Maino's "Million Bucks" is a gem of a mainstream hip-hop tune that does just about everything: It's gritty enough to appeal to fans of edgy hip-hop; it's melodic enough and its rhymes are positive enough to make it not too harsh for more conservative listeners; and its sunny, laid-back beats are bouncy enough to likely appeal to most of those in between. This means the song not only can appeal to a wide spectrum of guests, but can also be used at many kinds of events, and during many parts of events.
A Brooklyn rapper who last year released his debut record If Tomorrow Comes…, Maino collaborated with hip-hop producer wunderkind and fellow rapper Swizz Beatz on "Million Bucks," one of the album's singles. Often Swizz's sound – he created the well-known anthemic siren-and-synth beats in DMX's classic hit "Party Up (Up in Here)" – is all about bigness and exuberance, and "Million Bucks" is no different, as Swizz gives the tune a feel-good foundation, with subtle background whooping and cheering under the vocals that makes you feel you're in the middle of a great party. It's over this vibe that Maino lays down not an ode to all the money he has and how superior it makes him, but instead a positive, deftly-rhymed rap about wanting to give away money because he feels so fortunate about his life and the time he lives in.
Overall, the song exudes an infectious, "hands-in-the-air" celebratory feel that makes it sound like the slightly grittier cousin of Kanye West’s hit from a couple years ago, "Good Life." (Go here for a post about the great versatility of that song.) Though it's unfortunate "Million Bucks" never reached the heights on the charts that "Good Life" did, this does mean that "Million Bucks" can most assuredly be pulled out at your event and still feel fresh to your guests.
As DJs in New York City, we find that there's no shortage of great sexy and fun hip-hop tunes to spin for dancing, or for use as models strut down a runway at a fashion show, but its harder to find hip-hop like songs "Million Bucks" that are "big" enough that they work for dancing but are also "chill" enough that the songs don't feel "in the way" if your crowd are sipping drinks near the bar. Also, when you're not DJ-ing for a crowd that knows its hip-hop well, to play a set of it at any time other than for dancing is sometimes tough, as often, unless there's a strong melody throughout, the rhymes are lost behind guests' conversation volume. And as DJs, we don’t want to have to turn things up too much if, in the moment, people want to talk and relax. However, with "Million Bucks," there's the prefect combination of a melodic chorus and a tight, crisply-delivered rap that makes it the rare song that's completely at home at the mellower parts of an event, as well as the more energetic parts. And to create a great song like that in any genre is worth quite a lot.
Have a listen…
Maino (ft. Swizz Beatz) – Million Bucks