Grime emcee Maxsta will end his year unleashing new EP Maxtape 1.5 and appearing in the latest instalment of Lord Of The Mics released on December 16th, which will see him pitted against fellow east Londoner Lil’ Nasty in Jammer‘s Dungeon. The busy rapper found some time to sit with SB.TV to talk about the much-anticipated clash and being misunderstood…
Do you think you’ve become something of a target for criticism from emcees because you’re associated with a major label?
No, because I had worse when I wasn’t [laughs] so I wouldn’t say that it was that. I guess the way I am brings Grime beef, that’s how I am. I want to say that I am the best, I want to clash, I want to do all of that.
I was on YouTube and I saw that quite a few people had a problem with Lil’ Nasty rapping about your brother – who’s passed on – in his warm-up sending video. How did you feel about that?
I wasn’t too happy about it myself, but I looked at the bigger picture and tried to maintain myself like a boss in the situation because in the clash I didn’t know that was going to be said. Of course I am very angry about it, but for the bigger picture and the cause I brushed that off because it’s not like people were looking at the footage and saying ‘ha, ha that’s great!’ People were looking at it like it’s a negative thing – which it is.
Speaking to Nasty, he echoed what another small group of fans have been saying which is that bringing your brother into the mix is all part of the game –
It’s not part of the game man. During the clash Nasty was like ‘yo, say that about my Mum one more time and I’ll punch you up.’ So what, I can’t diss your mum but you can diss my brother? Let not get it all twisted, I didn’t sign up for that. I don’t want my family to be disrespected, I don’t want my Mum to be watching the DVD and my little brother is getting disrespected – it’s not going to be nice. It is what it is though…I got over it.
You co-signed a quote online that reads, “people don’t have to like you, but if you’re good at what you do they have to f**k with you.” What do you think about that line?
I think it’s very true because being a artist, and being a very passionate artist sometimes you will say things or you’re gonna disagree with people’s opinions. You might disagree with some s**t on Twitter and it makes you come across in a rude way but…I guess…f**k all that really because I’m here to be a musician. As long as I work on my craft and make sure that what I come up with next is always good – you’ve got to f**k with me, people want to hear good music.
So you’re signed to a major, and in many ways you represent Grime being mainstreamed, what do you have to say to the people who don’t want to see the genre go that way?
I don’t know man, it’s just mad. At the moment of course I’m a Grime artist but even on the new Maxtape…it’s not just Grime. The whole mainstream argument has been going on for so long that you can get trapped in it if you listen to people and so I’d rather just make the music that I wanna make. When I say that, it doesn’t mean that the mixtape is poppy, because like I said it is Grime and I like making that but it’s hard asking yourself, ‘am I meant to be doing commercial stuff? Am I meant to be a Grime emcee?’ I like doing Grime but then I also know that even I don’t see depth in it a lot of the time. My main thing is about making music that people have a reason to live with and that make them feel a kind of way, whatever that’s gonna be in the future – that’s what I’m gonna do.
You been involved in more than a few spats with other artists, it’s so easy to give an opinion nowadays, with Twitter for example you can just @ someone and go for it. What do you do with negative Twitter talk?
Sometimes I can get really frustrated, I’ll just sit there and say ‘F**K!’ because – I’m not saying I’m bad or whatever but – a lot of these people wouldn’t say these things to your face. They’re not threats to me, just random guys from places like Norwich or whatever but it’s still just annoying man, that people can just say s**t to you. Sometimes I get phone calls from people telling me to calm down, and I go back to my smart self and say ‘I shouldn’t be getting drawn in.’ It’s hard man.
What really gets your goat? What kind of things do you read that make you say ‘that’s not necessary’? What crosses the line – aside from of course, bringing your brother into things?
With me, it’s the opinions on my music. If someone says that I’m s**t, I have no problem with that and I’ll retweet it – I’ll be fine with it. When it’s just dumb s**t, or ‘Maxsta’s just doing this or that’ – something that I feel is not actually true I’m like ‘no, you can’t be saying that, shut up – don’t say that!’ [Laughs]…it’s a lot, it’s a lot.
Looking at the emcees taking part in Lord of the Mics 5, is there anyone you wish you had been pitted against?
I think D2 is sick, I think D2 is a hard clash. Plus we had the little Invasion and Maxsta beef or whatever but I think that D2 is sick. Invasion and me are cool now, when we did the whole War season and stuff…that definitely got cut short due to Depz dying – RIP to him.
I don’t really know how they felt but a lot of people tend to judge me, they think that I take the piss out of everything. Like me saying ‘RIP Depz’, they think that I’m taking the piss. I’m meant to be this character that is a prick when I’m really am not – it just gets misconstrued. I saw JayKae after that in the studio – we did a tune – a lot of these stories get spread over the Internet…that’s not how Grime used to be. It wasn’t always on the Internet, it wasn’t man dissing you in tweets. It used to be like everyone was running into each other, with it all starting in east London or wherever, everyone knew what wagwan.
It was stronger then because there were actual relationships, people that you actually call friends and family. Recently I’ve started to be like that with a lot of emcees. Jammer is a big bro to me, I’ve known Jammer for like seven years – we’re a team, and we’re a family. Even Jammer and me used to have problems but all it was because of Twitter – because of the comments and stuff. He would always be like ‘Max, I know the real you.’ I’m normally cool but it’s Twitter and if you say something, I’m going to say something back. We’ve seen each other a lot more because of Lord of the Mics 5 and we’re family man, I can confidently say that.
Talk to us a little about your next project Maxtape 1.5…
Yes, I’ve got Ny on there, Ard Adz & Sho Shallow on there, I’ve got Dot Rotten on there, I got my friends on there but to be fair it’s not really about the features man. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to put a project together. Though I’m maturing as an artist and getting better, due to the Sony situation it’s like I’m only putting out one tune every other six months or some s**t and that’s not how I wanna to be.
So with Maxtape 1.5, I’m shooting all ten music videos in December with it coming out on the 23rd. It’s like real life music because when I did my first CD – which is called The Maxtape – when I listen back to it now, what I love about it is that I was seventeen and I captured everything that I was going through on a CD and that is my approach to this one. What do I like right now? What am I into? What’s going on in my head? What situations do I have? How do I see life? It’s all documented in these ten/eleven tunes in fun ways, there are some serious tunes and some fun tunes on there but overall every tune to me is really good and I’m my hardest critic. It was done quite fast, I did it all in the last couple of weeks but I’m happy with it.
Everytime I was in the studio, I knew I didn’t have to hold back because they weren’t poppy songs. It didn’t mean that I was going to be all street, I was just going to be myself but it meant that I didn’t have to hold back in any way. People are gonna get the rawest form of me, which is why I was liked in the first place, but now it’s better musically. They’re all well crafted songs, they are all totally different but well crafted.
I also feel like I am finding myself as a person, as a character and who I want to be more than ever. Sometimes if you’re in your head you’re not too sure who you even are y’know? I’m now at the stage where I am clear with who I am, I’m confident with who I am.