Evan Nabavian doesn’t have any ‘S’s’ to use as dollar sign$.
Maxo Kream is the schemer lacking the means of the supervillain, hamstrung by reality and abject poverty. Options are stark: death, jail, or survival. #Maxo187 gave street rap some of the urgency it’s been missing. The hardest rap album of 2015 has a sound palette of ominous horns, razor synths, and hi-hat rolls—sounds that pierce and sting. Chopped and screwed interludes interpose Houston’s legacy, but #Maxo187 sits firmly in the present with modern trap vogue beats and features from regional newcomers like Joey Bada$$.
Maxo’s flow is elliptical and metered like Migos triplets, but smoother and geared more toward narratives than chants. His only indulgences are jarring 90s references like X-Pac, Pokemon, and the Persian Gulf War (“Getting money, I’m a Baghdad / These bitches, they Kuwait”).
In that spirit of incongruity, the video for “1998” sees Maxo pay a visit to Joey Bada$$ and the New York Joey pretends still exists. The fuzzy VHS chic will bring you back more than the nondescript Bed Stuy stoop. But then it’s right back to slinging sherm in the present.