Despite a rocky start in the Dipset Camp, especially when your verses are getting compared to the likes of Cam'ron or Juelz Santana, Jim Jones found his footing once he started working with Max B, who's hooks for the singles “Baby Girl” and “G's Up” gave The Capo some minor bangers before they struck gold with the Max-penned “We Fly High.” Recognizing Max's capabilities, Jim quickly placed Max into his own sub-group underneath the Diplomats umbrella: Byrd Gang. Featuring the hard hitting bars of the late Stack Bundles (mentor to another tragically deceased Max collaborator Chinx Drugs), the punchlines of Mel Matrix, Jim's dickheadish bravado and Max's choruses, the team were on fire for a string of mixtapes. “Yo Majesty,” a remake of 50 Cent's “Amusement Park” is a track from Jim's DJ Drama-hosted The Seven Day Theory mixtape, and manages to do everything in your power to forget the original ever existed (and I bet Curtis wouldn't mind forgetting the original either). Whether its just the belligerent intro and opening verse of Jim calling himself the '06 Oran “Juice” Jones, Stack Bundles swagging it out, or Max singing about demanding head with the passion of a fallen preacher, this track stands as an absolute banger that demonstrated the chemistry this group had mastered.
Top 10 Waviest Max B Tracks
Pete Rock – We Roll (ft. Jim Jones & Max B)
“G's Up,” the first song that introduced 'Max B the rapper' (as opposed to 'Max B the hook-singer') to the world was produced by classic hip-hop beatmaker Pete Rock. While “G's Up” provided Pete & co. with a record that crept into the radio playlists, “We Roll” taken from Rock's 2008 album NY's Finest would introduce Max to a pickier kind of a rap fan, the kind of fan who only settled for rappers who were not trying to sound like stars. Over a syrupy Kool & The Gang flip, Jim, Max and Pete connected the supposedly distant camps of Pete's boom-bap classicism and Dipset's flamboyant modern stylings. Max dominates the track, a harbinger of the 'wave' soon to come, with his tumbling hook and early penchant for peculiar rhymes; one can't imagine Papoose or Uncle Murda rhyming about making 'the fifth sting' with letting 'the piff steam.'
Max B – Tattoos On Her Ass
To this day, if you mention Max B around Jim Jones, he will sulk, scream, and it'll pretty much ruin his mood. And while all reports suggest that Jim's relationship with Max became exploitative to the end of their partnership, Jim definitely learned that his former partner in crime would become his worst nightmare. After his release from jail, Max would begin a campaign of harassment and grief against his former boss and the entire Dipset via street DVDs, early Worldstar & Vlad.TV interviews, and a string of freestyles/records where Jim, his partner Chrissy Lampkin, their child, and everyone else was the target of threats and heinous mockery. For the next few years of his career, Max B was guaranteed to be the source of some of the most aggravated mockery any time a member of Dipset took a loss. Whether it was Juelz and JR allegedly getting snatched by South London goons, the absurdly low sales of that poorly considered Xmas album, or just the general state of Hell Rell's face, everything was fair game to Max. “Tattoos On Her Ass” is a perfect example of the mean-spirited energy that made Max's one-man campaign of attrition against Dipset so compelling. Over a hyper-distorted beat with proto-trap rushing hi-hats (such an oddity for a record from New York), Max B interpolates Blondie to taunt Jim's career lull while boasting that he'd slept with Chrissy, going as far to call Jones the "rap game Milli Vanilli." An early highlight of the wave's solo ventures, behind all the cruelty there was a vicious sense of humor and the work of a surprisingly natural craftsman of singles.
Max B – Why You Do That
When he wasn't focused on his enemies, Max B was focused on building a catalog of consecutive hit records to garner himself a fanbase through his many mixtapes, typically the Public Domain series. With Jim Jones actively blackballing Max from gaining himself a new recording contract without the interference of his former benefactor, these mixtapes were a source of income and a creative outlet for all his frustrations and desire to prove himself. It didn't matter if it was a rap beat or the instrumental of a Rihanna single, Max would flip it into his own classic. But he wasn't without his own originals. The same way the cruel humor of “Tattoos” was withering against his foes, he would turn it on himself for comical self-deprecation. “Why You Do That” rides a wild storm of soap-opera strings, and features Max apologetically denying his cheating ways to a lover. Addressing himself as his nickname Biggavelli (a hybrid of his favorites Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Tupac), he paints himself as a roguish sort of scamp, the kind of guy who’ll “raid the cabinets and the fridge and eat up all the food.” But for all the goofball charm, the rap skills are there as Bigavelli's flow is torrential, effortlessly rapping a mouthful of outlandish phrases like "It was just like yesterday when I gave her the penis/She stroked my ego when she called me a musical genius." Ever the entertainer, it does leave one wondering just how far Max could have gone if he'd been given a chance to bring his frame of mind to the masses without the limited range of a not fully-digitized mixtape industry.
Max B & French Montana – Been Around The World
At a certain point after his relationship with Jim Jones fell apart, Max soon fell into cahoots with the Bronx superstar-in-the-making, French Montana. French had only recently turned to rapping full-time after using his Cocaine City DVD series to support his mixtape career, and proceeded to team up with Max for their own Coke Wave joint series of mixtape/DVD mayhem. The duo soon found perfect chemistry, with French spouting drunken swagger while Max nimbly darted around tracks. Not since Puffy and Mase had there been a more complimentary duo in NYC. Ironically, nothing is a better showcase of the power of the Coke Wave than their freestyle over Puffy's “Been Around The World.” Over Bad Boy's super-lush reworking of David Bowie's (RIP) “Let's Dance,” French turns in a Hennessey-soaked karaoke hook for their remix, and both trade off braggadocio while Max slips in some effortless snubs at Jones. Naturally, Jim would turn his aggression to French as well for many years, but the threats would only seem to bond the duo further together. Even now, so many years after Max's incarceration, French continues to shout him out and remind people of the man who was an instrumental part of his rise.
Max B – Porno Muzik
Rapping about sexual antics doesn't often sound particularly romantic. Sure, it can sound funny, maybe even a little bit erotic. But leave it to a man like Max B to somehow find just the way to make something so lewd actually reach an emotional peak. Chalk it up to frequent producer Young Los' flip of The Whispers “In the Mood.” It seems fitting, considering Max's chorus suggests a lover who's fallen down the wrong path like out of The Whisper's “Olivia (Lost & Turned Out).” Dark undertones besides, there's a playfulness and a dramatic flair that turns this record from a crazy sex romp into a Harlem novella.
Max B – Where Do I Go
Undoubtedly, one of the reason's Max B is on the mind of people these days is his invocation during the dramatic fiasco between Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa on twitter. Wiz has been a long-time fan of Max's, best demonstrated in an early video where the stoner rapper once lit up and danced with a bottle of champagne while singing along to “Where Do I Go.” Both he and friend Curren$y would eventually get to collaborate with Max in the final years of his musical career, and it’s understandable that they might take to his particularly smoked out sounds, especially on a song that producer Dame Grease would jokingly call 'new wave barbecue music.' Shimmery synths flash and whistle along while Max (Grand) cruises along in a cheerful mood, demonstrating the relaxed sort of pop rap that informed a great deal of Kush & OJ.
Max B - First Of The Month
As time moved on in Max's rap career, his skill set only seemed to sharpen and fine-tune beyond his already natural abilities. “First Of the Month” seems to be a sort of loose interpretation of the Bone Thugs N Harmony tune by the same name, but Max B's version holds little-to-none of the breezy melodic nature in the predecessor. Instead, Max's version is soaked in pain, reminiscing about his mother's drug addiction and being locked up while missing his grandmother's funeral. The record serves as a demonstration of Max's own developing skills of lyricism and introspection, to the point that he'd transcended the lane of New York Mixtape Rapper and had become that rare sort of cult street rap icon like The Jacka for the Bay or Z-Ro for Texas, where their skill as songwriters fly in the face of their marginal successes.
Max B - Quarantine
Despite not being included on his classic Public Domain 5: Quarantine, oddly enough, this track manages to stand as a curve-ball in a discography chock-full of weird turns. Blame it on Dame Grease's weird synth experiment, which sounds closer to the territory of chillwave artists like Ariel Pink and John Maus then anyone else coming out of NYC during the end of the last decade. Max is in peak form, effortlessly hypnotic with his flow, disarming the listener from feeling chilled to the bone by his assortments of threats. With records like this, it’s no wonder that a cloud rap pioneer such as A$AP Rocky would not only frequently cite Max as an influence, but even go as far as to record a tribute song to him, further preserving Bigavelli's stature among a generation.
Max B – Never Wanna Go Back
Ultimately, no matter how much incredible music was being released at this time, the reality of Max's life was soon to bring the prolific rapper's work to a halt. Years of being in and out of prison and court had always been a reoccurring theme in his career, spurring his output to proceed at a tremendous pace. But it was to be no more on September 4th, 2009, when Max was sentenced to 75 years of jail time with eligibility for parole being granted no earlier than the year 2042. As a tragic last note, Max was able to record one last song before arriving to sentencing and being sent away to jail. “Never Wanna Go Back” is a somber record, the sound of a man pleading to be spared his fate. It stands as a depressing final note, yet still shows the phenomenal talents at his disposal. Now as the years slowly pass, one can hope that one day, the immense talent of Max B can finally return to an audience that has only managed to grow and grow in his absence, a testimony to the strength of his material.
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A brief cruise through the best of The Silver Surfer's catalog.
Ever since his debut in the middle of the noughties, Charly “Max B” Wingate has been an iconic figure for rap fans, and his prestige has only grown with time. The Harlem-born rapper first made his impression felt on the Diplomats capo Jim Jones' Harlem: Diary of a Summer with his drunken-uncle style hooks, and became an essential member of Jones' Byrd Gang team. Eventually, the two of them would fall out drastically and Max would find himself blackballed throughout the music industry not unlike one of his obvious progenitors 50 Cent. However Max was determined to continue his career, driven by spite against the Dipset camp and an undeniable amount of talent, he made partnerships with the likes of mega producer Dame Grease and fellow troublemaker French Montana.
In a time when New York rappers were increasingly becoming cookie-cutter tough-guys with reductive gun punchlines and no pop sensibilities, Max B's brand of 'wavy' beats, his undeniable flows and soaring hooks made him a cult icon, and his mixtapes would help garner a massive fanbase that would include future megastars such as Wiz Khalifa and ASAP Rocky among the ranks. Unfortunately, Max's career was often plagued by legal issues, including a controversial murder/robbery trial which would result in the rapper being sentenced to 75 years in prison. The prolific run was cut short, and despite numerous appeals it appears Max will remain incarcerated for a long time. Yet his music lives on, and the more that people recognize the brilliance of his catalog, the bigger 'the wave' becomes.
So here at HotNewHipHop is a list of some of Max's greatest hits. Unfortunately, Max B was the kind of rapper where you could spend hours debating what his best material was, with something close to 300 solo songs and numerous collaborations with artists from all across the country. So here is a selection of 10 classics in The Silver Surfer's discography, providing an overview as to what made Max B one of the biggest unsung heroes of the last decade for New York rap.