Maxo Kream’s debut major record label album is finally here, yall. It has been a super long time coming; with various setbacks like being locked up and family tragedies slowing him down, Maxo was just now able to release a major label record even though he has been rapping since 2010 and has been fairly well known in the underground trap game since 2014. After dropping the critically-acclaimed project Punken in early 2018, Maxo was able to ink a record deal with Roc Nation. Just a year later, he’s already back with a full-length album. Brandon Banks is totally worth the wait, and it is every bit as good as I expected it to be. Maxo has always been praised for his beautiful storytelling ability in his lyrics and his infectious flows, and everything about this record is a crisper and more advanced version of what already makes Maxo so great. If you are into dirty south Texas style trap music or if you’re into witty and lyrically diverse rap music, you will totally dig this record. Brandon Banks is an awesome extension on Maxo’s talent, and with each project of his getting better, it should be no surprise when he becomes a king of the rap game soon.
The EP gets off to a nice and smooth start with the introspective song ‘Meet Again.’ this track has a funky and synthy guitar-driven trap instrumental, and features Maxo telling stories about a few friends of his he misses, some being in prison and some being dead. The chorus is sung- rapped to a best friend who is locked up, with Maxo saying “Hope you get a second chance, we been down since elementary. Hope one day we meet again, break you out this penitentiary.” The way he raps on this one is heartbreaking and really makes you feel bad for his criminal homies. The song ‘Changes’ is also sung-rapped, a trend we see quite a bit of from Maxo on this record. The instrumental for this one is very somber and hard; it matches the anxious tone of the song. Maxo covers all the ways money had changed him and people around him on this cut, telling listeners that although getting a lot of money is obviously great, but it can come with some unwanted hardships. ‘The Relays, ‘ which features Travis Scott, has become the most popular non-single from the record so far, as it has been added to multiple top hip hop playlists on various streaming sites. The two Houston artists mesh so well on this cut; Travis Scott’s distorted and trippy sound works really well with Maxo’s hard and gruff flow. This is a duo who definitely needs to collaborate more in the future.
“I need a Nicki like Safaree, redbone in red Ferarri. Sneaking, geeking off that molly. Cute face, I bought her body.” This bar is from one of my favorite singles to come out this year; ‘She Live, ‘ which features Megan Thee Stallion, is a super fun and hype track that should definitely be a club banger. Maxo and Megan go toe to toe with their super infectious energy levels on this track. If you’re going to be a lazy asshole and only want to look up one song from this record, please make ‘She Live’ that one song because you will love it. The next song, ‘Drizzy Draco, ‘ drops the fun vibes of the last track for intense and anxious trap energy. The instrumental is super hard and distorted, and Maxo’s rapping style matches this weird energy. This one definitely has a Memphis feel to it, and I could see Three 6 Mafia being a major inspiration for it. ‘3 A.M.’ features one of my favorite rappers, Schoolboy Q, so you know I obviously love it. I have always thought that Maxo’s flow and voice remind me of Q, and this song makes me feel that way even more. The instrumental for this one is super tough and creepy, and the flows of these two rappers really match the sound. Introspective gangsta trap fans will love this one.
“I go boom, bitch. Chopper street sweeping like a broomstick.” The song ‘Murda Blocc’ gives a collaboration that we definitely needed. Maxo Kream and A$AP Ferg feed off of each other’s energy in such a great way on this song. Both of these rappers are known for violent and deeply introspective lyricism as well as their weird and anxious energy levels, and neither of these two disappoint on this cut. ‘Murda Blocc’ is easily one of my favorite songs on the record. Another really nice collaboration on Brandon Banks is the one on ‘Brothers,’ which features KCG Josh, a member on Maxo’s crew. The vibe of this song is a little softer than most of the rest of the album, with Maxo and Josh reminiscing about what has gotten them to this point. It is a nice change of pace from the intensity of the rest of the album. On the last song of the record, ‘Still,’ Maxo tells us that as far as he has come, he still has not changed. He raps about how he is still trapping and doing everything that he had been doing that has gotten him in trouble in the past. I do not know if this is the best assertion to make for someone with a criminal record, but this is still a great song. The instrumental has that funky trap feel that we have gotten used to hearing from Maxo; this song exemplifies all of the qualities about his music that makes him great. ‘Still’ is also one of my favorite songs on this album.
On his debut major label album, Brandon Banks, Maxo was able to show everything that makes him a rising force in the world of trap music. He did not compromise this record at all to make it more friendly or pop; It really has all of the gruff and angry and ghetto elements that has made his music so awesome to this point. Although it does feel a little one sided, Maxo proves how great he is at his craft on this record. If you are into dirty south trap music, I highly recommend this record. If you want to check it out, click the Spotify link below!