West Up. We recently sat down with an artist named Maxx 39 for our latest interview. Maxx has a unique sound and background, having been raised and influenced by both coasts (New York and Los Angeles), as well as several other musical genres besides hip-hop. It’s helped him to create music that is not only very original, but built around creative themes. We caught up with him to talk about his early influences, the thought process behind his projects and much more. You can read it below and listen to his latest album “Everything Happens For A Reason” by clicking here.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Let’s start off with your name – Maxx 39 – why did you choose that name? What significance does it have for you?
Maxx 39: 39 came from my favorite numbers being 3 and 9 but there is so much more to it. It’s the math that goes along with the numbers and all of that. Maxx comes from my birth name, Maxwell. I added two X’s to Max because I didn’t like how it looked on paper at school and all of that and plus there was mad Max’s in my school and ironically where I work now so it differentiates me from the others.
WestCoastRydaz.com: How old were you when you became interested in music, and when did you start to write raps?
Maxx 39: I always recall it in 4th grade when I really was writing things down with my homeboy and as I grew from then, there wasn’t a time where I did not write. I’ve been interested in music since I can remember. Dad was a huge musical influence with his piano playing and singing knowledge. He always had an eclectic group of sounds playing and I adapted to that and what was poppin with my peers.
WestCoastRydaz.com: You represent for both coasts – New York and Los Angeles – how did that happen?
Maxx 39: My mother is from Puerto Rico and moved to New York as a child. My father from is from Kentucky and moved to New York when he was about 30 maybe to pursue an acting career. They met and got married in New York, lived in Brooklyn for a minute and moved to West Los Angeles to birth me. All my family is from New York, mainly Staten Island so I always say peace to Shoalin on the New York side of things. That’s where I was living when I was in college in Long Island and after I dropped out. So New York is in my blood and Los Angeles molded me to get ready to live on the East Coast permanently for sure. I love both cities and say peace to my love ones from both places.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Both cities are well known for their place in hip-hop history, how much has living in each influenced your music and point of view as an artist?
Maxx 39: Big time. All my main influences are from New York. Pun, BIG, Nas, Big L, Wu Tang. All the classic West Coast and underground West Coast artist molded me in another way as far as looking to different sounds and drum patterns, beat sounds and song structures and things like that. I love West Coast classics like Dre, Snoop, Cube, Eazy…but the cats that really help frame my style aside from the East Coast heavyweights were dudes like Souls of Mischief, Del the Funky Homosapien, Tha Alkaholiks, DJ Quik, The DOC, etc. But it helps having knowledge from both sides of the country to broaden my Hip Hop sights and vision.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Given your unique sound and allegiance to both coasts, who were your biggest musical influences?
Maxx 39: The cats I named previously were the main hubs of artist that made Maxx 39 who he is. Aside from them I can say KRS-One, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, De La Soul, Immortal Technique, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Gang Starr, Mos Def, EL-P, Aesop Rock. Then it goes into Pink Floyd who cast a HEAVY influence on my sound especially, The Beatles, The Clash, Nirvana, Mozart, Usher, Michel Jackson, Elton John. I can go forever but these guys are another group of people that create what is my musical prowess.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Aside from rapping, what other talents and avenues do you pursue in your musical career?
Maxx 39: Designing for sure. I have been designing clothes since maybe high school and I’ve been into fashion as long as I have for music. It goes hand and hand to me and now that I am older and established as a young man, I can create and sell my clothes and promote them in many creative ways as I can. Supporters can get my premier look book for my fashion line when they share my stuff online at certain times and/or when they come to live shows.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Have you always liked to produce as well?
Maxx 39: Producing is something I love to do. When I was in high school I was such a rapping machine that I was getting tired of rapping over industry beats so to speak. My primary style was very De La Soul and RZA influenced with a very hip-hop sound, simply putting melodic and drum samples together. Now I know how to really make songs with or without samples and produce with dope software and use my musical knowledge from my pops and from school to make my sound as A1 as I can.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Your newest album “Everything Happens For a Reason” has a very powerful and artistic cover, why did you choose a cover like that?
Maxx 39: Well when I was creating this project, in the back of my mind I knew I wanted the cover art to be drawn. I didn’t know what exactly but I knew I wanted to be artistic as hell. So I reached out to some artists with no luck, but then came across a San Franciscan artist by the name of Jon Stich. I had done a photo shoot with my boy Lawrence Turner who does all my photography and we took the picture that I wanted to be captured artistically. I sent it to Jon and he came out with what you see now and it makes me so happy that something so dope will be represented in my discography forever. Peace to Jon Stich, he is amazing.
WestCoastRydaz.com: How important is art and creative design in accompanying your projects?
Maxx 39: Very important. It speaks the album before you press play. This cover is me, trapped in a mysterious place, blindfolded and bleeding, screaming for answers, which then plays out in the album sonically. For my first joint, Collections, the same thing applies. The cover art showcases the many different song titles in the album. It is so important on my creative behalf to capture the consumer’s attention and paint the picture of what they are about to listen to.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Your music has very detailed and focused themes, what inspired you to take those routes?
Maxx 39: I stated before that Pink Floyd is a huge influence on me. Not only is their music amazing to me, but the way they made it, song-wrote, structured their songs…it all trickles down to how I like to make music. Every song is a chapter in the book, so to say. It all might not register the first time but that’s where the replay value comes in to play. The themes I explore in both albums are there for a reason (no pun intended) and speak to what the album means and brings it all together like a puzzle.
WestCoastRydaz.com: You have a unique sound, how would you describe it yourself?
Maxx 39: Thank you. I can say for the rest of my life I make “Hip Hop” music. Which is true of course but I don’t want to be defined by silly titles. I established my own little genre about three years ago: Hardcore Psychedelic Boom Bap. It covers all the fields in which I essentially create music with. Hardcore describes my primary style. Psychedelic is for the sounds I like to use…I am defiantly a stoner and love to have euphoric feelings from my music when I’m high. It also goes back to the Pink Floyd influence. The way their music makes you feel when you’re blazed is amazing. Boom Bap describes the roots in which the drum bangs in the speaker and the essence of classic hip hop influence that shaped me as an artist.
WestCoastRydaz.com: How did you end up having such a diverse sound? Were you ever tempted to pick one style or were you more interested in opening avenues for other diverse artists?
Maxx 39: I love so many different sounds of music period. I can never pick one piece of candy to say it analytically. I am so open to the different avenues of diversity, and I love being the black sheep…I love standing out and I love being unique. Every song is a new flavor, a new high a new rush, a new style, a new feeling a new emotion. A lot of artist have a lane that they ride with and sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. For me, naturally I blend with all types of sounds, rhythms and styles. You can’t say I have the same sound on any song back to back at least. I got 39 styles.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Your last album “Collections: Stumbling Upon Rhymes” came out 3 years ago. How did creating that affect your thought process for the new album?
Maxx 39: I knew I wanted this joint to be a sequel and create a back-story that will lead into more sequels and eventually make it a whole series. When I write, I write about life. So as life progressed during and after Collections dropped and was being created, I was still writing and creating new stuff. So it resonated with what I was going through and how I was living.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Tell us more about your new album, what were you hoping to convey with the project?
Maxx 39: I wanted to bring across a new way of thinking for a music consumer and listener. Song structure and song writing withholds no rules for me. So I wanted to explain that through musical ways. On the other side I love writing so much as though I treat my albums like books or movies. Any artist can say they an artist and put together some songs and call it an album. I want to make auditory movies and books. It allows my creations to manifest emotional and powerfully.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Can you elaborate on the album’s name and theme?
Maxx 39: Well be it that this is a sequel to Collections, I wanted to have a unique way of confirming that. Collections last track is called, “Everything Happens for a Reason”, so therefore it is the next albums name. So in the case that you are paying attention, you already know what my next albums title is going to be. And on top of that, Everything Happens for a Reason is the motto I live by. It isn’t a mindless cliché in my eyes but rather a way of life. A positive outlook to understand what is really good with this thing we call life haha it really speaks to my lifestyle and viewpoint on the universe.
WestCoastRydaz.com: What is next for you?
Maxx 39: Creating more music as always and going on tour for this album. I will be putting my own little unique tour called “Find 39 Tour”. It will feature 39 different appearances. They are all mysteries and will be revealed days or the day before the appearance. An appearance consists of Shows, Open mics, going to other peoples shows and showing up in random places. Each time, a certain amount of people who show up to “Find 39” first will receive all types of dope deals, like free threads, albums, half off prices on things and all that. So that I am excited for…it starts in late November and will carry on till all appearances are complete.
WestCoastRydaz.com: Where can fans learn more about you and your future projects?
Maxx 39: Of course online. I can list ALL of my social media outlets:
WestCoastRydaz.com: Please feel free to let us know if there is anything else you’re working on or would like to mention.
Maxx 39: I appreciate the amazing, dope questions and just a simple stayed tuned for what’s next for the XXXIX Empire.