June 14, 2024
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Madd Maxxx

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Welcome back and thanks once again for joining us for another fresh new edition of the Faygoluvers’ Underground Spotlight. In this interview we take a look in to the career of a very hard working and humble artist. Madd Maxxx has been making moves lately and we get a chance to discuss his latest album, video and much more. This is one I’d definitely take the time to read through(not that you shouldn’t read all of them, because you should… seriously, go read them, I can wait). Maxxx shows his passion, dedication and willingness to open up with the depth of this interview.

Of course, before I ramble on as I usually do… let’s get started.

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Johnny O: First, welcome to the Faygoluvers’ Underground Spotlight. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to start things off?

Madd Maxxx: Well first off thank you Faygoluvers and you Johnny for giving me the spotlight for a minute, I’ve been reading ever since the site was called FaygoluversHeaven. As far as me, what can I really say? I go by Madd Maxxx, have for 12 years now, I used to go by DarKNesS for a while at the beginning but that was short lived. I’m an underground lyricist from the East Coast, which includes NY, NJ, and more recently MA but I’ve lived all over. I’ve been doing this for 15 years unofficially but about 11 or 12 years professionally. I’ve worked with a few different “labels” over the years but more or less I make music on my own finding beats where I can and just generally demolishing tracks when I touch them. Hopefully I’ll cover anything I’m forgetting or leaving out with the rest of these questions.

JO: While many of us hate to be shoehorned into a genre, every perspective fan would want to know how you would describe your sound?

MM: Sick Hop, point blank 100% no questions asked. That’s always what I’ve done although it wasn’t until 2006 that I figured the name out. I’ve been told The Gravediggaz coined the term but through the research I’ve done I can’t find anything to confirm that. So aside from them, I’m going on record as saying I’m one of if not the only actual pioneer for Sick Hop in the scene as we see it now. There have been others to use the term but none have ever done it justice, in my opinion. Listen to my music and listen to anyone else in the “horrorcore” or “wicked underground” genres, it becomes clear that whether better than me or worse no one else does it like I do. I’m not hating on anyone with that statement because lord knows I aint the best out here, I just know that my sound and style is unique. That said though, I claim Sick Hop as my own and I’m always ready to defend that claim lyrically. My lyrics have an Eastern edge to them but my flow is heavily Midwestern most times as I was heavily influenced by rappers like Tech N9ne, Twista, and D.O.D. when I was a teenager/young adult. I can’t even rightly describe it, people just need to listen and they’ll get it.

JO: Can you give us a little insight into what made you want to chase this dream in the musical world?

MM: No shit, it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a kid, but when I was younger I figured it would be rock I got into since that’s mostly what I got down on. I was 100% a metal fan before I found Rap and the Wicked Shit, the first album I ever bought with my own money was White Zombie’s La Sexorcisto at a record store in Long Beach Island NJ, and the next I think was The Bleeding by Cannibal Corpse. Once I found ICP though? Done deal, been a Juggalo since ’97 when Milenko came out. And that would define my path until 2004 when Violent J would hear a song I did (Come N Get Me, incidentally) while listening to a live cast of Hells Pit that HatchetRadio was doing for ninjas who couldn’t afford the album. A friend who worked with them played my song, he liked it, and then he flew me out to MI to re-record the song he heard. I’m still blown away by that, my mother has the plane ticket somewhere. Obviously that never went anywhere, and I have some theories on why (that mostly involve me being a young dumbass), but it showed me that I have actual viable potential in music and so from there I decided I would really take it seriously and here we are almost 12 years later. And I’ll never stop, trust and believe that, I’m talented I’m determined and I’m patient.

JO: Now, you’ve been doing this for a little while and have several different releases, but it seems like the upcoming, “Where thx Wxld Thxngs Are,” is slated to be your biggest release to date. What’s different about this project and what can fans expect?

MM: This is the first time I’ve ever been able to really get all my ducks in a row when it came to putting a project together. The beats are all leased which I know is janky as shit but compared to my past track record of recording over any beat I could find tags or no tags I think it’s a good step up. Plus custom beats are expensive and I have 3 kids so there’s a lot of other things my money needs to go to. The beats on WTWTA for the most part came from a contest I won on the I believe now defunct illiennation.com called “Who’s the Illest?” (mostly Cryptic Wisdoms thing if memory serves) and one of the things in the prize package (one of the few things I actually got) was a beat package from Tristan on the Track (who is dope as fuckin hell, by the way). After that he gave me a deal on a few more beats to round out the tracklist and there’s 2 beats I had from a producer who reached out years ago going by Cartier Beats. Case in point it came together the same way any of my projects do which is haphazardly and almost completely at random, but this time there was a more clear definition of what the end result was supposed to be so realizing the vision was much more realistic. The first video I ever did for myself was for this album and the cover that Mr. 8 Legz did for it just gives it so much more of a polished feel, I’ve told him this before but I’ll say on record seeing the cover he made for this absolutely inspired me to make the album better, I felt like if he can do that well I better follow suit. Funny thing is Im already thinking projects ahead now that this one is finished, this is 12 years in the making the album but I feel like it’s just a jumping off point. This album is different because the end result is frankly some of the best work I’ve ever done, even if it took me 2+ years to finally make it happen

JO: You just recently dropped a video for the title track off the new album, how was the shoot? Did everything goes as planned and how do you feel it turned out?

MM: I like the video for what it is, the first video I’ve ever done for my own music. It didn’t all go exactly as we planned it to and a lot of things we improvised on the spot but I think it came out well enough. I know little to nothing about videography so I had very little to offer in the way of suggestion during shooting, a fact that will change before the next time I shoot a video (which will be fairly soon). Point blank, I think some things could have been better but for what it is I’m happy with it, not to mention it was awesome having people come through and show out for the video shoot because things like that are rare with me. All in all that video is a lot like When Darkness Approaches, basically the first song I recorded in the horrorcore genre. It’s technically sound and there’s prowess to be found therein, but production wise it leaves a little to be desired. Its whatever though, I have plenty of videos left in me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKr0RocmGks

JO: Would you say this song is a good representation of what fans can expect from the album?

MM: Oh most certainly, the song itself is one of the stronger tracks on the album but they all shine in their own ways. I got really vicious on this album because after 11 years of being the black sheep of a black sheep genre I decided I’d finally speak on it. Ever notice how I’m never on anyone else’s tracks or anything like that? You can listen to even my first track and you’ll see that lyrically I 100% hold my own with all of what you could call my “competition”, so it’s not like I’m not skilled. The fact is that most cats out here just straight don’t like me. I’m a suburban Jew who showed up out of nowhere in a genre dominated by less-than-savory Catholic/Christian guys with tough upbringings and I lyrically dominated almost all of them, and that’s usually by their own admission. I was never shady to anyone but somehow I was always the odd man out, no matter where I was. I try to be humble all the time but at a certain point you just want to say “Fuck that, I’m gonna get my due”. That’s what this song and really the whole album is all about.

JO: After you many releases through various outlets, what made you decide on your current label? This release, as I said, looks to be you biggest to date, so what made you choose Brix2ThaStix as the home for, “Where thx Wxld Thxngs Are?”

MM: Brix2ThaStix started out as a way to help me and a fellow artist Wayne Da Payne get more of a foothold in the scene with our impending releases but it really turned into a true home as far as my music is concerned. Brix2ThaStix is the last label I’ll ever join, which if you’ve followed my career you know means something. Long story short until we find our shark-minded manager (our Travis O’Guin if you will) we’re handling everything management related ourselves which at least personally I’ve never done before, all I ever oversaw was the music. Brix2ThaStix is meant to represent the crazy nature of underground Rap/Sick Hop/Whatever you want to call it, it really reaches from the inner cities all the way out to the farms and mountains, Bricks to the Sticks, you know? The origin story isn’t just mine though so when I get the crew together for a vlog or something we’ll go into that further.

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JO: Is there any insight you can give us on when and how fans can get their hands on a copy of the album when it drops?

MM: I’m still working on the particulars but there will be limited pressings of the physical album and it’ll be released online, if all goes well through the usual outlets like iTunes, Amazon, so forth and so on. brix2thastix is where to go for the up to date info on whatever it is I’m doing business wise when it comes to my art. Trust me though, once the details are finalized you’ll be seeing plenty of info on where to cop the album, I’m doing everything 100% official this time around.
JO: For those who want to hear more from you, where can they go? .)

Social media presence is as follows:
Facebook –  I haven’t run this myself for some time now but that is probably going to change going forward
Instagram: @TheWxldThxngKxng
Twitter: @ThWxldThxngKxng
ReverbNation: Madd Maxxx
That’s pretty much it but http://www.brix2thastix.com/ is definitely the place to go for all things Maxxx

JO: So, who would say have been your influences? The ones that really made you want to pursue this dream?

MM: Shit, I don’t know. I have that weird thing most performers have where we’re really introverted and strange so of course the only way to make peace with that fact is to get up in front of strangers and somehow make a performance of your insecurities and pain as a way to mentally justify it to yourself. I started writing lyrics because I hated my classmates and wanted to kill them all but that usually ends with prison or suicide so my father said “Why not just write a song and kill them all there? You cant get in trouble for that”, that’s how Classtime Horror came to be, even though the first version I wrote sounded nothing like the song that came out (long story). Honestly I’ve just always loved writing and performing and inexplicably Underground Rap was the avenue I chose to pursue, and to that end all I’m really pursuing is success in that field. I don’t want to be rich or famous or none of that shit, I just want to say I found professional success within music. I never looked at someone famous and said “Yeah, I want that life”. I just always knew I wanted to be in front of a crowd.

JO: On the other side of this, who or what would you say have been your strongest inspirations? Your biggest supporters and motivators? Those that make you never what to give up?

MM: My wife and my kids, straight up. I didn’t even really know what I was doing with my life until I became a father, it put everything in perspective for me. Before then it was just what I did because it was what I did, now I do it to someday support my family. It makes me just want to be better in everything I do. Beyond that its my parents, and I know that might sound lame but fuckin whatever, they paid cash to have In The Absence of Sanity pressed and basically supported me at every point of my career. Are they fans? No, not really, but they never once told me what I do is stupid or a waste of my time, they’ve always been behind me. And of course there’s the fans. Every single one, not a single person excluded, if you rock with Madd Maxxx now or ever I love you for real. You seriously don’t know how much it does for my mental state to go on YouTube and see a new comment on a 5 year old video/song. My family and such is my motivation in life, yes, but the fans were the ones who really showed me time and time again that not only I can do this, I kind of need to. People reconsider suicide listening to m, that feels a responsibility to me.

JO: And who or what would we currently find you both listening to at the moment?

MM: Stand up comedy on Pandora and instrumentals. I hate to quote another rapper pertaining to my process but I heard Kendrick Lamar say once that he prefers not to listen to other artists when he’s writing so it doesn’t influence his work and I always felt that way but never knew the right way to say it. I listen to rappers then get inspired but I realized that when that happens I want to write like them because I liked what I just heard so much, and that shit is played out. I want to sound like me and only me. I still bump a lot of underground classics from time to time but mostly I’m just trying to write.

JO: Looking forward, where do you see Madd Maxxx at in, let’s just say five years?

MM: Same place I am now: making music doing shows and raising my family, I just figure I’ll have more fans and hopefully more money.

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JO: Is there any thing that you may currently have in the works you could let us in on?

MM: Just Where Thx Wxld Thxngs Are for now, I’m focusing on that. I’ve been writing for a new project called “The End of the Beginning” but that’s still so early on there’s nothing to share about it, other than it’ll be an EP and all the songs will have videos that tie into each other. Merch and whatnot for the album will be detailed and released as it comes, we have some great designs but need to get everything finalized. There’s gonna be a release party in MA but as far as shows go? If you want me in your state get me booked and help me pay travel, I’ll pay some of my own way if it’s a worthwhile trip. I’m down to play anywhere but I can only go where I’m booked. Touring is something I would love to do but only if I can make it worthwhile, touring can destroy you financially and emotionally if you don’t do it properly, especially with a family at home.

JO: Know you’ve worked alongside many large names in the underground scene, but if you had the chance to reach out to any other artist for a collaboration, who would it be?

MM: You know who I really want to work with? George Vlahakis. Because if I worked with him not only do I think I would get to artistically collaborate with every artist I’ve ever wanted to and then some, but I think my career would reach levels unimaginable to me. That dude is a shark. Anyone who sees behind the curtain of the underground knows that guy is one of the hardest working people in it, not to mention one of the best period. Most people look up to other rappers and what not right? I look up to the managers. The Travis O’Guins and William Dails and indeed Alex Abiss’ and so on. Know why? Art is easy to create for talented artists, but marketing art is insanely difficult even for people who are industry veterans. It requires a person who effectively and efficiently operates left and right brain activity, literally merging Music and Business not just in practice but in concept and idealization. I have massive respect for that. I’ve been told more times than I can count “you should be bigger than you are”. Yeah, you’re right, but I know nothing about music as a business other than as a performer. I’m an artist through and through, and anyone who really knows this game can tell you 9.5 times out of 10 that wont cut it. Guess I have to learn though huh? If you want a better answer than that I guess I’d like to work with Michael “Se7en” Summers or Kuma or Fritz the Cat (again, on my own project), I’m more interested in producers and engineers than rappers, Twiztid is the only “act” I can really say I want to work with artistically but realistically I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to afford that and frankly, I’m not gonna mentally go into who I want to work with knowing that it’s probably just not gonna happen unless they decide they want me on their shit. “Star power” don’t impress me and game recognize game, straight like that.

JO: I always hate this part, but ti’s time to end another Underground Spotlight interview. I always like to go out on a high not, so how about a few shout outs before we go? 

MM: Well first and foremost all the love in the world goes to you, y’all, the ones reading this interview giving my career direction and purpose, I fuckin love you. Big ups to the people behind the scenes at Brix2thaStix helping to make shit happen, my big homie and label mate Wayne Da Payne most importantly. All the homies at USR, Weird Die Young and Outland Camp, representing dope underground music in New England for a decade plus. Much love still goes out to HyTown Records, I would’ve never come to MA without y’all and I didn’t forget that. Oh, and MASSIVE love goes to Scum and basically everyone LSP or Slo-Pain related, those cats show mad love and they’re some of the realest in the underground, straight up. I’ve lived in CO a few times and it’s my favorite place in the fuckin world, has been since way before legalization. Other than that, I mean who even fucks with me anymore? The Wikid One shows me love sometimes and I play COD with Psycho Jesus on occasion but pretty much everyone else fucked off and I’m cool with that. Anyone wants my attention I’m easy to find. I got love for everyone who has love for me, point blank plain and simple.

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Well, that’s about all we’ve got for you this time around Fam. I hope you enjoyed this in depth look at one of the Underground’s rising artists. I have to thank Madd Maxxx and the whole Brix2thaStix family for everything. If you enjoyed what you read, heard or saw make sure to grab, “Where Thx Wxld Thxngs Are.” Also, head over to any of the links below to check out more of what’s to come.

Now before I officially sign off, as always if you would like to be featured right here on the Underground Spotlight, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]. Make sure to include a short bio, why you would like to/should be featured, a track or two and a couple of pics. Of course, don’t forget to include UGS or something similar in the subject line. So, until next time…

Peace,

Johnny O.

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