23 December 2017 (released)
27 January 2018
Nostalgia is a strong and compelling emotion. That longing for the better days of our youth, which can morph into idealizing them all out of proportion, is a feeling that few of us can avoid and that is only amplified in our senior years when the days in our rearview all have a golden hue and the present becomes stark and unbeholden to our sensibilities. When many people look back to their prime time, they're looking back to their late teens and early twenties when they were full of hope, things hurt less, and the world was their oyster because the machine of society was desperately vying for their attention, social approval and disposable income.
At the core of fresh MC Maxx the Muffin Man's new mixtape Every Summer Since is a reflection on better days and events that irrevocably change the course of one's life, leaving it forever on a different path. However, the young MC is only 18 years old. Why is he longing for better days? Surely he's living them right now and the best are yet to come. The album ends up serving as a reminder that nostalgia hits us at every age and that it's far less daunting to look back rather than forward.
Woozy synths kick off the opener 'Wavy Gravy'. Maxx steps to the mic with a matter-of-fact flow that on first listen brings to mind Andy Samberg's Lonely Island, which has always come from a love of classic hip-hop timing. The material is unabashedly suburban in feel but you have to hand it to him for not trying to fake his subject matter. Frequent collaborator on the album C.O.B. drops a slick verse with a quick Big Boi-style flow.
Continuing on the laundry list of substances that have made their way into Maxx's life, 'Adderall and Cigarettes' sees Maxx finding a more dramatic, character-driven voice with a whiney, sarcastic tone that reminds you of some of Eminem's most vital first and second album tracks. A sombre, descending acoustic line provides a great hook. The song definitely captures the stranglehold that pills can have.
Every Summer Since is somewhat hit and miss. Some tracks hit the mark and others are somewhat clunky. The vocals are fairly underproduced but that is just the style. Like Lil Dicky, the rhymes are just laid down in front of you to hear. At 18, Maxx has a lot of potential to grow and hone the style, perhaps focussing more on the more bizarre, character-driven vocals and less on the basic matter-of-fact flows. His collaborator C.O.B.'s verses are all tight and give the album a much-needed boost. This may not be a breakthrough album but keep Maxx the Muffin Man on the watch list. All it takes is the right off-the-wall track to go viral to launch a career.