“The king of Houston is back!” yelled Maxo Kream as he bounded on the stage amidst a flash of lights and smoke. The crowd roared in approval at the hometown rapper.
Maxo Kream’s star has risen dramatically in the last four years since the release of his mixtape, Maxo 187, placing him squarely in the new class of Houston rappers putting the city on the map. More specifically he’s apart of the new class of successful diverse, artists representing Alief which includes rappers Lizzo, Young Deji, Tobe Nwigwe, Tisa Korean, and comedian Mo Amer.
His 2019 debut, Punken, garnered attention from media outlets like Pitchfork and led to his signing a lucrative management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Shortly thereafter he released Brandon Banks, and introspective album named after his father’s alias. His father is prominently featured on the album and continues to be a large part of Maxo's career, and Friday night was no different when Maxo asked him to come up on stage.
“How many of y’all ready for Brandon Banks?” he asked as he started to walk offstage. His father quickly appeared on the other side smiling and laughing with the crowd. Maxo reappeared and led the crowd in chants for his dad as the house lights went bright and audience members flung bottles of water into the air.
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Maxo has an energetic stage show and spends most of the time bouncing to the rhythm of his staccato flow. Hits like "Bussdown" kept the crowd bouncing as Maxo led the room in its call and response chorus but the sold-out crowd was at a fever pitch when the Alief rapper dropped "The Relays" and "She Live." The songs, which respectively feature fellow Houston artists Travis Scott and Megan Thee Stallion, had the crowd slamming into each other as three mosh pits opened up before Maxo and he bounced across the stage in front of them.
While Maxo put on an energetic show, the night still had a somber feeling as the crowd contemplated what was going on outside the venue. Shortly before Maxo stepped foot on stage, an unidentified young man plummeted to his death from the third floor of the Green Street Shopping Center (formerly Houston Pavilions). It wasn't known whether this was intentional or an accident.
Inside the House of Blues, fans were directed away from the venue’s front doors. Maxo quickly addressed the issue before continuing with his show.
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“I’m hearing a fan committed suicide outside earlier,” announced the rapper as he motioned for the crowd to quiet down. “Put your lights in the air and let’s have a moment of silence for him tonight.”
The crowd went silent as Maxo stood before them, arm outstretched and head down in remembrance of the fan. It was a brief, poignant moment of silence eventually broken up by Maxo’s baritone voice.
“Alright y’all…let’s get back to it.”