#IndieSpotlight

The Journey: Jersey Rapper Maxi Maxx Stays On The Grind

Maxi chats Meek Mill, industry politics, and more.

If one were to ask “who is the most played artist in Jersey via SoundCloud,” there’s a good chance Maxi Maxx May not be the first name to pop in your head — even though he ranks second in the state only to Fetty Wap with 50 million plays. The Jersey rapper has been in the game for just over seven years, working with some incredible notable acts along the way, like the recently released Meek Mill. So why hasn’t the young upstart ascended to the next level? He’s on his way.

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Currently, he’s connected with Interscope — strictly as a host for distribution of his music — but Maxx is hopeful the relationship could blossom further as he preps his full 2018 LP. Today, though, he’s reveling in positive feedback from his latest mixtape, Everybody Raps, which features (aside from his crew) vocals from songstress Kehlani (“Cum Thru”).

“This tape was just to let everybody know who I am,” he tells AAHH. “The official album is [going to drop] when they get more comfortable … this tape was just to let them know that I’m still here.”

It’s an understandable motivation; though he’s had some incredible looks, he’s had some disheartening false-starts and setbacks. His first significant opportunity came after a chance meeting with Meek Mill, who was impressed by songs off of Maxx’s Lazy K hosted debut.

 
Meek was interested in remixing one of Maxx’s records, but due to clearance issues Maxx couldn’t facilitate it; that led to them working on the song “Weak People,” which to date has over 1.6 million plays. “He sent it back 48 hours, no charge,” he says. “[Meek] was like ‘this one is on me, the next one is on you.’ Ever since then, we kept in contact. We were in touch through the whole Nicki Minaj relationship; he kept calling me, putting me on game … kept motivating me like that. Like a big brother.”

The deal was on the table, however — much to his chagrin — it was a writing deal for lesser-known MMG artists. As well, during that period, Maxx saw a situation his cousin Choo Biggz went through during a video shoot for the song “Tonight” featuring Tank, Fetty Wap, and 50 Cent. Though he was paid, Fif was a no-show. The experience left a bad taste in his mouth and jaded him on the prospect of signing to other artists.

 
“That’s what made me not want to sign to other artists because other artists don’t want to see you grow,” he states.

He’s grown from the situation, and is more motivated than ever; with a catalog that includes the likes of Jeremih, Weeknd, and Yachty, he is ready to be more than just an artist you’ve heard here or there. Instead, he’s aiming for the spotlight — and a chance to share his whole truth on a larger scale.

“I will be the best rapper then come out of Jersey,” he says with a laugh. “Shout out to Redman.”

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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#IndieSpotlight: N’awlins Rapper A. Levy Is Proclaiming Positivity Through His Music

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

New Orleans rapper A. Levy wears many hats: hip-hop artist, audio engineer, t-shirt brand owner, father, and husband. His music is a mixture of lyrical storytelling, and golden era aesthetics, and contemporary production. “I’m influenced by a lot of things and try to touch on subjects I feel are neglected,” he tells AAHH in an interview.

The celebrated emcee started off his career making parodies and remixes of radio songs. “I’m from New Orleans,” he says, “so Mac, Fiend, Mystikal, No Limit and the Cash Money camp influenced me,” he says, also naming Nas, Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar who give him inspiration from to pen songs.

His journey has been long, with many drops along the way. “To date, I’ve released too many projects to remember,” he says with a laugh. “I started off under the name Young Duece. After a conversation with a local radio personality, I changed it to the most natural thing I could think of … my name.” Some of his past projects include Commercial Break, Best You Never Heard Of, Crashed Harddrive, Super Ugly, Crescent City Classic, and a few others.

“Right now, I’m working on collecting original production with no samples,” he reveals. “My heart tells me to do samples, but financially that’s not the wisest move when it’s time for radio, tv, movie and video game placements.”

He’s received a ton of recognition thus far. “The Source has covered me, XXL, 2DopeBoyz, BBC, performed in Thailand, London, Aruba and successfully did three national tours all in the last three years.” That has all been independent, too. “I’ve [also] been nominated for and won a few NOLA music awards,” he says proudly.

“I record mix and master my music,” he adds. “I book my shows and do my PR, all while holding down a full-time job. My studio — The Hut Studios –has been a local staple for the last decade for some of the best indie artists in the area. In addition to all that I also throw monthly showcases and festivals in the states.”

He is quick to note his primary goal as amassing as much influence as possible. “I want to put my city in the best and most accurate light possible. We’re a city full of lyricists, pop artist, and street artist, but to date, only one part of our story has been told prominently. I want to be a part of spreading positivity.”

“I’m signed to myself. I don’t foresee myself signing any major label deals. I’ve personally had horror stories and heard twice as many from my peers,” he says. Next up is more touring. Bigger and better stages. Festivals, TV, and radio are all in play right now.”

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

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IllHD Drops A Triple Shot Of Soulful Fire With “Focus”

Rapper and filmmaker IllHD has a unique view of the world. Currently based in the cultural hub that is Atlanta,…

Rapper and filmmaker IllHD has a unique view of the world. Currently based in the cultural hub that is Atlanta, the creative force never genuinely working on new material; “I’m a filmmaker that raps about what I film, even if I’m filming another artist it’s like I am filming the soundtrack to what I see … then I rap about it,” he says.

His latest — Focus — is a three-song shot of dopeness. His bars are super poignant, relevant, and packed with reality. The title track, with its deep undertones, horns and spacey sounds, “Danger” with its Dipset-era-esque sample, and the low-key vibe of “Make It Out,” are great intros to Ill, if it’s your first impression.

Stream it now, via Spotify.

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Pressure Dommer Teases His New EP With ”Dopeman” Single/Video

The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

Orlando, Florida, rapper Pressure Dommer is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on his upcoming EP, 8. Set to be his biggest release to date since signing on with No Convo Entertainment — headed by acclaimed record producer Fye Jones — and to wet our appetites, has dropped off a new single and video, Dopeman.

Directed by Brill Adium, the shadowy visual is a cinematic experience, with Pressure on the late night grind; the at times frantic camera motion plays up the almost paranoia-ridden state of being experienced by a trafficker in the trap amid a sea of potential downfalls. The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

“I would describe my sound as reality music,” he tells AAHH, “very influential and soulful … full of jewels.” As he describes it, his grandad and grandma influenced him the most; “seeing them work hard to provide for multiple people — and do it from the bare minimum — [pushes me to strive for the best].

He also tells us that signing with No Convo rests among his most significant achievements. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I love and be supported by a company that believes in me,” he says.

With his eye on the prize, and the goal of creating a lasting legacy in the music industry, Pressure is one of the hungriest rappers we’ve come across in a minute. “We’re getting this project ready for the masses,” he confidently, pointing toward the near future. It’s about to be a hot summer!

Check out the visual, below. 

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Detroit’s Own Arius Is Our New Singer Crush

She has a gorgeous voice, and a great vibe about her.

23-year-old Detroit-native Arius is a star on the rise with a cadence that commands attention; her debut LP Pandora’s Box dropped last summer — and she’s about to drop another project this summer.

Her latest, the super impressive “4U,” is an airy R&B appetizer that’s building buzz as she finalizes her upcoming project Reality. The track itself gives off an aura reminiscent of Ashanti’s “Foolish,” in that it’s easily relatable for many females, making it an almost anthemic single that you could picture a packed audience singing along to. It definitely has replay potential.

Having rocked shows in cultural hubs like LA, Miami, and ATL — and releasing her music through independent label MafiaSoul Records — the songstress has her sights set on a major label look.

She has a gorgeous voice, and a great vibe about her; she’s an artist to put on your watch list. Check owut “4U,” below.

 

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