On the second day of HNHH’s “12 Days of Christmas,” Maxo Kream breaks down “Weight Of The World,” working with Tyler, the Creator, meeting Virgil Abloh, his prowess on the basketball court & much more.
Maxo Kream is one of a kind.
He’ll tell you that himself.
In the decade since bursting onto the scene with a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “Rigamortis,” Kream carved out his own path to hip hop stardom, and cemented himself as a bonafide streetwear legend along the way. From his days opening for Chief Keef in 2014 to his current status as one of Houston’s best emcees, and the 31-year-old has been on a rap rollercoaster for the last decade and has used his music to document every step along the way.
Fresh off becoming a father at the beginning of November, Kream sat down for our HNHH Presents: 12 Days of Christmas interview series and painted a picture of where he’s at now, and everything it took to get there. Describing himself as the only “Hypebeast Crip,” Maxo shed light on his love for fashion, launching his own Persona brand, and how his life in the Houston streets shaped the Maxo Kream we see and hear today.
Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Justin Heron.
Having just turned in one of the best rap albums of 2021, the “CRIPSTIAN” rapper is not shy about his prowess on the mic, and carries himself with an infectious confidence that easily oozes into every new record. But where his 2018 release Punken told the story of a younger Maxo, and 2019’s Brandon Banks told his father’s, Kream’s most recent record, Weight Of TheWorld, is squarely his own. Throughout the entirety of the album, Kream navigates the ins and outs of his life as a star rapper, as well as his life as a son, a brother, a provider and so much more.
“I tell the family business, which is real, and they can be fake embarrassed,” Kream told us. “Or I can go back to not telling the family business, robbing, kicking, trapping, and we don’t have that generational wealth, and we don’t have no money. I could go to jail. I don’t have no options.”
While Kream is dead serious about getting this money and making sure his family is taken care of, make no mistakes—Maxo Kream is as fly as it gets. Speaking to HNHH with an iced-out PERSONA pendant hanging from a massive diamond chain, Maxo puts his style and sense of humor on full display, and makes it clear that he is, and always has been Trigga Maxo from Murder Block, Southwest Alief, Texas.
Check out Maxo Kream’s HNHH Presents: 12 Days of Christmas interview and find a full transcript of our conversation, slightly edited for clarity, down below.
If you missed it, we kicked off the first day with Saucy Santana here.
HNHH: How are you, man? What’s going on? How’s life?
Maxo Kream: Oh, it’s cool. I just got done shooting a commercial for my brand, Persona. My dog had two puppies, so I got some Frenchie Merlesrunning around. Being a father, the album… normal sh*t. [I’m] just really trying to enjoy his life.
Absolutely. Well, obviously, congrats on becoming a father. That happened recently, right?
Yes, sir. November 2nd.
November 2nd, so real soon after the album. 2021 in general has been a year of ups and downs for everyone. Obviously the last couple months have been crazy for you with WEIGHT OF THE WORLD and then becoming a father. How was the beginning of 2021 for you? How’s the second half been shaping up for you?
Oh, it was cool. The beginning was like a waiting game. I was waiting to drop on these folks, just waiting to give it to these folks, but I feel like it was perfect timing. The album, it was received well— a lot of critical acclaim.
Yeah, absolutely. You’ve been on the media whirlwind since. You sat down with Funk Flex for the Hot 97 freestyle. What was that like?
It was cool. It was legendary. I ain’t really no freestyle type n**. I’m a good artist, but that’s why I never rapped in high school, because they used to be all on their freestyles. I ain’t with that bullsh*t, but I can sit back and tell you how it is.
Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Yen Espinoza
What was it like when you were sitting there, because that’s one of the most legendary chairs in hip-hop—up there with Sway, LA Leakers, that’s the one. What’s that like when you’re sitting there, getting ready to spit that freestyle for Flex?
It was a grail, of course. It was a grail for me with the rap sh*t. It was like, “Okay, mission accomplished.” I feel like I should’ve came harder. I was spitting some sh*t I wrote and memorized, and then I tried to freestyle for real—the real f*ckups, catching the flow, having fun with it though. I should have went in there straight hip-hop, but I wanted to have fun with the moment.
Another thing you mentioned— different interview with Rosenberg, Hot 97. You’re going to Nigeria in December, right?
Well, sh*t, we plan on it.
What’s that trip gonna be like?
I’m gonna go. I wanted to bring my girlfriend, she’s never been, but I know that we got our daughter, so we got to see how that go with COVID and all the shots and sh*t like that. I want to go with my dad, forreal forreal, because I went with him when I was two years old. But now I’m 30-something, and I haven’t been back.
In the time since recording WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, obviously you talk about your father being in on the album. He’s out now, right?
Getting into the album, after Punken, after Brandon Banks, what did it mean to drop WEIGHT OF THE WORLD? What does it mean in the context of your whole discography?
It’s the next chapter after Brandon Banks. I feel like Brandon Banks was like the spin-off chapter to let you know about my dad, but WEIGHT OF THE WORLD gets you back to my story. Shout out my dad, but this my story. But I let you into my life more. Especially with Brandon Banks, I feel like I really opened up doors as far as vulnerability and letting people in. They know me more, so they walk into this knowing me more.
Absolutely. You said you were holding the record for a while. How long were you sitting on it?
Everything [was] done in 2020.
How did COVID mess up the recording process?
F*ck COVID. COVID f*cked the recording process, it stopped my Australian tour. It stopped a lot of sh*t, but I’m still here. I’m still rocking and rolling.
The making of the album, was that more like sending verses back and forth? Were you still able to get people in the room to have that feeling?
I don’t think I got no verse in the room.
No verse I got was in the room, except for… I’m trying to think. The closest one was me and Don [Toliver] because we talk all the time. We was on FaceTime. We were just kicking sh*t, talking about sh*t, and we were like, “Oh, n**, the song!” He’s like, “Oh yeah, sh*t. Hold on. Let me send it to you.” He sent it to me while we was talking. I sent him that, and he sent me a song. We was talking about some Houston sh*t, blah, blah, blah, because we from the same hood and all that, me and Don. He from Alief, he from the SWAT, so all the sh*t I talk about, he done known and seen it.
You’re talking about Don Toliver, right?
Hell yeah. We went to the same school. When I was there, it was more like tall tees, and Katrina just hit. By the time he got there, it was a whole little jerk wave, and I had already went to the other high school.
Word. Before we get super deep into any music stuff, I see the chain, I see the Persona chain— you said that you just got done with a commercial for your brand. You talk about being fly all the time. Where’s that come from?
Man, that high school, Hastings. Everything come out of there, because it was like— bro. Hastings was the worst high school I went to. You would think the school in the suburbs would be flyer because it’s the suburbs. They got more money. But nah, we was on some young Dipset fly, super fly sh*t back in the day with the ’06 premium Forces. I’m older than y’all, like how old you is?
Yeah, I’m way older than you boy. I graduated in ’08. We had all the dope sh*t. Imagine being in high school your freshman year, you on tall tees, throwback jerseys, and headbands, and by the time you graduate, you got on skinny jeans, Bape snapbacks, and all that kind of sh*t. High school was a real cool time for me, like the transition. I loved high school.
Even on the Maxo 187 cover, you have the Supreme headband on. Where’d that love for streetwear come from— just because that was what was going on at that school? Because you’ve talked about Supreme, Bape, all that. Where’d that streetwear come from?
From me, because alright, we were doing sh*t like the airbrush sh*t, the Dickies with the airbrush, the painted shirts and sh*t like that— the whole Dipset look. I’m a Crip, so I had a shirt that said “Cripset,” blue bandana, tip it like the wheels. I been a fly n**, but as I went to the school in the suburbs, I brought the hood mentality with me. I robbed a house, hit a house, had like 22 pairs of shoes. N** was a sneakerhead, wore a size 12. He just threw me in the sneaker game. I had shoes, but now I got Mork and Mindy’s, I got f*cking Easter Forces, I got fucking DMP packaging sh*t. I really hit this n**. I hope they don’t watch this interview like, “Hey, this n** broke in my house,” because there’s a statute of limitations of seven years. That sh*t was like 15 years ago. But me hitting that lick and having the shoes, I couldn’t bust those shoes with baggy clothes and sh*t. I couldn’t do it with no Ed Hardy or ugly ass True Religion either. I had to go 10.Deep. I had to go Hundreds. I had to go Bape. I already been on Bape, I just had to slim it up. I had to go do all that kind of sh*t. With the sneakers, it just went hand-in-hand. A hypebeast Crip—it’s no such thing, bro. Ever.
“I’m a Crip, so I had a shirt that said “Cripset,” blue bandana, tip it like the wheels. I been a fly n**, but as I went to the school in the suburbs, I brought the hood mentality with me. I robbed a house, hit a house, had like 22 pairs of shoes. N** was a sneakerhead, wore a size 12. He just threw me in the sneaker game.”
You’re a trendsetter. You’re a pioneer.
For sh*t sho. Half of these n** dress the way they dress because of me, but we’re gonna just keep it on hush.
The fit with the number 5 FUBU jersey in the “1998” video was insane. So you said you were on your Dipset vibe in high school. You ever do the full pink fur suit with the flip phone?
Hell nah. I ain’t do that one. I did the Bape hoodie with the goddamn red monkeys.
On “Mama’s Purse”, you talk about the journey to— like you said, I love how you put it—just being fly. It’s such a simple way to describe it. On “Mama’s Purse”, you talk about your mom in the store swiping clothes for you. You talk about FUBU, Rockaway, or Mitchell and Ness, but then you talk about the Gucci, the Fendi, the Balenciaga. When did that transition happen from the streetwear to the high fashion, designer stuff?
Like 2017. I was destroying n** on the streetwear, bro. I’m talking about I had the Supreme Dipset shirt, I had the Supreme— is it Kate Moss, the white lady? I had that bro. It’s like f*cking with Ian Connor and Playboy Carti. I met Ian Connor because I was on the Supreme sh*t earlier in Houston doing my thing, Playboi Carti because of the music sh*t. We was vibing. Running around with Rocky and Bari. I’m a fan. I got into the fashion game by just being a fly n** from Houston, Rocky coming out. A$AP at the top of the game in 2012. Maxo Kream coming up. And A$AP knowing the culture, I didn’t know that these n** knew me. Hit me on Instagram, Yams gave me my first cosign ever. They just made sense. I went on tour with them, boom, we rocking. Everything was just natural and genuine, like I always been a fly n**. All the fly sh*t would just gravitate towards me. I don’t know.
“A$AP at the top of the game in 2012. Maxo Kream coming up. And A$AP knowing the culture, I didn’t know that these n** knew me. Hit me on Instagram, [A$AP] Yams gave me my first cosign ever. They just made sense. I went on tour with them, boom, we rocking. Everything was just natural and genuine.”
I knew the Playboy Carti connection. You talk about it on “THEY SAY”, with “He put Playboy Carti on/Then he surpassed him.” I didn’t know the A$AP connection, especially the Yams thing. That’s interesting.
I knew them before. I knew them way before I met Carti. I met Carti fighting. Y’all want the real story? So Travis Scott brought me out at Rolling Loud. This is when Post Malone first came out. Travis Scott had did Rolling Loud, he brought me out, so I’m rocking with him. I’m in Miami. I met Father and we ended up doing that song “CELL BOOMIN”. But before we dropped the song, he had this, Awful Records had a little platform where they were performing, and Playboy Carti was Awful Records first. So he was Awful Records from Atlanta. I met him, so now he’s running with Kream Clicc x Savage squad, because at that time, me and Fredo Santana was like this. Chief Keef cousin. So it wasn’t like no, “Oh, Carti, you got to be Kream, you got to be this.” That was lil bro, he with us. F*ck you. We were just rocking. That’s how we locked in. I was rocking with Ian because of the A$AP sh*t, rocking with Bari because of the A$AP shit before then. Being a fly n** bro— my lifestyle, just everything. This was before n** really popped off with the rapping.
So you were there with Bari and all them before Vlone and everything?
Hell yeah. I remember the first Vlone thing they did. It was kids in Soho going crazy, f*cking up cars, running over sh*t, and to get a Vlone hoodie they had to give their ID. N** was saying f*ck the ID, they was keeping the Vlone hoodie.
The riot video, right? So that’s Luka Sabbat, AssPizza, all them. You know all them?
I didn’t even know who the f*ck Virgil was back in the day, but it’s a picture of me, Luka Sabbat, and Virgil. I was at the YSL store, and I just knew Luka was on some sh*t, like the whole lil culture and time— being in New York, running around, going to Unique Hype, the lil Asian lady with the Supreme sh*t and all that.
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
You were at New York Fashion Week this year, right? How was that for you?
Yup. It was cool. I went for the after parties, I ain’t gonna hold you. That sh*t be cool— I’m a fashion n**, but I’m a high-fashion, streetwear n**. I might mix the Balenciaga with the Supreme. The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collab is up my alley, certain sh*t like that, but I ain’t runway.
I did read that you were partying with Rocky and Rihanna after one of the shows.
Oh hell yeah, shout out Rocky. It was Rihanna’s show. I just walked to the front. I ain’t have no invite, no nothing. I’m like, “Tell her Maxo Kream here.” And it went through. I was shocked than a b*tch.
Getting front row at a Rihanna show, that’s definitely something to be shocked about, especially because she just became a billionaire. That’s crazy. So your relationship with Rocky—obviously he’s on the album. What was it like to get him, not out of retirement necessarily, but back on the mic? Because he hasn’t been putting music out lately.
It felt good. It was cool. It was rare. Rocky gotta really f*ck with you to get on that. That n** gettin’ so much money. That n** get like, 25 million to model Calvin Klein draws, you think he worried about some goddamn music? Then he with Rihanna, and she a billionaire. So it was just like, sh*t. It was genuine. I would say that it was genuine.
I think a lot of the features on the album sound genuine. Freddie Gibbs feature— he’s one of the best rappers out right now, obviously making his claim for one of the best rappers ever, and you stood right there with him. That’s your song. What’s it like when you’re sending verses back-and-forth with someone like Freddie Gibbs for your record?
Yeah, shout out my boy Freddie. Freddie Gibbs been f*cking with me for a minute too though. Before I signed the sh*t, Freddie been f*cking with me, but he sent his verse and his hoe ass went hard. I was like, “Bro, I should redo this verse,” but I was like, “Imma keep my verse, keep it genuine.” He gave me a crazy verse, so Imma embrace that and let him shine with it. Because like you said, Freddie is a real good rapper. He ain’t underrated, but it should be more light shined on him, like what he doing and the level he do it on? And to be his age? It’s a marathon, not a race, and Freddie shows that. It’s a lot of artists— Freddie, Danny Brown, Curren$y. It’s a lot of n** who do this sh*t that don’t get their flowers. It was a lot of these n** who would come, have 10 million followers and be hyped this year, then the next year, be gone.
“Freddie Gibbs been f*cking with me for a minute too though. Before I signed the sh*t, Freddie been f*cking with me, but he sent his verse and his hoe ass went hard. I was like, “Bro, I should redo this verse,” but I was like, “Imma keep my verse, keep it genuine.” He gave me a crazy verse, so Imma embrace that and let him shine with it.”
Forreal. Freddie just put that single out with Jadakiss this morning, Curren$y comes with a new album like every day, and then Danny Brown, he’s been doing stand-up comedy which is insane.
That n** funny as hell though! That was my first major tour I ever did bro. The whole time, this n** had me laughing.
Yeah, Danny Brown’s hilarious. I remember his verse on Rocky’s second album, 1 Train. He’s hilarious in his verses. He’s rapping, the flow is great, and he’s still hilarious in every verse. Combining a couple of our conversations about fashion and your connections in the industry, I want to talk about “BIG PERSONA”. I know that’s the one that a lot of people come to, but Tyler the Creator is someone who combines all those areas—the music, the fashion, everything. What was the process like of putting “BIG PERSONA” together?
I did like 8 verses, and the first verse I did was the one that ended up sticking. This n** Tyler had me everywhere with it, “Yo, try to do it like this,” “Try to talk about this,” “How ‘bout you talk about this?” At the end of that, we used the first verse. I done did 8 verses.
You said you went to him looking for beats, and you said you wanted a Chuck Inglish, Neptunes vibe? In the past couple years, everyone kind of knows about Tyler as a producer. It’s not so much of a secret anymore. But people think of him as making a certain type of music, and then he comes through with a beat like that. What are you thinking when you’re hearing something like the horns on that, especially how he raps because that’s not necessarily his lane anymore? What are you thinking when you’re hearing his verse when you’re hearing all the horns? Are you like, “I’m about to kill this right now?”
Facts, exactly. But man, I go into every track thinking that though. With sh*t with Tyler, I know I’m gonna kill it, but it’s a certain way I gotta kill it. It’s a certain way to do sh*t. N** get the biggest feature of their life with Drake and make a bullsh*t ass song but don’t do nothing. You got to utilize these features bro. This is a business. You don’t go, “Okay, let’s just hop on a song, go back-and-forth,” you gotta have a vision for it. I’m real critical. That’s why it was so many verses.
You can’t fumble the Drake stimulus package.
The Drake, the Tyler, no feature I have on this album I could fumble. I don’t give a f*ck if you Drake or you the smartest n** on earth. If I respect you as an artist and I see you doing your thing, I’m not gonna fumble, because if you carrying the ball and I fumble, I f*cked up.
Your story with Tyler goes back quite a ways. I heard you say one time that when you switched high schools, that’s when you were learning about Odd Future and all that. And then you brought a CD to the GOLF store in LA in 2014.
Hell yeah, I was passing out CDs and sh*t trying to come up, trying to rap. Sh*t, I don’t even know if n** was still listening to CDs in 2014, but I had ‘em. And I gave it to him. He said, so sarcastic [does his best Tyler impression]: “Well, thank you.”
Let me give you the story. I walked up to him, I gave him the CD like, “F*ck with me.” Then when I meet him again at Yams Day, n** said he was in London with motherf*cking Rick Rubin, jamming my sh*t. And Rick Rubin put him on. I’m like, “Daaamn, that’s crazy bro.”
Yeah, I mean Rick Rubin is one of the biggest names in hip hop production ever. That is crazy. What’s that feel like, to know that someone like Rick Rubin is listening to your music and putting someone like Tyler onto it?
I got people in high places like Jesus.
Absolutely. Last question about Tyler— that video was crazy. That “BIG PERSONA” video is insane. He was doing all his own stunts, all the driving and all that?
Oh, that sh*t, I was scared as fuck bro. I had to text my man, I was like “Shawty ass trippin.” He was swinging by the pole, whipping that b*tch, coming back. He did all that. I don’t know how to do that sh*t. I woulda crashed that hoe. That sh*t is crazy bro.
Speaking of LA, speaking of being out there— to make this album you moved out to LA from Houston. What was that like?
I’ve been living in LA. I just had a house in Houston in case, because I’ve been living in LA since 2018.
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Is that a move where you’re linked up with all the rappers out there? Chief Keef’s been there for a minute, Tyler’s out there. Was that a strategic move to get around these people?
No, I don’t need to get around these— bro. Like I said bro, I been that n**. I was linking with n**, I linked with A$AP and them back in 2012 when they come to my city. I’m just one of them ones that’s always been cool with it. I used to sell drugs. What the f*ck? Of course they’re gonna come get sh*t from me. I been knowing ‘em. I don’t care. I don’t go out to link up with n**. I already knew them people. Now, as far as getting them on tracks, yeah, because of the studios and sh*t— but I don’t be going off relationships to do songs. Some n** I might be cool with, like I’m cool with Thug, n** ain’t got no song. It might not be meant for us to do no song. F*ck around and get one fasho though. But it comes natural. You don’t gotta be one of those d*ck pulling ass n**, man. It’s just like trying to get sex. You can’t go out and force a female to have sex with you— I’m just saying.
That’s facts. Specifically when you’re making music, what’s the difference between Houston and LA for you? What’s that vibe? Because a bunch of people go out there just to feel that creativity, what’s the difference in energy for you when you’re creating?
When I’m working in LA, I be more on some elevation— on some elevation, expanding mind-frame type sh*t, generational wealth type sh*t. When I come to Houston, I get on my Trigga Maxo. Talking bout how I used to sell dope. I just be on my sh*t. I’m in my hometown. I don’t know, it’s crazy. In LA, they treat me like a rapper bro. Like the stores— I go into Gucci, Balenciaga, all in through the back, they take care of me. Houston, they treat me like I’m just a motherf*cking gang lord, trap lord ass… they still be fake on me, the police. N** be cautious. They feel like we’re gonna come in there and f*ck something up. I’m like, “Bro, this is not 2015, 16, 14, 13.” N**, I’m a grown ass father.
Absolutely. When you’re in the studio, what’s the average Maxo Kream studio session looking like?
It depends. If I’m in there just chilling, listening to music, my homies, smoking, vibing out, a lot of homies coming in. You know I got the Persona brand, so if I’m in there just vibing, I might have Anwar come in, or have my n**, we design some sh*t. Have Desto Dubb pull up, we work on some clothes and sh*t. If I’m working working, it’s gonna be a lot of Adderall and me in the booth.
Hell yeah, you talking Anwar Carrots?
On “Worthless” off of WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, you talked a lot about drug use, and then you just mentioned when you’re trying to get stuff done, you’re on Adderall in the booth. What’s that mindset like, where you’re like, “Alright, I’m going to use this to make this kind of music, this to make that kind of music.” Is that your thought process?
I don’t be on drugs forreal though. I use Adderall, Vyvanse, but first of all, I’m prescribed it. I just never used it as a kid. But I use it for my music, and it works. It makes me be in the studio for 12 hours straight, in the booth, working.
“I don’t be on drugs forreal though. I use Adderall, Vyvanse, but first of all, I’m prescribed it. I just never used it as a kid. But I use it for my music, and it works. It makes me be in the studio for 12 hours straight, in the booth, working.”
What songs are coming out of that off WEIGHT OF THE WORLD?
Every song on the project except for “GREENER KNOTS”. That’s because I did that with motherf*cking Hit-Boy, and I was up early, I was on a good Red Bull, and I felt like rapping. I don’t even like rap, bro. I’m just in this sh*t, I got a family. This sh*t whatever and I’m good at it, but I don’t enjoy it like I enjoy the Persona sh*t. But when I pop Adderall, I love it. I’m like, “F*ck it.”
That’s interesting to hear, because your raps are insane. If I’m ranking my best rappers, you’re probably top 10 right now, easy, in terms of the songs you’re putting together, the sound. But you’re saying the Persona stuff is way more fulfilling for you than the rap stuff?
I ain’t accomplished everything with rap, but I get it. This music sh*t take me back to like when I first started rapping, so I still got that hunger, that fire, and that urge. It’s something new, and it’s refreshing.
What did getting on a record with Hit-Boy do for that part of you that’s looking back at when you first started rapping?
A grail. A checkpoint. I don’t really go off long-term sh*t and look back. I do short-term goals. So every time I do something, I look back at where I was from there. I just look at progression.
What was your goal coming into WEIGHT OF THE WORLD?
Sh*t, critically-acclaimed. Pitchfork gave me an 8, but I feel like it should’ve got an 8.9. They gave Brandon Banks like an 8.4, but same thing though— critically-acclaimed, going crazy, with the sh*t, heartfelt, vulnerability. I’m opening up for people, people are opening up to me at the same time. Another champion in Maxo world.
Absolutely, and building off that, with the song “TRIPS” about losing your brother, I know you talked about the vulnerability in that song, and after that happened, you were buying jewelry, all that, trying to cope with that locked into this album. What was that moment like when you locked in to make that album, because you’ve talked about using the loss of your brother, not as motivation, but as a part of making this record. What was that moment like when you decided that you needed to lock in and make this project?
It was just go time. First, you gotta just hop in the studio bro, because you don’t know. You’re like, “Oh, I need that album, I don’t got no album.” I ain’t got no music. I spent a week in the studio, I have three songs. I’m like, “Hold on bro, I might be on the verge of a tape ” so another week in the studio I might have 10 songs. Then it’s been like months and you have 100 songs, and you’re like, “Okay, I know what the album’s gonna be, let me start chopping down.” And then when the songs are chopped down, from there, you just build on those more.
So you’re one of those artists, because I know some people make every song specifically for a purpose. You’re making like 100 songs and then paring it down for your record?
I mean, each song got a topic, so [there’s] like 100 different topics, and [it’s about] which topics [you’re] gonna use for the album. Or 20 other songs be on the same topic, just different beats, because you don’t know if you want to go slow, you don’t know if you want a bounce song, you don’t know if you want to be sad… It all depends.
Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Justin Heron.
One of the heaviest themes on the entire album is your family, whether that be your mom, brother, niece, your daughter, any of that. How important is all that when you’re creating? I know you said in other interviews where you’re like, “Yo, I’m telling the family business on wax.” Are you thinking about that, or are you just like, “This is my life. I’m just rapping”?
When I look at it, I tell the family business, which is real, and they can be fake embarrassed. Or I can go back to not telling the family business, robbing, kicking, trapping, and we don’t have that generational wealth, and we don’t have no money. I could go to jail. I don’t have no options. I’ll tell the business. I’m a real n**, I’m telling them the real. I mean, I did an album with my father on it, my mama be in my videos and sh*t. People can’t do that sh*t with their parents because n** not really gangster. N** not really from the hood. N** ain’t gonna tell that they moved to the suburbs because they feel like it’s gonna take away from them. N**, I’m still Trigga Maxo C from Murder Block, Southwest Alief, Texas. That don’t take nothing away from me. I just seen different sh*t. I’m a real n**, bro, everything about me. Sh*t, I don’t got to fake about selling drugs. I’m glad I don’t sell drugs no more. I just beat a RICO case. I’m a real Crip. Then all that street sh*t, it’s sh*t that n** your age would pay money for to have on their resume, because they ain’t live like that. I still hold it with a badge of honor like, “Yeah, I did all that,” but I’m moving toward this— good credit, ownership, properties.
That leads me to two songs from WEIGHT OF THE WORLD. I feel like a lot of themes of that are in “THEY” and “LOCAL JOKER”. “THEY SAY” is you talking about people trying to diminish your reputation whether that’s as a rapper or your reputation in Houston. Where do those songs come from? Are you actually hearing what people are saying? Are you that tapped in on socials and everything, or is that how you’re feeling, so you go in the booth and make that song?
N** don’t talk crazy about me on socials. Let’s say it’s some crazy opps from back in the day, and they just mad about something that they can’t do nothing about. People talk shit. If you’re a rapper, you popping, you could have 50k followers on Instagram, people talking sh*t. It’s people that’s mad at you about sh*t because if you not popping, everybody would still pop sh*t about you. I’m just speaking on sh*t that n** scared to say. N** gossiping and saying something behind my back, but don’t nobody come to me in disrespect. They know what come with that— a f*cking ass whooping. So yeah, people probably talk behind my back and sh*t, but that’s pretty much what that was— sh*t that people scared to say to me. You gon’ see with the video— how I do it, all the sh*t behind my back but they see me and be on my d*ck.
I don’t know exactly who it was, [but I remember] they came up to you and they did the fake interview and they said something about how they were gonna give you the hands or whatever. What was that like?
I know some people take that stuff way too serious.
That n** know good and damn well we was out, and that n** came and put a hand on me, somebody’s gonna send over him and shoot him down. Nah, bro. I’m just being real— not me, but somebody’s gonna stand over here and shoot him down. You keep that in the interview. It’s real. N** know that. That’s why it’s funny. I’m like, “Okay, go ahead and get this off, but you’re gonna get whooped talking to me like this.” Like sh*t, I approve of it bro, he’s out here doing something positive. He’s a young Black man, out here doing something positive on TikTok and sh*t like that. He could be really out here trying to fight n** like me and get smoked, you feel me? I’m glad he not on that. I’m glad that he’s doing positive and that he’s doing his thing, so salute.
You can hear it in your music and interviews that you have a sense of humor, like you’re not out here wildin’ on someone who’s not actually trying to do anything about it. I wanna talk about the “CRISPSTIAN” video.
[You say it] like “Christian”.
That video is insane. What was that like, putting that together? Because from the premise of it, obviously the record itself is the opener for the album, sets the tone for the album. What was that video like— the big house, long driveway coming up to it, and then seeing it afterwards?
It was certain parts where they was doing shooting, like they’d be shooting it over here and shooting it over there, so to see it all come together, it was crazy. It remind me of that “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” by Tupac. Something like that. It kind of reminded me a little bit of “A Lot” with J. Cole, that video. But I f*ck with it though.
I wrote on that. I described the visuals as “heavenly”, because they are. It’s that vibe. I want to talk about Houston a little bit. You said you’re 31. You’ve talked about your influences. But at the age you’re at, you really got to see a crazy transformation of Houston hip hop in particular, because I’ve heard you say you came up listening to DJ Screw, listening to UGK and all that, and now, it looks completely different. And you’re one of the faces of Houston, so what’s it been like to see Houston go from the pioneers who made it what it is and then a couple of you guys taking the reins and making it what it is now?
That’s what that’s all about. They had to work, put in their grind, and do what they had. We had to work and put in our grind. Now, it’s the new generation putting in that grind.
Outside of DJ Screw— because I know you said that one of the first raps you made, you were rapping slow, like it was chopped and screwed.
Nah, I just wasn’t rapping fast. I was like, “You say give ‘em, I say got em/Old 4L1’s with the gum bottom.” It was real basic type sh*t. Now I hop on that hoe: “Take a Draco to the kickback/Molly tan it look like Sinbad/Sellin’ molly off my…” You know what I’m saying? Just like when you’re playing basketball, at first you just got the normal crossover. Now, I’m crossing over, behind the back, pro hopper, Euro to the goal.
I mean, the Maxo flow— you’ve developed, it’s been years now. I feel like your signature flow, it’s this relentless— it doesn’t stop. It pulls you through the song. From “Grannies” a couple years ago to something like “11:59” or “WHOLE LOTTA” on this record, how do you describe that signature flow that you do have? Because it is yours, no one else sounds like that.
Man, it just really come off whatever drum I catch on the beat, bro. If I’m sober, I can really just go and hit the flow. If I’m on Adderall, everything is so— each hi-hat drum, whatever I catch, the flow is bouncing off that. It’s just like dribbling the ball. My hand is the flow, and the ground is the beat, and I’m dribbling, so however it bounce back is how I catch it.
You got handles on the court.
Oh, f*ckin’ right, I’ll give y’all buckets.
What’s your game like? I need to know this.
Okay bro, so full court game— yeah, I’m not doing all that hustling. I’m kind of fat, you feel me? But we on some Drew League, half-court sh*t? I am Maxo Kobe and Maxo A.I. and Maxo Irving, I could dribble bro.
You got handles?
That’s my strongest part. And then I got a cool ass mid-range shot. Imma hit it fasho, so then it’s gonna make me look way better than I really am. But I could dribble, I got a cool lil shot, and I ain’t the tallest n**. I’m like 6’, 6’1”. But for me, always being big my whole life, I got a post game. I had to go down and learn how to play post.
So you can play with your back to the basket?
For sh*t sho. I could play with my back to the basket— I ain’t really say from the three-point line on some Kobe sh*t, but don’t let me get by the free-throw line, Imma get to Maxo Kobe on your ass in that b*tch.
Oh, you’re gonna lean back? That’s when you move to create separation.
Hell yeah. You know I f*cks with Hakeem Olajuwon. I got some of that Olajuwon inside my post game.
Hitting the Dream Shake?
Fo sh*t sho.
I mean, Houston legend to Houston legend, you and Hakeem.
Yeah, he damn near like my uncle. That’s my daddy’s friend. You know how Nigerians do— they cool with somebody, and they close, they call him your uncle or your cousin.
Oh, so you know Hakeem like that?
I met him a few times. That’s my daddy’s homie. They went to U of H and all that sh*t, they had went to school together.
That’s crazy. I had no idea about that. So I got down to Houston for the first time this year, hit up a couple spots. I have to ask you— what’s the best barbecue spot in all of Houston, Texas?
My mama house. But I’ll say Brookstreet, they got some cool sh*t. They got Papa Barbecue, they got some cool sh*t. Turkey Leg Hut cool. Mickey’s cool. Pappadeaux cool. F*cking Taste Bar cool, Benihana’s cool everywhere. Sh*t, I’m a fat n**— aye, next time you come, hit me, I can show you some food.
I’m not too slender myself, so next time I’m out there, I’ll have to. What’s the go-to order at the barbecue spot? I got brisket, pork ribs, and I think something else.
F*ck the barbecue spot. Do something like Taste Bar. Barbecue’s in every city. Taste Bar, I get the lobster tail with the Cinnamon Toast waffle, with actual cereal on it though, like embedded in the waffle— it’s delicious. The macaroni, and then the chicken wings, with the jerk chicken.
That sounds amazing.
I think it’s some vegetables in there, like some broccoli, throw some broccoli, because that’s too much other sh*t.
Winding down, I heard you were talking to Rosenberg about going keto?
Yeah, man. It’s so fake keto. I just take the bread off my burgers and don’t eat the fries.
That journey’s going well for you though, trying to add in some greens?
Yeah, but I think I’m about to f*ck it up today. My boy just went to Cheddar’s to go grab some mashed potatoes and some chicken. I be f*cking up, bro.
Absolutely. Last question, last topic. Young Dolph tragically passed away this week. I was watching a bunch of old concert footage where he brought you out in Houston. Obviously you’re on a song with Bun B and Dolph. What was your relationship like with Young Dolph?
My motherf*cking n**. Every time he come to the city, he hit me. I brought him out in Atlanta. He brought me out in Houston. I brought him out in Belgium and the UK. I brought out him and Key Glock. He’s just a real n**. Dolph get it. He seen when I caught the RICO case for the marijuana and sh*t like that, like the trap sh*t, so he respected where I came from and where I’m at. He love my jewelry… he just always show love. And Dolph go dumb with the jewelry, I’m talking about all blue kit— blue Richard Mille’s, Blue APs. He go stupido with it. So when he coming to me and seen some of my sh*t, it’s like motivation. That was one of these n** I wanted to be like, because n** was a trapper that made it rapping, n**. Like what the f*ck? He lived that street sh*t, and the street sh*t and the rap life is very similar except you’re making legal money. With the rap sh*t, you can live a little bit better. You paying taxes, you exposed to more sh*t… but RIP Dolph. He was a real one, man. Key Glock, Jay Fizzle, y’all both hold y’all head now.
“[Young Dolph] was one of these n** I wanted to be like, because n** was a trapper that made it rapping, n**. Like what the f*ck? He lived that street sh*t, and the street sh*t and the rap life is very similar except you’re making legal money. “