Written by Sophia Guerrier
Humble. There’s no other word that personifies Maxo better than humble. Hearing his music reminds us all that we’re only human, nothing more and nothing less. His rhymes encompass tenderness that resonate deep with his listeners since they’re so close to home. He raps about his family as if you’re his cousin having a long nostalgic conversation on the front porch. And it feels like you’re his cousin that’s the thing.
Maxo is a bona fide storyteller whose only concern is to remain true to his roots. Most of his songs are plainly a jazzy instrumental or a R&B sample with gentle drums that carry the intimate reflections of his past and present self. Maxo’s flow and delivery are clear-cut that makes it easy to reason with his words. It’s always special to see a rapper have rhymes that are so straightforward and easy to comprehend but persist to be impacting. Songs like “In My Penny’s” and “Same Hoodie since ‘05” illustrate how comfortable he is to attempt to reach his audience with his personal experiences.
Coming from Ladera Heights, Ca, (Los Angeles), you can hear the influence of LA neighbor, Kendrick Lamar, in his music. Maxo isn’t as sophisticated and metaphor heavy as Kendrick but they relate by confessing relatable conflict within themselves and the other imperfect people around them. On Maxo’s earlier EP “Smile”, we get an organic introduction to his journey to self-acceptance and growth. “Evelyn” and “Appletree” are two great performances from the tape that demonstrate Maxo’s overall modest persona.
In Maxo’s 2019 effort, “LIL BIG MAN”, he continues to wear his heart on his sleeve as he raps about the pressures of simply getting older. In this EP we get practically the same Maxo but a little more polished and honest. He gives us yet another great project with tracks like “Crown Heights” and “Kinfolk” to support it.
Even though Maxo remains generally an underground artist, he can become a key component in conscious rap as he develops. There aren’t many artists who can rap on a minimal-production, lo-fi hip hop beat and get their point across fruitfully. By his next project, Maxo will be making bigger waves.