanatic can be, it's actually an acronym. It's meaning is my mantra for life: Pay Attention Competition Is No One.
When did you first take an interest in rap?
After I saw the first kris kross video "Jump". I wore my clothes backwards like them, pointed my fingers out like guns like them...yeah I was a stan. I didn't grow my hair out, moms made up the excuse that she couldn't braid [laughs] but everything else, I had down packed. I also had a older cousin Nate "The Great" who went by the rap name "Rated G", and he was known for rapping at the time. So I would freestyle by my aunt's crib where I would stay on the weekends, and write little raps until he noticed. I mighta gotten the nod when I was maybe..14. Persistent as fuck I know...[laughs]
Catch the rest of the interview after the jump
You've coined yourself the "Best Rapper Not Signed", why do you feel that you are?
Because i'm NICE [laughs] But on a serious note this is my craft. When you love something as such, you hone your skills at it until and even after you feel like you've exceeded your own expectations and you feel as though you're the best. I'm sure you feel like you're the best blogger, or at least going to be the best blogger, come on I've known you how long? [laughs] I haven't mastered music, because when that time comes, then i'll get bored and want a new challenge. So as much as an cocky answer that I can give you, I just let the music talk to you. And besides, that's just a provocative statement..it's attention grabbing. Great marketing in a sense.
You first album "I Am HIM" seemed extremely personal vs Beyond Compare, what was the difference in your train of thought when creating the two projects?
You forgot "One Of None", that was kinda personal as well. I had some reputable shit on there [laughs]. But with "I AM HIM", We're talking '05, '06. It was everything I was going through at the time, that's my niche. You're not gonna hear about me rockin' 10 chains and sittin' on 30's. I'm in college, and my financial aid checks are not THAT amusing [laughs] But when making albums, you have to make music that sticks. That resonates with the people. We can throw on "Changing Faces", "Hourglass", "Bachelor Card", "Champion" ect. and people will hopefully continue to vibe with them years from now, because those aren't raps, those are facts. But with "Beyond Compare", I just wanted to show me in a different realm. Let me talk my shit. I've never put out an official mixtape, let alone a webtape. At first I wanted someone to host it, but then I decided against it. I had to flex my nice on a lyrical level. This puts the stamp on that lane that Cino can GO bar for bar with anyone. Make sure you put that sarcastic smirk in there. [laughs]
Life happens. I've lived. I like to read, I like to observe how famous people in the industry lead their lives in the public eye in a sense. Swizz Beatz once said something along the lines of, involving himself into other things to keep his mind fresh so when he comes back to the music, he's inspired. Same here. I'm still in my 20's but i've lived. I went back to school, did philantrophy work, community service, been through the normal stresses any young adult can go through sans having children [laughs] and all that goes in the music. I'm still visible even when i'm not putting out projects. Just in different realms and it's good. Of course, my heart is in the music but you have to live in order to make great music. Otherwise, your projects become stale and coasters. That's never good.
You have taken some away from rap prior to Beyond Compare, what made you get back in the studio?
Zave. It's all Zave's fault. Whoever is reading this can blame @zave_iam [follow him] for Beyond Compare: SYU. Of course, i'd do records here and there, but it came to a point after 'One Of None', I had no intentions on putting out anything else. In the back of my mind it was bullshit, but I really tried to believe that [laughs] He told me "Give me a mixtape, you've never done a mixtape, and if you feel the same way, cool." Everything to me revolves around titling...and I had knew if I did this, i'd want to make it a trilogy. So "SYU" [meaning Soon You'll Understand] is the first installment of WHY i'm Beyond Compare. Something free for the people to appreciate and vibe to, I had to take it back to the days where i'd be on the city bus rapping and noddin' my head like I was tryna crack some cartilage. We're missing that out here.
Did you worry about how your fans would perceive you after your absence?
No, not really. The advantage that I have is that i'm around avid music listeners and the college demographic daily so I stay up to speed on what's hot. Not to say I have to change my style with the times, but I adapt, if that makes sense. Stay ahead of the learning curve. I keep up with every project that comes out, i'm a music head. Like i'm not one of those artists that stays confined to his team and doesn't listen to anything else. If we're talking locally UMG, Lah-Kid, Cranberry Show, Pizzle, along with some others, I wasn't worried. I'm tryna do "Incomparable" on Flye Gang/ UMG.AXTRA Holler at the KID.
Some people may or may not know, but i've been in school since '07. I graduate in December. [shameless plug] so with the two projects I did with Ton Of Soul [killer genuine draft and BMOTP] to "One Of None", I never really had time OFF to just be a spectator. That was the biggest challenge. Being a spectator and the adjustment of just being Mario. I'm not Pacino 24/7. Most rappers don't get that. I balance my personal life with music pretty amicably. I walk that tightrope kinda nice. But getting my feet BACK into music, once I brushed the dust off, it was like I never took that year off .
What is the meaning behind "SYU: Soon You'll Understand"?
This is only my third solo project. Period. and it's a webtape. I feel like I haven't reached my peak yet. My zenith in a sense. A lot of MKE artists, we gonna be 100, we're slept on because EVERYONE does it. Every nigga with a fitted cap think he's the nicest since '96. So beyond the guys at wal-mart with the CD's in minivan's, to industry, there's Pacino. I keep the chip on my shoulder like I never sold a record, never sold out a show. I know the feeling of going to radio stations and getting turned away. I know the feeling of reaching out to artists for a record and gettin shitted on. I know the feeling of being slept on..heavy. So "Soon You'll Understand" is the ode for that. It's motivation. It's deep. I could provide you with the selling points but i'll just say 8:30:11
What is your favorite track on the project, and why?
I'm not picking any singles. That's too biased [laughs] The jewel on there for me is the track "Broken Mirrors". That's Mario right there..."I try to come to terms with the bridges I done burned, lesson learned, it's my turn, do you hear me..." That's one of those records where you cruise up i-94 with the window cracked and zone out.
You have yet to shoot a video for any of your tracks, in an age where digital/visual media is almost second nature, why havent you created a video?
I'm picky with visuals, and i'm gonna be honest Tammy, you know the "business" is shady. But ill let that breathe. I do have 2 videos I plan to shoot for this tape which are "Don't Catch Feelings" which was produced by Kurt Kobane and "Want It All" with RayNitti produced by SmashBoiz. Watch me close though, i'm gonna throw y'all for a loop.
To a degree, I have been. That's not being cocky, numbers don't lie. "One Of None" did damage with zero video. Just off promotion and skill and at that time, I didn't have a promo team. I just had good timing to when to put out music, and bad news travels fast we know that. Do I feel like, i'd be more successful with visuals? Of course, by no means am I knocking that, that's why I have a few on the way. I appreciate y'all patience.
Whats next for Pacino musically?
Beyond Compare 2, will be out shortly. I just need to find some breathing room to knock that out. But I know it's time to hit the public with the 1, 2 so it'll be out before christmas. Promise. Making great music with other artists, continuing to build the Pacino brand. Helping promo everything within the FLYE Gang umbrella. BlackDiamonds are Forever.
Dont forget to follow him on twitter @Pacin06