Thanks Vino for giving us the opportunity to ask you some questions. We really appreciate it. We’d like to start asking you something more about your personal story: what’s your background? Are you a native of Texas, specifically Corpus Christi or did you move there later? And how would you describe your city and the life there?
VINO LA MANO: I was raised native of Texas. Corpus Christi,is where I was born and raised. 361. I’ve been here…shit, basically since all my life. I just recently moved to Houston, probably like 8 months ago, so I’ve been back-and-forth. How would I describe my city and life there? I mean Corpus Christi it’s just like any other small city. It’s about 300.000 people that live here. You know “Corpus” It’s really small, everybody knows each other’s business, you know what I mean.. But the streets are the streets, though. Don’t just because it’s a small city, that doesn’t mean shit ain’t going down right here, you know what I mean!”
You live in Texas, but you’re an affiliate of Benny The Butcher’s Black $oprano Family, whose core is in Buffalo, New York, a long way away… So what’s the connection between you Benny and BSF? How did you meet?
VINO LA MANO: I guess it was just the fucking universe aligned us together, whatever, but basically we’re two street motherfuckers that just connected and was just some real shit, you know what I mean… I met him (Benny The Butcher) through IG, I always knew that he was gonna blow up, this was like 2017..So I kinda wanted to do something with him. I had to quit rap by the time I met Benny so when I quit rappin fucking all of sudden Benny was like: “you B$F now!” and I was like was “what the fuck?”. It just happened in a 2 months time frame
Also sonically your rap reflects more the typical sounds of the East Coast, the Griselda / B$F, underground street lyricism kind of stuff, rather than some strictly Texan Hip-Hop influences…What were your musical influences and why are you more comfortable with that type of sound? When and how did you start rapping’?
VINO LA MANO:I started rapping when I was like twelve and Nas’ “Stillmatic” was one of the first albums I bought, so I just always gravitated more into East coast rhyme scheme, you know what I mean? I listened to Jay-Z and Scarface.
I’m a big fan of Scarface, so also my storytelling comes from that. That era It was him and DMX. So like I said, when I started rapping DMX’s album “Dark and Hell is Hot ” album just dropped as well like a year later or some so that’s where I get all the storytelling and dark shit from.
Where does your name come from?
VINO LA MANO: My name comes from my last name is just real basic , you know what I’m sayin… growing up I was playin basketball , people used to be like, instead of call me by my last name that was Trevino they would call me Vino for the end of my last name and that’s how it came about it, it just stuck to me growing up you know what I’m sayin…
Your style and your lyrics are strongly inspired by street life and by your past, of which you give to the listeners detailed pictures through your rhymes. What is your approach when you write down your lyrics? What inspires you?
VINO LA MANO:I mean there’s really no approach to how I write these rhymes. I’m not a person that can just hear any beat and just give you the best verse.
I gotta definitely be in tune with the beat, I gotta feel something… you know what I’m sayin? And that’s whenever you get what you get, so like just that’s how I tell my story at the end of the day
How important is it for you to talk about your past and a certain lifestyle and what is the difference between keepin ‘it real and glorifying the gangster lifestyle, which often, as you tell even in your songs, underlies a lot of pain and suffering? How do you keep the balance thru this thin line?
VINO LA MANO: How do I keep this balance through this thin line between Keepin’ it gangsta and real? I mean, at the end of the day I was raised in a certain way: growing up in the streets you got codes, you got morales out here in the streets that you live by.
I also grew up in the church as well, so I try to tell it like from the real perspective and the street perspective…you know what I’m sayin’? And how shit can go left, shit can go right…There’s a God…you know what I’m sayin’? So I don’t know, I really can’t tell you.
It’s just like as soon as I get on the beat I tryna like to give the listeners a real fucking side of me…the realest side you can hear from me!
How was this your latest project, called “Kleptopia”, born? Who produced the beats and how were the collaborations within it born?
VINO LA MANO: This latest album was produced by The Soul Monsters, they produced everything that I have rapped on. As for the collaborations Klass Murda is one of my boys, he does a lot of hooks for me, Chase Fetti is my boy too, shout out to Chase Fetti, shout out all the Jersey, all of that, shout to Rochester – New York, all of that.
And there’s another feature: Magnus. He’s from my city and he would rap just as long as I have and I just felt like I owe him some favors still l so I was like: “put a verse on this shit dawg, Let’s just kill this shit, let the world know who you are!”
Like Benny you know, like Benny did me… you feel me?
Among the many projects you have released in the last 3-4 years, which are the most important for you and why?
VINO LA MANO: To be honest bro, I don’t really listen to a lot of my music because I just don’t give a fuck about it. I mean I do care about it, but sometimes I don’t care about listening to my shit like that…
But “Real is my Religion” is probably one of my best records I have written and it’s like everything I can tell you about that song is perfect. If there’s one perfect song that I have, that’s the one right there: from the hook, to the beat, to the lyrics, to just the emotions that I put in that shit. You know what I’m saying?
When I wrote the song then I played it and they changed the sample around it…I was like: “Yeah this is the one right here!” That’s the reason why I came out with the tees, that’s the reason why I came out with the video and all of that…
In what do you think you have matured the most in your music in recent years? And what are the next steps and your goals you have set for yourself?
VINO LA MANO: My next goal is to hit New York, tryna get on many radio stations I can, cyphers that I can, real shows with a bunch of people as much as I can that there’s in the Hip-Hop game, you know what I’m saying? Just trying to get in brother! Shit I’m from Texas so shit I ain’t got nothing but then just fucking go up!
And who would you like to collaborate with most in the near future?
VINO LA MANO: I’d like to collaborate with Scarface, Conway, Nas, Jadakiss..I fuck with Lil Durk, Durk’s hard! You know what I’m sayin? It’s a not a big list but it’s a list , but yea those are probably the one’s off top that i would like to fuck with, because I feel like, like a lot of their lives were just like mine , growing up, we relate in a lot of areas, know what I’m sayin’?