Don’t Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape: A Wave Called Yes
Headliners: Max B and Young Riot
Key Cameos: “Living the Life” (featuring Curren$y)
Essential Info: Max B said his wave just doesn’t dry up. While the New York MC awaits his appeal of a decades-long prison sentence for manslaughter and various other charges, his music is still being heard. Amalgam Digital recently released a mixtape by the spitter and the upstart Young Riot.
“That’s me and my young god, Young Riot,” Max said on the phone from the New Jersey State Penitentiary. “He’s holding it down while I’m up in the spot. We got a few treats on there. I remember the night we did them. [The executives at Amalgam] drove me out to Boston, 2 in the morning. I went out there and drank a 60 of Hennessey and knocked out the whole tape. Knocked the tape out in one night. That’s what professionals do. This is when I was going to trial. They came and got me on a Friday or Saturday, I had to be back on Sunday, Monday morning to go back to court. It was a real busy week. I was really busy on trial. For the music to come out that good while I was on trial, that was surprising to me. That just let me know, no matter how long I’m gone from the game, I’m still a natural. I still can make quality work. I’mma still be Biggavelli.”
Amalgam is going to let A Wave Called Yes rock for the summer then drop Max’s solo LP, Vigilante Season. B recently won a court case to be freed from his contract with Jim Jones, who discovered him.
“We recorded 40 songs in three weeks,” Max said of his dealings with Amalgam last year. At the time, he was still contractually bound to Jones and did not know if the music would be allowed to be released. “Nonstop in the summertime. Vigilante was real special to me. It was like they giving me a shot. Even if it wasn’t coming out, they gave me the feel of just going to do the album. I was doing it my way.”
As for when Max will be free to record again, he says it’s in God’s hands now. The rapper’s appeal could take between 18 months and three years to be resolved. If he loses that appeal, it could be an additional three years before he can appeal again. Max was sentenced to 75 years in prison in September 2009 for conspiracy, robbery, manslaughter and a myriad of other crimes. The jurors in the case felt there was ample evidence to convict him of the 2005 robbery of two men in a Fort Lee, New Jersey, hotel room. One of the men was shot and killed. Max wasn’t at the scene of the crime, but the prosecutors built their case with him as the mastermind. Max still denies being involved. His stepbrother Kelvin Leerdam was also convicted in the matter, and Max’s former girlfriend Gina Conway was involved as well but eventually testified against the men. Leerdam is serving time along with Max.
“I always kinda had that problem with finding the right people,” Max said of the choices that led him to prison, right as he appeared to be on the verge of mainstream recognition. “People always say you gotta surround yourself with people who have your best interests in mind. I always found that hard to do, because when you’re in my situation, everybody acts like they got your best interests, but they don’t. We know who got your best interests — your mother, your father, your kid’s mother, whatever. Your immediate family. But you can’t have them on the road with you every day. You gotta be around your n—as.
“You gotta pick them carefully,” he added. “I always had a problem with picking the right people I surround myself with. That’s always been my downfall, ever since I was a little kid. That’s something I gotta learn off experience. This is definitely an experience. The toughest sh– I been through in my life. You already know when I beat this, it’s gonna be beautiful. I just can’t wait. That’s the only thing keeping me going. Me saying [to myself], ’Max, when you beat this, it’s gonna be a whole new lane out there for you.’ Me being able to attack this sh– right and make a living for my mother and my kids and be a good productive [citizen] in society. I’m a G. My moms raised me as a G. The only reason you don’t hear me stressing out, I know I’m coming home and I know I’m coming home soon.”
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