Maxo Kream’s ‘Punken’ is Houston rap at its rawest and most narrative form

maxo kream
maxo kream

Maxo Kream welcomes 2018 with his debut album..

Stand out Tracks: "Roaches," "Love Drugs," "Astrodome Pt. 2," "Bussdown."

Release Date: January 12th, 2018

          Houston, Texas has produced a long list of singers and rappers that include Beyonce, Travis Scott, UGK, Scarface, Slim Thug to name a few so finding your own sound is the key to seperating yourself within the talent. For the most part, rappers from Houston have distinguished themselves in Hip-Hop with laid back flows and wordplay that is accentuated by their signature deep Southern voice. Real name Emekwanem Ogugua Biosah Jr., rapper Maxo Kream keeps the raw Houston sound in his music, but like Travis Scott, has found his unique flow while maintaining the storytelling in his raps. His quicker flow and trap production combines the songwriting of UGK and Scarface while his taste in production is influenced by the Atlanta trap sound. Maxo Kream's debut album titled Punken, comes after three strong tapes from 2013 up till 2016 that include QuiccStrikes, #Maxo187, and The Persona Tape respectively. Released under TSO Music Group and Kream Clicc, Maxo features only 3 other artists (young rapper Trippie Redd, D Flowers, and 03 Greedo) on the 14-track album; delivering a personal piece of work that is as visual as it is auditory, which is a salute to Maxo's songwriting. 

Maxo Kream's Punken goes as hard you'd want your debut album to go, setting you up with a set list that will always feel too short. Not short because Punken simply doesn't have enough tracks, it actually sits pretty at 14-songs, but because every single song is hype. Each track tells a story about his life that fans can relate to while the trap production is enough to sell out a venue if the clever wordplay wasn't even present. Maxo's debut is an introduction with a 14-course meal, but even that isn't enough to get you full; Maxo will undoubtedly form a loyal cult-like following that will fund his career. Maxo Kream's ever-flowing wordplay is evident from the beginning of the album on "Work" and "Grannies" where not even one gasp for air can be heard amidst the storytelling.

"See the streets is all I knew, pimps and prostitutes
I never owned a suit, I was known to shoot
Now I want that Bentley Coupe, shootin' stars inside my roof
Where I'm from, if you a star, you handle rocks or shootin' hoops"

His lawlessness and unforgiving delivery is described throughout "Capeesh" while the bouncy and catchy anthem "Bussdown" may be the catchiest track on the album. On the seventh track Maxo pays homage to the Queen of Houston by producing a trap anthem produced by Sonny Digital titled, "Beyonce (interlude)" that sees him snap shouting out all kinds of names. Following the trap anthem comes three of the highlights off the album that describe two things he takes recreationally; and that's Drugs and Women on "Love Drugs," "Pop Another," and "Astrodome Pt. 2." By the end of the album Maxo has covered pretty much every topic unapologetically and viciously even speaking on the current state of new rappers on "Roaches."

"Back when the face tatts was for OG killas
Now I'm seein' tear drops on you soundcloud niggas
Remember back when music had content and metaphors
Way before the mumble nonsense and poppin' handlebars"

In addition to Punken being his debut album, it's also his first project since being arrested, which shines light to Maxo's unmerciful delivery, but level-headed writing. It may not be far into 2018, but Punken is my favourite album thus far and will be the first name coming out of my mouth for music recommendations. Houston stand up.

Find some of the highlights off Punken on the City Soundcheck playlist via Spotify.

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