Introduce yourself, crew, affiliations etc…
I’m Max Prime, rapper/freestyler, beat maker. I’m part of the Low Budget Affiliates hip hop crew, which belongs to Busshaak Records. I’m on DJ Nato’s Up in Arms Recordings. I recently formed a group with DJ Jon B to create a duo called Hardly Novices.
Who is Max Prime and what makes him tick?
The love of rap to start. Max Prime is a rap alias with calculus connotations. As an MC, he is a person with punchlines in every single song, whether the verse is serious, fun, heartfelt, or a battle rap. That’s what he began as for my first EP and my upcoming up in arms album. In the future however, it will be whatever decides come out my pen. At this point I’m moving toward just writing for the moment.
Are you a long time Edmontonian?
Yeah, born here. Whyte Ave south side area, over by the tip of a river valley vein. Never lived anywhere else yet.
How has growing up in Edmonton helped or hindered you as an MC?
Helped: the MC’s. I currently know some of my favorite MCs in Canada. I’m not joking. At least 7 of them live here. Inspiration basically. Hindered: Love is hard earned here. If you want to rap, you can be an awesome artist, people aren’t necessarily going to automatically flock to you. Also, community isolation. Not too many of us have really worked with anyone from the Canadian or international rap community. Thus, out here, we tend to make the music that we like foremost, and let it take us wherever it takes us. That might be changing soon however.
What inspired you to pick up a mic?
One inspiration was the Wake Up show. Back in its prime, the radio show hosted some of favorite ciphers in hip hop, and it inspired me to start writing and learn delivery. After some time writing and recording on shitty headphones solo, I started ciphering at house parties as well as the old Black Dog hip hop night where I encountered many of today’s Edmonton MCs. They told me to keep it up. There was no turning back after that.
What is your all time favourite rap moment?
One moment was when P.E.A.C.E. nearly won scribble jam. I swear he was one of the few who refused to freestyle in the normal battle cadence that everyone else does, or come up with those normal repetitive jokes. He had this one quote to the effect of “I leave you surprised like… BOING BOING BOING BOING DING DING DING DING!!!!” with perfect timing.
If you took beer out of the equation of Canadian hip hop what would the result be?
I predict Low Pressure’s business stocks would drop. Most of us would be blazed out of our face. My own crew would have 10 albums out. Half of our community would be rapping like Saul Williams. And sushi would be the new food staple of Canadian hip hop. Rap shows would have more chairs. In fact I have a bunch of old songs from before I was introduced to alcohol, and my pronunciation actually sounds a bit clearer.
You have just teamed up with the relatively unkown producer Jon B to make your debut Hardly Novices, how did this come together.
Through ugsmag. I was ready to make albums long long ago. We met on the message board, I thought his beats would be really good platform for an EP, an early 90’s aesthetic, and raw loops. His choice of breaks on the drums were also inspiring for me to write to. He was digging my raps and we started working on this grimy project. We did it mostly through correspondence and it took close to 2 years to finish. As we worked on it, he was honing his DJ skills, so we came out as rapper/DJ combination. Thank you ugsmag.
What makes you and Jon B the Wayne and Shuster of Rap?
We’re half Lame and Über. Recurring themes in the EP are blatant folly, a hidden professionalism, jokes, and sarcasm that trips over its own shoe laces. I was expecting criticism due to Jon’s lo-fi beats, and my reckless syllable flipping, as well as our tendency to experiment blindly. The lyrics in the album mostly contain wild comedic value. Our own odd-couple shows many a time end up in the Larry David category of performance.
What can people expect when they come to a Max Prime show?
Expect good clear delivery on the raps, and/or for me to completely flip the feck out like tiddlywinks. Me and Jon’s full live set includes working with his MPC, the shittiest song in rap to kick it off, and an amazing set that includes the whole EP right after. And me talking to myself live using 3-4 different personalities for the song “Backwards Polaroid”.
What are you working on in the future?
A for sure is my first solo album on Up In Arms Records, called Minstrel Cycles. It will be out during the summer of 06, it’s already pressed and in my hands. Other than that, a compilation of the LBA’s best underground material is being worked on, the Extremeties project between me, Conspiracy, and Add-Vice, and I will be starting a self produced solo project called the Flowtron Saga. As well as a few planned projects that I haven’t started on yet with various people.
What is your favourite artist, song and album?
Well, that changes often… currently Birdapres, Typical Cats “Thin Red Line”, and the Dangerdoom album.
What is the biggest challenge facing the Prairie rap scene?
Well, I think the biggest challenge for it is deciding what direction it should grow. A lot of artists I know want to work more with more prominent US artists or extend there albums to over-seas countries. There’s no real guideline to getting well-known, selling and stable. I’d say it’s already as far as it will go in its internal development, I know plenty of respectable Canadian albums; it just needs to figure out how it should externally develop, if that’s what today’s artist are aiming for.
My favourite jam on the album is the Bob James loop heavy track “Home Base”, what is yours and why?
“Stealth Mission”. Despite being a short introduction type track, I think it has a great beat and one of my favorite choruses. “We’re obese men hiding behind lamp-posts, tip toeing with tap dance shoes, where preparing take our fans by surprise, so shhhh-don’t tell yourselves.” Classy 1940’s humour.
What does Max Prime do when he is not destroying beats with hot fire lyrics?
Finishing my degree in computer science. different from anyone else. Just chilling being normal. Really extremely normal.
What does the future hold?
Money, women, and apocalypse. Then old age, sickness, and death. Then immortality. Hellifiknow. Oh yeah, hopefully more shows coming up in close by areas. Saskatoon, Kamloops, and Vancouver sound ideal to me and Jon right now.
What are your goals as an MC?
My goal is release a certain number of albums in the works during my time. And also to help raise the bar in the art and skill of MC-ing and rap music. As well as to increase its integrity, depth, diversity in attitude, and intelligence.
Any last words, stories shout outs?
Shouts to Slacker Dave, Jon B, the Pat An Idiot On The Back Society, my family, Low Budget Affiliates, SBU, Fameless, DFE, Olive Hour, Epic, Side Road, Clothes Horse, and anybody else that I’ve worked with.
Im talking with Conspiracy at the moment. He says: “LBA is E-Town’s best crew without question and massive respect to Nextraterrestrials , Low Pressure and Supreme Being Unit… Peace to all the MCs that are always making truly original music, too. Conspiracy loves you ALL.”