Monday, August 11, 2008
Max B Has the Song of the Summer!
Have you ever been a fan of someone's music for no good reason at all? Do you have a problem putting your finger on the pulse of what the appeal is? When all you believe in musically and sonically is compromised in the worst way, making you feel guilty for even extracting any pleasure at all from what you would normally categorize as an atrocity?
Well I happen suffer from all of the above, an affliction that I have been self-diagnosed with ever since I was introduced to Max B, a rapper/singer/songwriter from Harlem who first gained notoriety from his many collaborations with Jim Jones.
Just off his appearance alone, I hated him instantly. A vertically- and physically-challenged light-skinned man with long, straight hair, my gaydar's silent alarm could remain mum no longer. (Think Real from I Love Money.)
But then I saw the video for "Baby Girl/G's Up," singles from Jim's album, "Harlem: Diary of a Summer," and Max's incomparable talent was immediately apparent.
Max has a performance style all of his own; one that at times combines singing and rapping, and at other times separates the two, but always having a melodic feel without sounding like a soft, cookie-cutter wannabe pop star.
Back in those days Max maintained a low profile, writing lyrics for Jim and being the driving, creative force behind Jones' last two albums and many mixtapes. Add to that his innate ability to pen catchy, radio-friendly hooks that are 50 Cent-esque -- ever heard of a little song called by Jim Jones called "We Fly High (Ballin')"? You don't think Jim came up with that song up all on his own, do you?
Even without an album, Max's talent and popularity ended up exceeding Jim's wildest expectations, becoming a bit more than what Jones had anticipated, so because of jealousy and selfishness, Jones severed all tied with Max by way of random diss tracks discrediting Max's contributions to Jones' once dormant but now highly successful career.
But instead of falling back and licking his wounds, bounced back like Juvy, reinvented himself as Biggavelli (yep, you guessed it - he likens himself to Biggie Smalls and 2Pac aka Makaveli, combining the best of what they each had to offer...) and started his own offensive versus Jim Jones in the form of a series of well-received mixtapes, which ultimately got him signed to Amalgam Digital.
So after months of steadily releasing new singles and mixtapes, Max has unleashed the unofficial song of the summer with "Where Do I Go? (BBQ Music)," a breezy, cooled-out track rumored to be the fist single from his upcoming full length debut album.
Remember how after The Chronic came out everybody trying to score a hit in rap jacked Dre's G-Funk sound, almost to the point of nausea? Everybody had a fake Dre beat. Even producers who had previously created their own recognizable sound opted to bite Dre's sound.
Well this song brings back the feeling of those good old days, sitting around with your friends, sipping 40s, playing Dominos or spades, inhaling the smoky smell of grilled chicken and burgers (and Swishers).
Max both croons the hook and the first verse before he trades in the singing for rapping, maintaining a nice, chill flow that incorporates the standard self-aggrandizing lyrics. But because of the mush-mouth style in which Max can some times have a tendency to deliver his rapping lyrics in, I am unable to transcribe them here.
What's funny is that ever since Jim and Max went their separate ways, Max's career is thriving while Jim's seems to be stuck on stupid. What's even funnier is that if it featured a verse by Jim a la Jim's verse from Cheris Dennis's song "I Love You" (another great summer song) this song, if promoted right, could possibly climb the charts all the way to the top.
But Jim didn't want to share the spotlight, and now his 15 minutes are just about up. Max's 15 are just getting started.
Max B - Where Do I Go (BBQ Music)