Last week, gravel-voiced emcee Maxo Kream tore up his home state of Texas with several high profile shows and one notable brawl at SXSW. Tonight, Maxo rolls to the Big Apple, opening for British artists D Double E and Darq E Freaker at Palisades in Brooklyn. In preparation for his upcoming show, Maxo synthesizes the sounds of Southwest Houston with the sound of South London on the Grime-flavored “Big Worm,” premiered by The FADER. The Ryan ESL production hypnotically mutates Wiley’s pinging “Morgue” instrumental, adding some skittering snares and hi-hats, while Maxo plays up the song’s title by rattling off bars referencing characters from the Ice Cube classic Friday : “Run-off that’s okey dokey, don’t play with my money, Smokey/ Drive-by we shooting weapons, Big Worm come through collectin’.”
In today’s premiere, Maxo explains the genesis of “Big Worm” to The FADER: “My producer Ryan ESL be mixing up the EDM and Grime beats with the Trap shit, and I put the H-Town spin on it. I was at the crib watching Friday, and me and my niggas started talking about Big Worm being the plug, so I put the beat on and we started freestyling. I try to catch the fastest instrument on the beat, which was the drums on this. After I got the flows down, we hit the studio and started putting the words together. Calling someone Big Worm is another way of calling them the plug. Friday’s one of my favorite movies. It came out in ’96 when I was 6 years old and we had it on bootleg. At first it was a comedy, I was just watching like it’s a weed movie, but as you get older and start peeping it you realize it’s more than just comedy shit.”
Maxo Kream’s “Big Worm” follows the release of “Shop,” a video single premiered by World Star Hip Hop in December 2015, and “Out the Door,” a collaboration with Atlanta rapper Key! that premiered on Complex, who noted that “both of these guys are in for a big 2016.” In 2015 he earned high critical praise for his biggest release to day, the MAXO 187 project, which featured an impressive roster including Joey Bada$$, Lamb$, Sauce Twinz, Father, Fredo Santana, and LE$. “The record is a sinister and visceral portrait of Houston street life,” said Pitchfork in their review of Maxo 187, while Noisey added “Maxo Kream has established himself as one of Houston’s most exciting young rappers by way of being one of Houston’s least traditionally minded artists.” Additionally in 2015, Maxo Kream co-headlined tours with Da$h, Father, and Joey Fatts.
Upon meeting him, gangsta rapper isn’t the impression that most would get from buzzing Houston emcee, Maxo Kream, age 23. He has a surprisingly goofy and playful demeanor, often cracking self-aware jokes and displaying a smile with showcases either his gold grin or his trademark gap in the upper row of this teeth. But, make no mistake, Maxo’s backstory is a tale consisting of crime and death that would catch the attention of the most jaded followers of gangsta/trap rap.
Inspired by his college trip to SXSW and the fact that other street cliques throughout Houston such as FDAB (founded by late rapper T.O.Y, a childhood friend and Crip associate of Maxo) and MashMode (which has now resulted in the buzzing careers of Houston rap duo, The Sauce Twinz) were transitioning into music as a form of expression, Maxo and his younger cousin Lyndon (rap moniker Lyndo C), jumped into music. Now, front and center is Maxo Kream’s sophomore project, #Maxo187. With big name features and outstanding production, Maxo intends to show that he can compete with any emcee in the game.