"Who's Hot?" Interview
By: Omar Cook
This week's "Who's Hot?" Artist of the week is East Coast rapper, Maui Max! This 25 year old artist was born in Newark, New Jersey but now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve interviewed a lot of talented artists on this platform, and this is easily one of the most under the radar rappers out right now. Maui Max brings a dope flow with raw lyrics and just about every song is a banger in it’s own right. He does a good job of making music you can vibe to, and music you can turn up to while still holding true to his own originality. Slept on is an understatement, and if you’re looking for new music for your playlist, this artist has to be added.
We talked with Maui Max in an exclusive interview, check it out below!
QUESTION: How long have you been making music and how did you get started?
Maui Max: Been making music seriously for about 6 years. I moved from Jersey to Georgia in 2011, got a job at a clothing store and one of the managers told me I looked like somebody who would hang out with his little brother lol. So one day he introduced me then me and bro been rocking ever since, come to find out he does music not only rap, but produces and engineers as well. I always wanted to rap but at the time I didn’t think it was realistic and in Jersey there weren’t many platforms or studios that I knew of. Being a fly on the wall and watching the homies work, doing features here and there and being pushed to take it seriously, I said why not? I’m going to make my own mixtape and it was on from there.
QUESTION: Musically, who has been your biggest influence in helping you along your journey and who are your favorite musicians?
Maui Max: My biggest influence can’t just be one person, it’s a whole plethora of artists I look up to but if I had to name any off top it would be Pac, Jay Z, Nas, Curren$y, Dom Kennedy, Schoolboy Q, Cole, Wiz, Cudi, and the late great Nipsey Hussle not just because he’s gone now. People that know me knows what he meant to me alive. It’s hard because i’m a rap music guy and so many artist have a big influence on who I am as a person and style as an artist. 9/10 if they from LA they probably had an impact on me at some point, I love the culture and authenticity of the westcoast.
QUESTION: What artists would you like to collaborate with and why?
Maui Max: Most people I would like to collab with are people I would like to just sit down and chop it up with, get game, ask questions, build far beyond music, people who I identified with and said “We be thinking the same shit.” So I guess it would be my idols and influencers I named previously. I don’t really have anybody in particular i’m just dying to work with, I let stuff like that happen naturally. Matter fact, Pharrell, when he collabs with artists he brings this classic feeling.
QUESTION: What do you feel is your best song/project ever released and why?
Maui Max: TO ME my favorite song that I released will probably be “Work” produced by the homie Waitmattno. The bars and flow are effortless and when people want to hear me for the first time that is my go to track. It gets people moving. Song is so old but timeless, I had a lot to get off my chest and I was angry because somebody told me that my music was alright so I said i’ll show them how alright I am and boom, everyone’s favorite song by me was made lol. It’s been so hard to recreate something like that.
QUESTION: What projects can we look forward to in the near future?
Maui Max: I have my first full length project dropping summer time 2019 executively produced by the dude I said I met and got me into music LaCo. It’s so dope so far I can’t wait for people to hear it and also see the visuals, it’s a reintroduced me. Don’t have a name for it yet as I like things to come naturally, we just building the product til it’s ready 100%.
QUESTION: How do you generate new ideas for your music?
Maui Max: Live. I just speak about what i’m feeling. I feel like you can never run out of ideas if you just being you.
QUESTION: What motivates you and how do you define success?
Maui Max: My kids motivate me, I got 2 boys, the world motivates me, cause I love it so much but hate it at times. I always wanted to go out in a blaze of glory fighting for what I believe in and that’s the betterment of my people. When it’s my time to go I want my boys to be able to say I was a real G. I want the world to remember and carry my name, I want to set a blueprint for them. That’s success to me, forget about the money give me a platform to say what I feel needs to be said and done to change lives. I’m also motivated by working for other people because I hate it.
QUESTION: How do you describe your music to people and what separates you from other artists in your genre?
Maui Max: I just say I don’t rap like anybody you’ve heard and that’s because I really believe that. Nobody sounds like me and I don’t sound like anybody. Especially people my age and coming up like I am. I rap how I think a dope rapper should approach a beat not what I think everybody wants to hear.
QUESTION: Do you believe there is a formula to being a successful artist?
Maui Max: Music is powerful. There’s definitely blueprints to follow but I think you can pick and choose what you think would work for you, there’s no right or wrong way to do this and that’s the beauty of it, I think people who want to make money come up with all these analytics and cheat codes but if you genuinely want to reach people you just got to be you, be relatable. Say something, help raise these kids through your music.
QUESTION: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Maui Max: Hands down Hov, could have been Nipsey if given more time (RIP) but look at where Hov came from and where he’s at. The fact that he’s basically 50 and selling out american tours and can drop a album and it’s a big event alone proves that. When that man talks, we listen.
QUESTION: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
Maui Max: It’s a mix of everything because I’ve been through so much these past couple of years, it really just depends on how i’m feeling in that moment. I’m human and I display that in the music.
QUESTION: What sacrifices have you had to make, to make your dream a reality?
Maui Max: Giving up drugs, I have my fun, but I started realizing that partying hard and doing things to tear up my body was taking a toll on what I was making when I really thought it was helping. Having to record in a hot ass garage sweating non stop just to get things done that I might not even like. Taking time away from my kids wishing I can be with them more. Spending my last to make sure I get good quality product so y’all can take me seriously. A whole lot more.
QUESTION: What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Maui Max: I don’t get excited until the song is done. Most times I already have a pre thought on how I think it will sound and if it doesn’t come out how I thought or want, i’m hurt. So once the main parts of a song is done that’s when I REALLY start to get creative that’s the part that excites me. The writing process can be discouraging sometimes because I can’t always think of something dope to say and I start to overthink. I put a lot of thought into what I put out. Im starting to break out of that though and just free myself and have fun again while still keeping the integrity of the music alive.
QUESTION: Where do you see yourself and your music in 10 years?
Maui Max: Lord willing doing big things, things I always knew I would do, things I never thought I could do. Owning businesses, opening schools, being a real boss.
QUESTION: What advice would you give to other up and coming artists or people looking to break into the music industry?
Maui Max: If you need to, it’s okay to take a break, don’t kill yourself. I went crazy about this thing a million times, it really messes with your head and that’s why you always see these depressed artists. You got hella time, take it to make the best product possible and not the quickest. Also, know what you doing it for if you want to last long, have a purpose, a goal that music can open the doors for. You think big you’ll be big, we different, don’t let small minded people talk you into thinking you tripping I promise you’re not.
QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your music?
Maui Max: Everything I say in my music are real emotions and things that I go through whether it’s a hype song or something you can just ride to. You never have to worry about me fabricating anything or being something i’m not; I give you the good and the bad. Some songs may be a cry for help, some may be me just saying i’m good now and I was bugging but you’ll always know its coming from me.