Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hyper Meets Maxsta

East London, the geographical birth place of grime, has popped out another specimen for us that is sure to fly the flag, into the next decade. Maxsta is from the new generation of young and pure grime spitters emerging. Who grew up listening to the classic days of grime as the music that shaped their route of inspiration. With Chipmunk, Griminal and even Devlin going from the young guys to watch, to current and future chart toppers, Maxsta is the new name on everyone's lips and finger tips. I caught up with him to talk Marvell's Double S, grime mc's going mainstream and The Maxtape... (Originally for MTV The Wrap Up)

How did you get into music and what’s your journey been like to get to this point?
It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, a lot of good times, some bad times but overall it’s been a good journey. I started off with a five pound microphone from Argos and a computer, with some of my boys in my bedroom after school, so its great to be here right now.

What and who were you listening to growing up?
Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Ghetts were my three favourite artists but I listened to a lot of music when I was younger. I was into grime right from the start, the first grime CD's I bought were JME's Shut Yuh Mut and Ghetto's 2000 and life. I feel like I fell in love with the sound right from the start, at the moment I can't go a day with out listening to some sort of grime, even if it's just my own music.

“I’m KISS you’re DEJA- I ain’t got time for your crew” - What crews and Mcs haven’t you got time for?
That lovely award there would have to go to Big H, there are not any crews I don’t like to be honest, but I don’t like big H at all!

Anyone you worked with, who you wished you hadn’t?

You were in the crew, Mucky Wolf Pack, what was the situation around you joining?
The wolf pack thing was just to do with me hanging around Bow E3, getting introduced to whole wolf pack team, and having my music heard by the older lot of the pack, like Gods Gift. I had to clash another MC on Roman Road which decided whether I was in or not. Thankfully I won, because it was one of the moves that shaped my career.

Why did you join Wolf Pack and not Nasty Crew, since this was the crew based around where you lived?
I'm from Newham so a lot of people ask me this question but its just a thing of, not really having any affiliation with any of Nasty Crew. So even if there was a chance of it happening, which would have been real cool, it just didn’t.

What happened to the Pack?
It got to a point where there were a lot of members, including Snoopy and Maniac, who had different ideas of what they wanted to do. I never actually wanted to leave but at the time there was some confusion going on with Wiley and Wolf pack. By that time I had affiliations myself with both sides, I didn’t want to have to cancel either partnership so I had to go solo.

A lot of people including myself, first heard you when you sent for Double S/Marvell, why did this beef even start?
I got a call from Jammer, talking about Lord Of The Mics 3 and he asked me who I might want to clash. I decided Double S. Many people don’t know this one, but Double S and me were meant to clash in 2007, when there was a little war season going on. Wiley rang me saying "Max, you want to clash Double S?" I never back down from a good challenge so I obviously said yes. The clash never happened, but I thought in 2009 I was ready to actually clash him and win. It kind of got out of hand because I weren't really feeling the way they dealt with the situation, trying to treat me like some little kid you know!? But I came out of the situation with my ratings up so thanks.

Is the 'beef' squashed?
Yes, with Double S and Shocka anyway, those are the only two I’ve spoken to, not sure about the others.

Would you work with Double S/ Marvell now?
Why not? Hopefully there's no feelings caught on their side, because a lot of people would like to hear a Maxsta and Double S tune, you know. At the minute though, the situations like, I'm saying Double, let's do a tune and he's trying to ignore it. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me in one of my sending moods, thankfully though, we're past that.

Tracks like East London is Back gave you a taste of the interest you’re receiving with support from underground DJ’s as well as 1Xtra and Radio One. How does it make you feel that you’re music is being taken seriously despite you being so young?
It’s a good feeling still, I try not to let any success get to my head and make me think any differently though. I'm on a mission and im not going to let anything distract me, everything that happens is all just part of the plan.

Skadoosh is the first video you’ve been in that has been featured on various music channels throughout the UK, what was the idea behind it?
It was just a good way to promote Dolla Da Dustman and myself, I guess. Ghetts didn’t have to do Skadoosh, you know what I mean? So I'm thankful also for the fact that I got to work with someone who is a legend in my eyes.

What was the reaction in your college/local area? Did you get noticed more?
Yes of course, it's been good and bad still. It made me realise how much support I have, because there’s hardly a day where im walking about, where some one I know or don’t know, doesn’t come up to me saying "I really rate what your doing fam, keep it up" or something like that. On the other hand I've got some wounds to show for it, which is nothing that’s going to distract me from my mission.

You’re 17 right now, around the same age and situation as Chipmunk was 2 and half years ago. How do you feel about Chipmunk?
I'm happy for chipmunk still, it's great to see what people can achieve against all the odds. I knew chip a year or so before the Eskibeat stuff even popped off, so it's good to see how far he's come. It’s a pity he doesn't want to do grime anymore and he seems to treat the whole underground scene like scum, like he didn’t come from here.

Do you think he has sold out?
I remember a bar of his saying "If I get signed I will stick to grime and help out the kids" so it’s mad for him to not stick to his word, good luck to him though. He's sold out but at the same time it’s his choice and no one else's.

Do you feel confident about the future knowing that in 2 years time after putting the work in you could hit the charts? Do you care?
To some extent I care because it’s my future, but I'm happy to let things happen when they happen. I'm not doing anything I don’t want to do, and that, at this precise moment is change my music, if I’m meant to chart I’ll chart doing what I want.

Tell us about what we are to expect from your soon to be released Maxtape.
Feature wise you've got Wiley, Mercston, Dot Rotten, Voltage, Stelf and Shrimpoz.
I've got nothing but great producers like the legendary Terror Danjah, Wearing My Rolex beat making Bless Beats. Roll Deep's Targer and Danny Weed. I'd prefer to let the music talk for itself.

What’s your favorite track off the Maxtape?
Back To Grime, because I love grime so much, it’s an emotional moment on there for me.

How would you describe the feel of the whole mixtape?
I can do it in five words: The start of my reign. I talk about everything that’s relevant to a young, East Londoner like myself. A quote that I always remember, whenever I'm working on a tune is from Dizzee Rascal's Boy In The Corner album - "Mc's better start chatting about what's really happening, because if you're not chatting about what’s happening, where are you living? Where are you talking about?" That’s it in a nutshell.

How does it feel growing up listening to Wiley and Ghetts, now you’re collaborating with them?
It’s a great feeling still, I think about it all the time and sometimes it just feels too good to be true. It’s all just a step on my way to completing the mission.

How are you feeling about the current state of grime?
I feel like it needs people like me and P Money etc who forget the rules and just keep it 100% grimey. Otherwise the next generation is going to want to jump straight on to the pop star bandwagon, you get me!? It's not all good in the grime world right now but hopefully with the help of people, just like yourself, we fly off soon.

Would you agree that grime is divided in away of people who want to go mainstream and people who’re just going with the flow and making good music?
Yeah most definitely, all you have to do is look around you, some of the people in higher up positions just do grime as their thing on the side. If they got into a studio session, with a big producer like Timbaland, grime would be the last thing on their minds. It’s sad but I guess at the same time, some people have to think about their own future. Try to make some money through music as well, but I'm in the position where I can flip the script and be as grimey as a public toilet.

Who do you think fits into the category of wanting to go mainstream and just making good music?
I'd put people like myself, Ghetts, Devlin in the category of just wanting to make good music, no matter what. I'd put Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk in the mainstream category with Taio Cruz and all the other pop stars.

Are there people who you think are balancing both?
Yes people like Skepta, Wiley, Tinie Tempah and Bless Beats.

What’s next in store for Maxsta fans?
Since I finished my Maxtape CD, I've kind of kicked back, and not recorded much. However, I've been listen to all types of music recently, so I can learn new things to use in my world of grime. I'm currently working and making tracks for my next project, which is basically a pre-album called Alfie G Russell. I don't want to say too much but keep up to date with me through my Myspace and Twitter.

Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?
I'm not arrogant, I don’t think im too big or anything like that, I'm a focused kid with a goal and drive, hopefully everyone will see that soon.

The Maxtape is available to pre order from Uptown Records right now. (Out from 29th March)

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