A pivotal time in everybody’s life is the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This process varies for each individual, I know people that may never become adults. Regardless this happens in stages, one I’ve found myself stuck in constantly is the illusion of being grown. Which I may be but there are surely many people with more knowledge and experiences than I have under my belt. Therefore I still have a whole lot of growing up to do.
As I sit back in awe that I’m almost twenty years old, I reminisce on my life to this point. We all find ourselves in this reminiscent headspace from time to time. Nostalgia is one of the most pleasurable yet alarmingly painful feelings to experience. The past serves as a reason for the present. Without it we have no identity, nothing to turn to that solidifies who we are as individuals. These mindsets are laid out over a sonically excellent soundtrack on Maxo’s debut project with Def Jam, LIL BIG MAN.
Soul and jazz embody the ten tracks of the project. Swarvy, Lastnamedavid, Vik, and Roper Williams are behind the Lo-Fi essence. Production that emphasizes the messages throughout in a beautiful manner. Loops that lock your mind into the music, giving your ears no choice but to take it all in. These are sounds that organically feed our well being, as opposed to polluting it. With only three features from well-respected artists Lojii, LIVE, and Pink Siifu. Enhancing our own memories as Maxo recollects his.
Maxo is bridging a gap, filling a void through this project. A bridge between his childhood and the present. Questioning his experiences but also making sense of them. What did not make sense then makes perfect sense now. Knowing the importance of his past in retrospect of the present and more importantly, the future. He does this in a way that all listeners can connect with. Especially those who have faced adversity in any way, shape, or form.
God is revisited multiple times in his lyrics. Those who come from a religious background, most likely know what it’s like to stray from that as they become independent. Not that God is not present, former rituals or practices may just not be as prominent. I know my mom would drag me with her to church every week, damn near. Now I’m hardly there. Maxo addresses this in a sense. He makes it clear that religion is still there, God is still there. It’s just different from adolescence. Regardless God still holds him down and influences his daily life.
There isn’t a choice with this music for him. He does it for those close to him. Those who cannot, not by choice but by circumstance. Half of his people are down bad in prison. They are the ones that he keeps his dream alive for. In hopes that it makes them smile. Importance of family and true friends is stressed heavily. Rightfully so, that tends to be what most folks hold dear to them.
Relatability in his lyrics is what drives this project to the brink of superiority. Not only what he says but how he says it evokes relation between the audience and himself. Whether you’re forty or twenty we’ve all looked back on the past, some longing for it more than others. Nevertheless, the personal anecdotes of his life serve as such relatable experiences. Ones that a lot of us are familiar with too well.
Perhaps the most intriguing factor of them all is the humanization of everything. We live in an era where it seems everything is fake. Social media is a realm full of gimmicks, the music industry itself is possibly the biggest gimmick of them all. Seemingly nobody is real anymore in this game, everything is all an act. It’s a competition for who can go viral the quickest off of the stupidest shit.
That concept is addressed on “Kinfolk”, which is one of my favorites. As a whole, the project serves as nothing but real. There isn’t a bar on any of the ten tracks that’s validity would even be questioned. There is no outlandish flexing, over the top analogies, it’s simply the truth. A real person is speaking, not a false persona that many artists seem to thrive off of. That relatable human trait is what most projects lack, this one is genuine from start to finish.
Maxo solidified himself as someone who will have longevity in this music game. Not that his past work hadn’t already done so. LIL BIG MAN is a record I see myself still listening to twenty to thirty years down the line. It is purely timeless.