by Paul Meara
Maxo Kream isn’t about the bullsh-t. You can ask him yourself. At 26, he isn’t the youngest rapper to blossom, but best believe it took a while to get here.
His rise in the rap game has been rather impressive since putting out his first official mixtape in 2012, but legal problems and prison stays kept the Houston native from doing his favorite thing: music. Maxo most recently made headlines for appearing on The Cool Kids’ first single off of hiatus, and it’s perhaps opening him up to an even bigger audience. Touring with Danny Brown during the summer didn’t hurt either.
REVOLT spoke with Maxo Kream over the phone about The Cool Kids, Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky, and more.
Take me back to getting your start in hip-hop in Houston and how that began.
MK: Growing up in Houston it’s all kinds of fu-ksh-t bro — taking sh-t, robbing sh-t, slanging. It was just all the fu-ksh-t growing up. I was in the streets, so you can hear the real big street influence inside my music. At the time Young Jeezy Trap or Die was going on, Hurricane Katrina Lil Wayne, sh-t like that was a big influence on me — Lil Wayne, Jeezy, Game, and 50 Cent. All that sh-t plays a big part in the streets where I was living. I been doing this sh-t since I was 21, then I had went to jail for real for real. When I was sitting in my cell I was like, “D-mn, I’m trippin’. I’m supposed to be out here rappin’.” As soon as I got out I went to SXSW and started shooting videos and sh-t, getting money and trying to get my music sh-t cracking.
As a Houston native, how big a musical influence did DJ Screw and Screwed Up Click play to you?
MK: Everybody always asks me that ‘cause I’m from Houston. I mean, they played a role but it wasn’t as big a role because even then like, when DJ Screw and everybody was doing they sh-t I was only like 10 years old, 9 years old. Don’t get me wrong I was on that sh-t. I’ve got all the tapes from my big brother. I grew up on that sh-t, but once I started doing music myself is when I started getting influenced. DJ Screw was pushed in my face — Fat Pat, all that was in my face ‘cause I’m from Houston. I was influenced, but all the music I had to go grab myself like Jeezy Trap or Die mixtapes, Lil Wayne mixtapes and sh-t, that’s the sh-t that really influenced me.
How do you see the Houston scene evolving with newer artists like the Sauce Twins, you, and others?
MK: It’s two different scenes. They got they sh-t, I got my own lane, my own scene, my own crowd, different fans. I’m really in my own lane, really ain’t no one in the lane with me. I’m not in no race, no competition with nobody. I’ve just been doing Maxo and it’s been working with Maxo, and at my own pace, putting on for the city. [I’m] trying to break down doors in this sh-t.
Last year you put out Maxo187, which was a really strong debut. How have you grown from that to now this year with Persona Tape?
MK:Maxo187 was a whole cohesive project, it was fluid. Persona Tape, I just put a lot of jams and hits that I’ve been working on, I just threw it on the tape. Persona Tape was more like a mixtape and Maxo187 was more of an album. My next mixtape is going to be more Maxo187-driven than Persona Tape-driven.
Where do you get the hockey jerseys you rock in a lot of your videos, or is that a secret?
MK: [I get them from] all over.
A$AP Rocky has had cameo appearances in some of your videos and is a known supporter of your music. How did that connection come about?
MK: A$AP Rocky influenced by Houston. He been on his underground sh-t. He knew what was cracking, they knew I was a rapper, they f-ck with the music. They rock with me, I rock with them. I’m a fan of their sh-t, they’re a fan of my sh-t. We ended up being cool over the years; those are like my bros so we just rock like that.
Is there anything [Rocky’s] told you about the industry that’s helped you?
MK: Just to stay true to my sound and don’t follow the hype. No matter what going on don’t follow the hype and stay true to my sound.
The Cool Kids put you on their first single “Running Man” after their return from hiatus. How did that come about?
MK: I been f-cking with The Cool Kids. That’s another group that influenced me fashion-wise and music-wise. Even since I first started f-cking with Chunk [Inglish], I was like, “I gotta get you and Mikey [Rocks] on some sh-t,” so when they finally got back [together] it was only right. I hopped on it and did my thing, especially being influenced by them. Chuck is a legend in my eyes. [He’s] one of the best producers ever. We all went to the studio and did it at the same spot.
You toured with Danny Brown recently. What was that like and what else have you’ve been up to?
MK: I’ve just been coolin’. I’ve got shows back to back each night so I try to pace myself. [Touring with Danny Brown], that sh-t means a lot bro because Danny Brown, that’s no small-ass artist. He a big artist. I’m getting a lot of new fans and seeing new faces that I probably wouldn’t have at first. Now they’re seeing me at different spots and it’s just a better look all around from industry-wise and for the rest of my career.
Have you seen your numbers go up since your tour began with him?
MK: I mean yeah, they were already going up, but they’ve been going up even more since I got on tour.
What are you working on next?
MK: Me and Bun B have something coming soon, so look out for that. I’ve got another album coming that’s coming out soon, stay tuned for that. Ain’t no dates, ain’t no names. It’s coming soon like a fast lick, ya feel me?