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FAV TRACKS: Time, Strongside, Kinfolk, No Love (feat. Lojii), In My Penny’s, Headphones, Crown Heights

Def Jam signee and LA-based rapper Maxo comes out with a brief but personal project filled with lo-fi drums and airy vocal samples. Many will likely compare Maxo’s style to that of Earl Sweatshirt’s most recent work, as well as Mike’s, however his sound is all his own. In the post-Soundcloud era of trap and pop rap becoming more saturated than ever, MCs like Maxo are all the more welcome with their distinct lo-fi style.

Production on LIL BIG MAN is done by Swarvy, Lastnamedavid, Roper Williams, and VIK. Swarvy has most notable worked with Quelle Chris, who had an LP release on the 29th of March. The beats on this project are woozy and relaxing and envelop you into their sound. The smooth saxophone sample on ‘Crown Heights’ is a perfect example of Maxo’s appeal as well as this project’s sound. “23, hope I live to see 24, uh / Ayy, I breaking my back for all that I have / Been face-to-face with the pressure, I nearly cracked on ’em / Been face-to-face with my troubles, clearing my past up”. The Los Angeles MC speaks on trying to ‘clear his slate’ before he dies, opening up about his guilt over past mistakes.

The EP’s closing track, ‘Quiktoldme’, is a tribute to legendary Compton MC, DJ Quik. The hook of the song interpolates one of Quik’s biggest songs, ‘Dollaz + Sense’. The laid-back style is reminiscent of some of Isaiah Rashad’s work with the TDE camp. Pink Siifu and Lojii offer two guest verses on this extended play (‘No Love’, ‘Quiktoldme’), and both of them help to bring out the best in Maxo.

All in all, Maxo’s newest EP has a lot to offer in terms of sonics and lyrical content. There isn’t a single trendy beat or hook on this project, and yet it still finds a way to invite the listener to just leave the project on loop. One downside is that the relaxing style may be too slow or onenote for some looking for more of an exciting experience, however fans of lo-fi beats and producers as well as people like Earl Sweatshirt and Mike will feel right at home in these 30 minutes of introspective and personable hip-hop.


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Written by: John Yu (@stimyulus)