“My Momma Always Said Don’t Tell Our Business, But Me Telling Our Business Is Making Us Millions” – In Talks With Maxo Kream
26 Oct 2021
Label head, story-teller, Houston representative and now a Father, Maxo Kream wears many hats but first and foremost he is – a Rapper. Closing in on ten years served in the rap game it would be no stretch to say Maxo is just starting to hit peak form. A testament to the long road served his last studio effort “Brandon Banks” saw him prick the ear of those who may have forgotten the guy who came up in the same rap playground as some of Hip Hop’s leading superstars. For Maxo life has been really lifing as they say. He took to time to reflect on his journey so far, the death of his brother, his place in Houston history and his new album the aptly titled “Weight of the World”.
At the time of the interview you’ve dropped 3 songs from your album “Weight of the World”. The joint with Tyler (the Creator) is the one with some buzz, how did that collab come about ?
It came about bumping in to Tyler at Yams Day. Linking, vibing he rock with the movement. I respect what he do musically and we jumped in that studio. We got about 6 or 7… I’d say about 6 tracks. But like Big Persona that’s the one.
He produced all of them ?
Hell yeah! There’s a couple tracks he ain’t even rap on he just produced but that’s still collabing you know.
They coming out at some point in the future ?
You never know. Hopefully.
He’s one feature on the tape. What other artists can we expect to hear ?
On the tape, me, Tyler of course, Asap Rocky, Don Toliver, Monaleo, Freddie Gibbs, Reginald Helms you know just to name a few.
That sounds like a diverse range of artist, is your versatility something you wanna show off on this tape ?
Right, right, right. I’m not no one dimensional in the box as rapper. A lot of these rappers they be that. I can do as song with Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran then go do a song with Young Scooter, Gucci Mane or Lil B. I can come to your world, you can come to my world.
You just dropped the video for “Greener Knots” with Hitboy. He’s riding that high of winning a grammy with Nas, how was it working with him ?
Facts. Nas is one of my favourite rappers of all time. I actually met Nas at Hitboy’s studio.
Did you guys work, is he on the album ?
Nah, see I don’t be on a we gotta work type shit. That ain’t me, fuck that. If I meet you we rock, we rock, we hop on a song, we hop on a song. I feel like shit should be genuine.
Onto the video itself, the story within the video that is almost seems unfinished. Is this a two parter type thing ?
For sure, it’s crazy you clocked that shit. A lot of people ain’t gone catch that. Next video is gonna flow into the story, same actors too. I came up from that drill rob-em up, shoot-em up background. You can’t go out in the streets thuggin, in America and think its not gonna come back to you. Now you got your momma and pops worring. I wanna show people the reality of what’s really going on in the streets.
You’re dad has really become a fixture of your albums with his skits. How is it having him integrated into your music like that ?
I feel like people get a better understanding of me. Like yeah ‘Maxo Nigerian’, but like traditional Nigerian culture he don’t really abide by it. So I had to bring in my dad to let you know the story and what’s really going on. A lot of people can’t get their family members on their shit cause they lying.
On the record he sounds proper Nigerian, like your typical Nigerian dad. How did he feel about you being tatted up ?
When I got the tattoos he was in jail. When I used to go visit I used to hide my tattoos but my brother Madu, R.I.P my brother Madu he was a little bit crazy. I’m two years older, so I’m like 20 out of school doing my thing. He’s in high school tatted up, chest, back all that. He’d go visit my dad like that, he’d be fucked up by it but he know he can’t do nothing about it.
He does he feel about you talking about his life and his story in your music ?
You know he ain’t like that shit at first but that’s the beauty of it tho. A lot of people capping. One thing about me bro, I let people know my dad cared for us. We was in the hood but he kept us well grounded. I had a silver spoon till I was 12 years old, until he went to jail. Being Nigerian all he wanted was a better life for me. My momma always said don’t tell our business, but me telling our business is making us millions.
Have you been back to Nigeria ?
I been to Nigeria when I was like 1 or 2 years old, since then I ain’t been. For sure, I wanna go back to Nigeria with my dad.
Identity plays a big part in your music, where you come from etc. Songs like Brenda and Meet again have been described as hood poetry, is that the intent to give people that reality that you live in ?
For sure, the thing is it’ not just the reality I lived in we all lived in it, people just ignored it. I just shed light on it.
You’re mum is a fan of 2 Pac. Those two songs especially live in his sort of realm, how did she receive those songs ?
I mean yeah she vibe with it but some of her favourite shit for real be like She Live with Meg Thee Stallion. She like all my music, but she like to dance, turn up party and shit.
Is that what we should expect on “Weight of the World” ?
Hell nah you gotta get into the album. I got some bounce, I got Big Persona don’t get me wrong Maxo always give you that Maxo but like when it come to that heartfelt street shit we get deeper than Brenda. Way deeper than Meet again, it go down.
You touch on your brothers passing on the album ?
How did that change your perspective on life, like when you sit down reflect and write ?
I don’t write. I didn’t jot down nothing for this. I really go off pure emotion, get in that both. You gotta use your brain and emotion. Your brain get you to write it out the emotion gets the words out. Blood, sweat and tears into the MF.
You also became a dad recently how did that play in the process of creating the album ?
Man, it actually gave me something to rap about. So many topics, so much deep shit to touch on. It really put the fuel on the fire, to get this money. You have a kid money ain’t really for you for real, you gone live off but you really tryna put it up for the little one.
You really pride yourself on the visuals whether that’s videos or even just how you dress. I know in the past you said you were a sneakerhead, you still heavy in to that ?
Hell yeah, till I die. This not going nowhere. It came really from my momma buying us Jay’s as I was little, all the Jordan’s we used to get em. Then when my dad got locked up we couldn’t get em and we was like ‘Dang!’. It’s like giving a kid a playstation and then taking it away. So we had to hustle for that, it wasn’t handed out on a silver spoon anymore. Me getting older I fell in love with the back history and that’s what made me a real like authentic sneakerhead.
How many pairs do you have ?
I used to have like 300 pair, but I sold all the bullshit. I had a lot of general release and I wanted to get more exclusive shit. I probably went down to like 150. Sold a lot gave a lot away, a lot of bothers coming out of jail who ain’t got no clothes or shoes. For some reason I can’t keep a pair of Aqua 8’s.
In the past it kinda felt like you struggled for recognition, do you feel like the reception to you has changed ?
I feel like it’s more serious, more critically acclaimed. Like they tuned in. I feel more people have an ear for real music they want that. I feel like a more serious artist which is cool, I’m taken more serious. I’m not just a trap rapper, I tell stories just cause they’re trap stories don’t box me as just a trap rapper. Just me taking two years off it was cool but there’s pros and cons with that. Not only did I take time to better myself but I kinda of hurt myself. This generation their attention span for music is like 30 seconds. I feel like after this, the way I drop and the way I come out, keep that momentum it’s gonna be different.
Kicking off the new album is “Local Joker”, was that always something you had, that foresight of becoming global not just confined to Houston ?
We always been them n****s since we was little. We already conquered that like the area, by like the time we got to tenth grade. We was like what’s next, then we took over Houston, then the world. Just wanting more, wanting better for ourselves.
Where do you see yourself as a part of Houston history, like what position do you play?
I’m the MF’ing, goddam, landlord. I got the keys to this MF really. We got a bunch of kings and queens coming out this but I got the keys.