Maino has reflected back on a time when Justin Bieber opened for him before he was a worldwide superstar.

The comments were made during an interview on Way Up With Angela Yee, where Yee and Maino were both reflecting on the recent passing of esteemed music executive Clay Evans, who was Vice President of T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint.

“He would always tell this story about how he got me booked in Atlanta and how he was like, ‘Yo listen, there’s this guy that we gonna have open up for you.’ I said, ‘Who is it?’ ‘It’s a little kid, he’s Usher’s artist, we gonna have him open up for you.’ And I was like, ‘Alright, cool.'”

He continued: “He went out there and he didn’t have no songs, but he performed Usher’s hits and the crowd loved him and he was dancing. That was Justin Bieber. That’s a fact. But he wasn’t the Justin Bieber yet.”

Clay Evans passed away on March 24 at the age of 54 about two weeks after suffering a massive stroke from which he never fully recovered. His family paid homage to him in a heartfelt tribute, while countless artists including T.I., Diddy, Fat Joe, 2 ChainzPusha TBig BoiPharrellBun BJermaine Dupri and Waka Flocka Flame showed love social media.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Evans family announces the untimely passing of my Father, Claybourne Evans Jr.,” his son shared via Evans’ Instagram page last week. “He fought a good fight and transitioned peacefully surrounded by close family and friends on today, March 24, 2023. He lived an extraordinary life filled with Love, Hard Work, and Laughter. He touched many lives…Continue His Legacy.”

“So sorry to hear this news [broken heart emoji],” Diddy commented on the post. “THIS BREAKS MY HEART. 1 of the REALEST. IMMA MISS THE LOVE YOU ALWAYS SHOWED ME FROM DAY 1 ! We will miss you. Love [heart emoji][prayer hands emoji].”

“Dam brother Rest In Peace,” Tity Boi wrote, while Bun B echoed: “This was a great man. He will be missed. RIP Clay.”

Maino Chokes Out YouTube Prankster: ‘Don’t Play With Me!’

Maino Chokes Out YouTube Prankster: ‘Don’t Play With Me!’

Elsewhere in Maino’s conversation with Angela Yee, the “Hi Hater” rapper came to the defense of Taxstone after he was recently found guilty of shooting and killing Troy Ave’s bodyguard, Ronald “Banga” McPhatter, in 2016.

When asked to speak on the subject, Maino — who was present at the time of the shooting, which took place during a T.I. concert at New York’s Irving Plaza — disputed the notion that Taxstone fired the first shots.

“I was there. It happened in the dressing room that I was occupying with me and Uncle Murda. We was performing that night – or we were set to perform that night,” he said. “My only issue with that is I just don’t agree with the narrative that’s been put out there as if Taxstone was there to try to look for a problem. Taxstone was actually there chilling.”

He continued: “That man was there chilling, enjoying the moment and these other dudes came in there looking for a problem. These other dudes came in there with that energy looking to try to have a moment and the moment just didn’t go their way. So I’m just in disagreement with the whole narrative of becoming a victim after you tried to be an aggressor.”