What makes a menace? A mischievous and sneaky attitude, maybe, or a towering presence. These are only two components that Houston rapper, Maxo Kream, has in his arsenal. Fresh off the release of his second project Maxo 187, Maxo delivers a darker and more descriptive tale of his life in H-Town.
Unlike his debut mixtape, Quiccstrikes, Maxo dives into the gang-ridden culture of his city and its changing musical demographic. In essence, Maxo 187 is the soundtrack of the streets.
Kream has also filled up his calendar with shows alongside the likes of Joey Fatts, Father, Playboi Carti, and Lamb$, across the country. Now, the Southern rap star is opening up about the inspiration behind Maxo 187, his connection with the late A$AP Yams and tour life.—Gregory Harris
VIBE: You recently released Maxo 187, which is darker than your previous project, Quiccstrikes. What angle approach did you take this go-round?
Maxo Kream: With Quiccstrikes, I was telling dark stories but Maxo 187 shows more of my personal life. It lets fans get more familiar with Maxo Kream rather than the evil side that they hear, like Pokémon cards and sh*t. I try to give every one of my listeners something to relate to because everyone can’t relate to this street sh*t.
You have a lot of great records on this project but “Murder” is one of the standout tracks due to its storyline. What inspired you to write this song in particular?
The inspiration came from some things I’ve heard that happened to stories I’ve seen firsthand in the hood. It was like a course of seven stories and I put it all together in one to make it flow and give listeners something substantial. I also threw some of the same things in songs like “13”, which speaks on the beginning of Maxo Kream. It’s where everything came from. From being a Crip to being a menace to when I “jumped off the porch” at 13. “Paranoia” is another one, too. This is where I spoke a lot of the things I’m paranoid about on a day-to-day basis. That’s why it has the news clips of the Forum Park Crips in the beginning because this lifestyle I live is why I’m paranoid. It shows what’s really going on where I’m from.
You chose Wxlf Gxd to produce a large number of tracks. Why did you feel like he was the perfect producer for Maxo 187?
I’m real picky when it comes to production, and I feel like Wxlf Gxd and I have that connection. From songs like “Mob of Gods,” “YMG” and “Freddie H52ver,” I feel like he’s the only producer that gets me. Stay tuned for a Maxo Kream and Wxlf Gxd mixtape definitely in the future.
Ten years after the world was introduced to Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug, Houston is emerging once again with the likes of the Sauce Twinz, Doughbeezy, and Beatking to name a few. How do you think you fit in that mold of H-town artists that are coming up now?
I know a lot of these guys personally, whether it be from growing up with some of them to linking up with them when I first started rapping. For instance, Doughbeezy and Beatking reached out to me around the time I was coming up. The Sauce Twinz and I went to school in the same district. Even before the rap sh*t, I been knowing these guys. On some sh*t, they doing they thing. The Sauce Twinz has Houston on fire with “2 Legited 2 Quitted”. I’m a fan of them, just like they a fan of me. We’ve been f**king with each other, but it just so happens, we rap now. We all have different lanes, but at the end of the day, we all come as a collective to put Houston on.
Your affiliation with the A$AP Mob is very strong. Can we expect to hear more Maxo records with the crew soon?
“Most definitely. I f**k with ASAP Mob and they f**k with me. I rock with Ferg and Rocky. Rocky gives me pointers all the time. One of the things he says the most is to be yourself and keep it genuine. Those guys are bros for sure.
We know A$AP Yams played a pivotal role in your success today. What were some of the best memories that you guys shared?
I forgot where we were but I remember this is when Ferg just dropped “Trap Lord” and I seen him at some venue we went to. He was gone off the Henny, and he yelled, ‘Yo what’s cracking, Cuz?’ He hopped over the the guardrail, hella drunk. He grabbed me and introduced me to like 30 people, saying, ‘Yo, this is Maxo. He a Crip.’
Aside from that memory, some of the best advice he provided was a conversation he had with someone from management and saying, ‘Whatever y’all doing with Maxo, keep doing it. Stay independent because y’all got it right. It’s only a matter of time.’ He was definitely one of the first people in the industry to even reach out, so it’s much respect to him for sure.
SEE ALSO: New Music: Maxo Kream ‘Issues’
Not only are you a menacing rapper, but you’re also a street-wear enthusiast. What are some of your favorite brands?
Just on some everyday sh*t, you might catch me in some Stussy. I’m a real big fan of Bape, and I’m also a fan of this Japanese brand called Neighborhood. I used to be a die-hard for The Hundreds, but now you can catch me wearing expensive denims and I’m really into throwback jerseys as well. I have a lot of throwbacks and headbands right now. I was on the headband wave before Yams died.
You recently toured with Joey Fatts. What’s your favorite city so far?
I would have to say Atlanta because it’s janky as hell and they have some of the baddest females. I f**k with the Atlanta music scene so hard because they gon’ push their city no matter what. Even if they don’t rock with one another like that, they gon’ push each other because the music throwed.
Knowing it’s been a long time since Houston broke ground on a national level, what are three things you think the city needs to do to get back into spotlight?
Keep pushing artists and keep dropping dope sh*t. It’s not on the city, it’s on the artists. We gon’ put the city on our back and make sure we ain’t falling off. Once we kick in the doors, it’s going to be like 7-11.