RAPPER YOU SHOULD KNOW: MAXO KREAM

If you have not heard about Maxo Kream yet, I promise that you will very soon. He just inked a deal with Roc Nation, and it has been such a long time coming. I have to admit that I was a little late to the party when it comes to knowing about Maxo, having only really gotten into him pretty recently. I know that my friend Grant had told me to look him up way before I actually did; I am sorry, Grant. Although he has actually been rapping since high school, he did not really start making major waves in the underground until 2015. But due to various tragedies and legal troubles, his career has not really taken off yet the way it should have after his initial breakthrough. The release of his first full-length album last year, Punken, garnered major interest in the Houston product again, and he has been on the rise since. I love Maxo’s old school flows and descriptive lyrics. Although he usually spits on Houston style Dirty South trap instrumentals, his lyricism and storytelling remind me of early 90s rappers like the Geto Boys of the Wu-Tang Clan. You can figure out his life story through his lyrics, which I find super rad. Maxo Kream truly is the cream of the crop.

Sorry for that cream of the crop line, that was unnecessary. Anyway, as I said before, Maxo is a product of Houston, having grown up in the rough Alief neighborhood. Maxo’s father was in and out of jail throughout his childhood, and Maxo got into a life of crime early on. His uncle who lived with him also had a profound effect on his life; Maxo has said his uncle was a junkie who he witnessed stab someone to death when he was only 6 years old. He has rapped about first selling drugs at 12 years old. This activity led him to having enough money to buy things like a phone and Xbox, and he would lie to his mom about where they came from. He and his brother became crips in high school, and would run their block together until his brother got addicted to cocaine. Maxo started rapping with his brother and friends in high school, calling his crew the Kream Clicc. Maxo has been in and out of jail since he was a teen, and even though he started rapping in 2007, he really didn’t get noticed until his mixtape Quiccstrikes got released in 2013. Due to a feature from A$AP Ant on the song ‘Mob of Gods, ‘ Maxo finally got his name on the map.

Although Maxo got his initial breakthrough in 2013, he really didn’t start getting major national attention until 2015. This is when he released his critically acclaimed mixtape, #Maxo187. This project is revered for how raw and honest it is; Maxo has that awesome storytelling ability we have seen from Old School rappers such as Slick Rick or Biggie Smalls. His grittiness and realness also remind me a lot of one of my own favorite rappers, Schoolboy Q. The two biggest hits off of #Maxo187 are ‘Cell Boomin’’ featuring Father, and ‘1998’ which features Joey Bada$$. ‘Cell Boomin’ is a hard and dark trap ballad which has a “melody” consisting of a phone ringing. Maxo brags about his trapping days all over this track, at one point saying: “Get the plug on the phone. If it ain’t about the hundreds what the fuck do u want?” ‘1998’ is an old school Texas trap banger, and features Maxo rapping about the life he used to live. The song is full of fond memories from 1998, as well as quite a few metaphors and puns for trapping using the number 98. A year after this phenomenon mixtape, Maxo dropped his second critically acclaimed mixtape called The Persona Tape. This project solidified Maxo Kream as a rising star and continued to showcase his excellent storytelling and his growth as a rapper. My favorite song off this tape is ‘Out the Front Door, ‘ which features Key. On ‘Out the Front Door, ‘ Maxo once again tells stories of his trapping days. My favorite line is this one from the hook: “I don’t even know this n****a but still I made a sale. Ring my doorbell(Hell), sell a whole bale. It was five pounds short stupid n****a couldn’t tell. blowing up my cell, well should have brought a scale.” Don’t just check out this song, though. I really suggest listening to this whole tape, because it’s just great.

In 2018, after two years of legal issues and dealing with his mom’s home being destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, Maxo released his first full-length album. Punken was accepted exceptionally well by the rap world, with Maxo garnering critical acclaim for his work once again. It is very evident from Punken Maxo’s storytelling and flow has just been getting progressively better and better. This is particularly evident on songs like ‘Work’ and ‘Roaches.’ On ‘Work, ‘ over a chopped up Three 6 Mafia style trap beat, Maxo raps about how he got into his life of crime. In the second verse, he raps “Went from whippings with a belt to whipping like a chef. Cooking with my left, cocaine and meth….” The song ‘Roaches’ has a lot more of a somber tone and sentiment. Maxo rants about how his life hasn’t been easy and all of the setbacks he has endured. If you want to really learn who Maxo is and how he thinks/feels about his life, this is the track to check out.

In 2019, Maxo has dropped 3 new singles, presumably all from his upcoming album Brandon Banks, which actually comes put in a couple of weeks! This will be Maxo’s first major label album, so the stakes are higher than ever for him. The three singles from this record are ‘Still, ‘ ‘Meet Again, ‘ and ‘She Live, ‘ which features fellow Houston star Megan Thee Stallion. ‘She Live’ is actually one of my favorite songs of 2019; the funky and danceable rap beat, as well as the chemistry between Maxo and Megan, is so palpable and fun. The song from Maxo’s perspective is about needing a bad bitch, with Megan confirming she is that bitch. I really love this line from the chorus: “I need a Nikki like Safaree, red bone in red Ferrari. Sneaking, geeking off that Molly. Cute face, I bought her body….” If you haven’t heard this joint yet somehow please look it up, because it is such a god damn banger.

Maxo Kream is definitely a name that you will be hearing a lot in the near future if you’re a big hip hop fan. His infectious Texas style flows and great lyricism/storytelling is going to propel him into superstardom. I have full confidence Brandon Banks will be top ten album this year because he is just too good for it not to be. If you want to check some of Maxo’s music, click the Spotify link below!

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6xS5PpBWaVYraexEkEjjXv?si=Xm0LumLvTyWT0EX8-CvlFQ

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