Image: Justin Heron 

Maxo Kream is a natural-born storyteller.

Born Emekwanem Ogugua Biosah Jr. and raised in Southwest Alief (notoriously referred to as S.W.A.T), the Nigerian-American rapper returns with his third studio album, Weight of the World, where listeners can hear about the duality of his life. The project is inspired by the loss of his brother Mmadu “Money Du” Biosah, and the celebration of becoming a new father.

Growing up, Maxo lived abundantly. Life at home was that of the typical child一playing football and going outside with friends after school. It wasn’t until his father went to prison for six years that his life would change. Following his father’s imprisonment, Maxo would get introduced to gang life, serve time in jail, and he created the rap clique that started it all for him一Kream Clicc. He would later create a lifestyle brand he named after his late brother, called Persona. 

“It’s always been Kream Clicc Gang, but at the same time, Persona came because that was the brand we were pushing, and he [Money Du] would be on that Persona shit,” Maxo explains. “Once he passed away, it made all of us boss up, the way Money Du wanted us to be --- united, pushing.”

Navigating life in S.W.A.T without his father, Maxo would succumb to street life, citing that his main influences in music weren’t other rappers, but street legends. His music serves as a reflection of what the streets had to offer, being inducted into the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips, and going to jail for engaging in organized crime in 2016, following the release of the “Hoova” music video. Now, at 31, he’s releasing Weight Of the World, where he narrates his life journey. 

Maxo Kream and his father, Emakwanem Ogugua Biosah Sr.

Image: Justin Heron

“I had a normal childhood. We were in a rough environment, but we didn’t see that, we were kids,” Maxo explains. “But at the same time, I think that’s how street life really caught up with us. We were really in the streets.”

Following his brief stint in jail, his cousin Lyndon would introduce him to rapping, and he’d later become one of Houston’s hottest artists. He kicked off his music career with his mixtapes Quicc Strikes and #Maxo187.  

On the latest album, Maxo’s storytelling is superior; unlike its predecessors, Punken (2018) and Brandon Banks (2019), Weight Of The World indicates the reinvention of Maxo and marks a new chapter of his life. “My fans have watched me go from trigga Maxo, talking about shooting up car seats to preaching, telling the real,” Maxo tells Houstonia, reflecting on his almost decade-long tenure in the music industry. 

Opening with “Cripstian,” a track that combines his Crip gang affiliation with his seemingly Christian spirituality, Maxo takes a menacing ghetto gospel approach, where he battles with an existential crisis, and questions his spirituality in his lyrics, rapping, “before I spend my life in jail, I’d rather die and burn in hell.” He paints a brilliant picture of his childhood story on “Greener Knots,” and solemnly mourns the loss of his brother on “Local Joker,” detailing how the tragic loss affected him, his family, and his community. Madu’s death would be felt by the city of Houston, as many paid tribute to him through candlelight vigil.

Weight Of The World lives up to its moniker. “I carry my family on my back and my squad on my back. I’m raising my daughter and my brother’s daughter. R.I.P. Money Du. I got a lot on my shoulders,” Maxo explains. The project’s release date also holds deep significance, as October 18 honors the birth of his niece, and the day his cousin Woodrow passed away. 

The album is Maxo’s most experimental project to date, sonically. You find him pivoting from his usual, with deep Houston connections, production from Hit-Boy, and features from some of the music industry’s most popular artists, including Tyler The Creator, A$AP Rocky, Freddie Gibbs, and fellow Houston natives Don Toliver, along with StompDown label mate Monaleo. 

Maxo offers fans an intimate journey through his life with Weight Of The World. While the project serves as a tribute to his late brother, it’s also a reminder of the Houston rapper’s resilience, grit, and fortitude. “I’ve really just been rolling with the punches,” Maxo explains, reflecting on the loss of his brother. “Anything that comes my way is just going to make me come back harder.”

Stream Weight Of The World on streaming platforms now. 

 

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