Maxo Kream
Brandon Banks


4.0
excellent

Review

by WoahHenny USER (2 Reviews)
July 24th, 2019 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Maxo Kream makes his major label debut in the form of a trap confessional.

Brandon Banks feels like the end of a trilogy at the start of a new chapter at the same time. Punken found Maxo sounding out of place conforming to the trends of trap music, this album feels like a direct continuation to The Persona Tape and #Maxo187; chilling, murderous, and ill-intended, yet human at the same time.

In his major label debut for RCA Records, Maxo is writing a love letter to the streets. It’s a reflection on all the things he and his family have done wrong to survive. The title derives from his father’s criminal alias, who served several jail bids throughout Maxo’s life for being a scammer. It’s a topic that inspires Maxo to delve into all his personal relationships; whether it be the ode of appreciation to his homies that are locked up on “Meet Again”, or the trials and tribulations of being a sibling on “Brothers”. His father even pops up towards the end of the album, providing heartfelt messages about Maxo’s childhood and the struggles that their family survived. It paints Maxo in a vulnerable manner, showcasing the emotion behind his eeriness.

While struggle seems to be Maxo’s muse on Brandon Banks, perseverance seems to always be the result at the end of each song. The album slugs through everything from soul samples and screwed Memphis-esque vocal samples to ominous synth pads and 808s. It's almost as if Maxo is popping the trunk on Elm Street. He trudges through the horror with one mission; getting that money. “8 Figures” is a great example of this. It sets a gloomy tone with distorted sub bass and synths that sound straight out of Twin Peaks, garnished with Maxo’s cold-blooded hook “You ain't really makin' money 'til you make eight figures,” before seamlessly transitioning into a blood-pumping beat change that gives Maxo the room to enter his braggadocious bag. It’s the story of the album; face adversity, work your ass off, and come out on the better end of things.


Brandon Banks also serves as Maxo’s second attempt at tackling mainstream trends. But unlike his attempts on Punken, Maxo does this while staying in his comfort zone. Enlisting hot prospect Megan Stallion on the strip-club anthem “She Live”, Maxo leaves the darkness of his street centered raps to explore a twerk-inciting bounce, but the minimalist beat and bellowing basslines keep him grounded in his Houston heritage. Other songs like “Murda Blocc” find Maxo Kream bringing other artists into his territory, with A$AP Ferg having to match the grim street themes by bringing the listeners back to the Trap Lord days. But not every guest works here, with fellow houston native Travis Scott lending a sleepy, phoned in attempt at being psychedelic on the unfortunately underwhelming “The Relays”. While this song may work as background filler, it acts as a hindrance in the grand scheme of the project.

Serving as the first step in his major label journey, Maxo Kream has solidified a strong trajectory with Brandon Banks. It’s an album that doesn’t hold back on personal stories. In his signature, stern manner, Maxo paints vivid pictures of his life growing up, but this time around, does it in a way that’s empathic with the ones he has done wrong, and sympathetic with the ones that have wronged him. This paired with an instrumental soundtrack that ranges from cold-blooded to blood-pumping, Maxo has made his best project yet.


user ratings (56)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
WoahHenny
July 24th 2019


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Quick write up! First review on the site, feedback appreciated!

Relinquished
July 24th 2019


40758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Punken found Maxo sounding out of place conforming to the trends of trap music"



you lost me there. all 'trends' since Quiccstrikes are different ranges co-opted onto his houston flavour.

botb
July 24th 2019


13165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yooooo I didn’t know this was coming out, putting on RN

alamo
July 24th 2019


1589 Comments


Yooooo I didn’t know this was coming out, putting on later


Calc
Contributing Reviewer
July 24th 2019


16218 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dude's flow is so samey on this. really kills it for me.

Ebola
July 24th 2019


3631 Comments


meet again is one of the best songs of the year. the rest is pretty hit and miss

Relinquished
July 24th 2019


40758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

8 Figures is a heck of a hit

botb
July 24th 2019


13165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bitch named Katrina

Tell me have you seen her

Hurricane pussy so wet call FEMA

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
July 24th 2019


7865 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The insanely boring and pedestrian beats here completely rob this album of any sense of forward momentum or lasting impact and severely clash with the inspired lyricism and nuanced themes

Was my most anticipated rap album of the year and it is hugely disappointing for me

Digging: We Are Only Human Once - The Prettiest Boys in Town

botb
July 24th 2019


13165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think half of the beats are real strong and half of them are a bit disappointing ye

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
July 24th 2019


9903 Comments


First review and quite a good one, welcome to the writing community of Sputnik my man. It describes the music well and offers good insight on what the album contains, all while keeping a concise length.

My only comments would be that the first sentence (Brandon Banks feels like the end of a trilogy at the start of his same time) seems to be written incorrectly; I'm assuming it's supposed to be "end of a trilogy and the start at the same time" or something to that effect.

It also doesn't hurt to diversify the words you use, such as substituting one of the two blood-pumpings you use.



Digging: Sparrows - Failed Gods

botb
July 25th 2019


13165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know you’re trying to clown but that’s probably why I like this for real

WompState
July 25th 2019


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel like this album is crazy strong, surprised to hear anybody say these beats are boring and pedestrian because I feel like this album does a great job of throwing all kinds of different styles at the wall and making it stick.



Punken had the soundcloud beats and a few classic tracks, it was a solid record with some great peaks but it still felt like it had something missing to me, and I'm really happy to hear this record, because it feels like a 2nd Act to me that makes Punken even better. Like hearing this makes me appreciate how light and airy that record is in retrospect.



The most common critique I heard thrown at Punken was that Maxo's flow made him sound kind of robotic, and that might've been the case, but he has turned in an incredible performance with this record and his personality really shines through with the content/flows/delivery, whereas Punken admittedly did sound a bit like "easy mode" for him.



But yeah the beats are pretty great here I think. Meet Again sounds like it could've been on Aquemeni, 3 AM and Murda Blocc are appropriately menacing, Brenda is gorgeous, and Spice Ln. sees Zaytoven working magic while Maxo channels Gucci to drop fire. Except for Travis all the features are top notch and he's not bad he just doesn't really add anything to the track. I do agree it's one of the weaker ones.



But yeah I remember in Maxo's reddit AMA he said that his favorite album was The State vs Radrick Davis and I think Brandon Banks really channels that same atmosphere and charisma. The biggest challenge for Maxo, and most modern rappers, is producing albums that have no weak points, and while Brandon Banks has a couple dips (and Still is kind of a random closer) this is easily Maxo at his most confident/artistic/reflective and I really hope the dude sees the kind of reward he deserves because this record is honestly a work of art and is better and more developed than what 99% of other rappers are putting out.



I feel like you can really feel the effort that went into this. Drizzy Draco is ridiculous.

SymbolicInTime
July 26th 2019


4740 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow this is great. Thanks for making me aware of it

Chambered79
July 26th 2019


378 Comments



"The insanely boring and pedestrian beats here completely rob this album of any sense of forward momentum or lasting impact and severely clash with the inspired lyricism and nuanced themes
Was my most anticipated rap album of the year and it is hugely disappointing for me" album rating: good


rabidfish
July 27th 2019


5265 Comments


maxo cream is a fucking retarded name lol

botb
July 27th 2019


13165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok user rabidfish

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2019


7865 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Burn

rabidfish
July 27th 2019


5265 Comments


I dont go in public callin myself that, tho u fucking retardo supremo

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2019


7865 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

B u r n



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