BIO synopsis according to Maxxwell Felton : “ Maxxwell Felton is an independent artist outside of Nashville that strives to share personal stories and music, with some sci-fi influence, to anyone willing to listen. He concentrates on production and quality of lyrics over popular sounds or concepts. At the age of 12, Maxxwell Felton was saved by a former member of 36 Mafia, 4 years later he would receive his first ticket for a noise violation while playing local Tennessee hip hop music in his Cadillac. Through good and bad, hip hip helped to forge the young MC into an artist that puts his own perspective into his work, often inspired by comic book culture, one he holds hand in hand with hip hop. He begins his journey with his first solo single, Regenerate. Feel free to follow along.”
Hip Hop is known for the greatest era of our time where it influences many artists of today. It is understood by many up comers that they are on a continued path of what the artists of yesterday had created and still reigning champions in the world of Hip Hop history. It is understood that artists of today have some hard shoes to fill, but as long they know that “original creativity” is important their traveling road to success will not be as hard, but definitely challenging. Maxwell Felton is one of those artists that understands the footprints of hip hop which allow him to breathe creativity into one of his new singles “ Regenerate “
Dancy: According to your bio, you started to become involve in the world of Hip Hop at the age of 12, but what do (you) and/or does it meant by “ you were saved by a former member of 36 mafia”? What does being “ Save” mean to you at that time?
Maxwell: Well, that’s definitely an interesting part of my history with hip hop. I was around 12 and had heard that a Christian rapper, Mr. Del, was coming to the Liberal Arts college in my hometown. I had never really explored the Christian hip hop scene but I wanted to see him after I had heard he used to be in 36 Mafia! We went to see him, he was great, he makes like club songs with religious messages in them. At the end of his show, I got one of his albums and he signed it. Then, he asked if I had been saved, I said no, and he knelt down and started praying for me. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what was going on entirely but it was definitely memorable.
Dancy: Now growing up, would it be fair to say that Hip Hop is your first love far as Music? If not, what were you first love far as Music?
Maxwell: The first artist I discovered was David Bowie, I was about 6. My mom used to watch this sitcom, Absolutely Fabulous, and at the end of each show there would be a freeze frame and the final guitar riff from Ziggy Stardust would play. I had no idea what it was the first time I heard it but I knew I loved it. I got a double disc of Bowie’s greatest hits after that and just listened to it over and over. I couldn’t get enough. He was honestly, in my opinion, the best artist of several generations. A real genius. I will say that hip hop was probably the first genre of music that I consumed as much as possible. Tupac and Eminem were the first artists I remember fully grasping onto. I would make hip hop family trees in my head and then explore those artists connected to the ones I had already heard. For example, I had heard Dr Dre, which lead to Tupac, or later he signed Eminem, he signed 50 Cent, which leads me to G-Unit, then Young Buck, then Ludacris, etc. I couldn’t get enough.
Dancy: If you can name your top 1-5 past and present favorite Hip Hop artist, who would it be? And Why?
Maxwell: Joe Budden is definitely one of my favorite mc’s out right now. He’ll make you feel like you know exactly what is going on in his life. The detail in his rhymes is incredible, he was a huge influence for my song, Regenerate. Rakim is another crazy lyrical rapper who will undeniably be remembered for decades as a legend. His power over words is astounding. He was coming up in a time where everyone had their own lane, you almost had to forge your own path to maintain any longevity at that time. Something that’s definitely lacking today, I think. This next one may be cheating because they’re technically a duo but UGK has to be in my top .This next one may be cheating because they’re technically a duo but UGK has to be in my top Bun and Pimp was the perfect duo, Bun had that lyricism and Pimp brought the production, singing, and real dirty South attitude. The way he comes in after Andre 3000 on International Players Anthem is the perfect example of that. They were so consistent through their career, Pimp C was definitely a huge loss in the hip-hop world. Tupac is another legend in hip hop. He was one of the first rappers that I was heavy into. I had shoes, jeans, and shirts with his face plastered on them. What’s amazing to me about him is that he didn’t necessarily live all of the struggles he rapped about but he used his voice to bring perspectives of disenfranchised people out into the mainstream. Don Killuminati is arguably one of the best albums in hip hop history. The Jokerr is probably my favorite artist right now. He hands the best rapper out today. What artist sings, raps, makes his own beats, mixes, and masters all of his own music? It’s insane. His storytelling is Slick Rick level in detail, he has an entire song about being locked in a dungeon, “The Jokerr’s Pain,” you can practically smell the mold and feel the stone when you listen to that song. That dude is a work-house and nobody is fucking with him presently.
Dancy: Can you explain the correlation of comic book world and Hip Hop (according to your bio)?And how do those two worlds help your creativity while making you music?
Maxwell: Comic books have been a huge part of hip-hop for a long time. Run DMC to Eminem has referenced superheroes in some way. And I can’t forget MF Doom, his whole persona is based off Doctor Doom from Fantastic Four. For me, getting lost in comic books were always a way of escaping, I felt like I was with my favorite characters while I was reading and would even make up my own persona. Writing songs became that escape for me as I got older. The whole idea of having an alias is based off comic books heroes to me. When drinking coffee, watching Netflix, or whatever, I’m Clark Kent or Peter Parker, then I turn on some beats and start writing and recording then I fell like I’m Superman or Spider-Man.
Dancy: What are your past release albums/singles for those of us that have not heard of your music thus far? And is there a link where we can go to listen to your past music?
Maxwell: Most of my older songs are sitting on my hard drive still waiting to hear. I’m trying to come up with the best way to release them. That was kind of the idea of the lyric video for “White Girl Wasted,” I dug the verse when I did it but the direction I want to go now just didn’t match with the song so I thought it’d be easier to just put it out there.
Dancy: Thus far, you release two music videos on YouTube: “ Regenerate “ and “ White Girl Wasted “. Can you briefly explain the (lyrical) theme for each track? And how did you come up with the visual for both videos?
Maxwell: Like I said, “White Girl Wasted” was about liking the verse but not having a place for it. So I just put it out in a ridiculous way I could think of. It’s such-such a funny and over the top verse to me that it deserved an over the top video. “Regenerate” is way more meaningful to me. I worked hard on that video, I filmed and edited all of it. I basically had one of my friends manning the camera, showing him what I wanted and then edited it to my liking. I made that instrumental and recorded the first verse based on this difficult time I was having with a family member. I sent it over to my homie Jamel and he wrote the hook, he killed it and totally inspired the rest of the song. That outro was made by another friend of mine, they both really brought it together. Regeneration is something everyone should do, just take the time to assess who you are and try to build a better version of yourself through that self-analyze.
Dancy: Being that you are from Tennesse, do you feel that Hip Hop still have a long way to go compare to other states (NY, NJ, CA., FLA etc) that have a long standing history with Hip Hop? If so, Why? And what changes would you like to see happen at this day in age of Music relating to your state?
Maxwell: I actually think Tennessee has a huge presence in hip hop. 8 Ball & MJG, Young Buck, 36 Mafia, Project Pat, and so much more. Kendrick Lamar signed Isaiah Rashad from Chattanooga. All of them have had an influence on me in some way, directly or indirectly, even just being from Tennessee. Knoxville has an amazing underground scene, everyone was really supportive when I was first trying to take music seriously.
Dancy: This question is a common question: Because there is major competition in the world of Hip Hop Music Entertainment, what makes you different from other (indy) artists that are out now? What defines you and your craft separate from others?
Maxwell: Hip hop is all about perspective to me. If someone comes in with a fresh point of view, I want to hear them. I hope that I can be that for others. I’m finally learning to be myself in my songs, express my own opinions, passions, and general love for fandoms. People that connect with me on one of those ways are the people I want listening.
Dancy: As an Artist, what would you say your strength and weakness is? And through your journey, what helps you overcome any potential weakness while working so hard in this industry?
Maxwell: Versatility is my strength. I film and edit all my own videos, I’m involved in all steps of producing a song, and when it comes out. Sometimes that can be a problem because I want to be up to some fake standard I invent in my head. My biggest weakness is probably not allowing other people to come in and help when it’s necessary, it would make everything smoother for me but by not doing that I keep complete control with what I’m doing.
Dancy: For your fans, what can we/they look forward to from you in the year 2017?
Maxwell: Right now I’m editing a new video, and have a few more songs that I’m filming videos for. I’m going out to Los Angeles soon to work on something big, I can’t wait to unleash it. I don’t think albums are completely necessary anymore but I’d like to make one when I’m ready. I just want to keep creating, whether it’s videos, songs, podcasts, or any kind of art.
Dancy: Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now in this industry? And what advice can you offer to those who want to pursue their dreams in music?
Maxwell: I just want to be able to do what I want. I hope that I’ll always be able to be myself and do what I love. Anyone that wants pursue this career needs to take chances, be themselves, and invest in themselves. You can’t be taken seriously if you won’t invest in yourself. Most importantly, no one else will care about what you’re doing if you don’t.
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