May 18, 2021

Revisionist History #2: Two Alternate Takes on Life After Death (1997)

I had hoped to get back to these sooner, but we’re finally back with a new entry in the Revisionist History series, in which I take an existing album and play around with the track sequencing in an effort to come up with something more cohesive or entertaining or whatever the challenge happens to be. (Now all I have to do is publish another Max’s Book Club entry and I’ll be set.)

The second lucky hip hop album to be given this treatment is The Notorious B.I.G.’s double-disc posthumous effort, Life After Death, also known as the last album the late rapper had any input in prior to his passing. Building upon what he and executive producer-slash-label boss Sean “Puffy” Combs had crafted with his debut, Ready to Die, Life After Death was a calculated attempt at world domination, featuring songs designed to appeal to East Coast hip hop heads, West Coast fanatics, and everyone in the flyover states, with Biggie’s vocals occupying space atop beats that would either bang on the radio or, in the man’s words, “leave [you] on the pavement”. It was released to widespread acclaim and ultimately sold over eleven million copies (a combination of both streams and physical units), none of which the man was able to enjoy during his lifetime. Joining me in my quest to revise history once again is Lord AAA (of the No Knockoffs Radio Wavecast and Boom Bap Reviews), also known as frequent contributor shoe-in

May 11, 2021

The Max-Approved Mixtape - Episode #11! (Brought to you by RandoMax Radio)


Eleven episodes into the Max-Approved Mixtape experiment, we're starting to hit our groove. Sure, deejays both amateur and professional have been putting together song compilations for millenia at this point, so my humble little radio show-slash-podcast isn't going to alter the tides, but I like using this side project as a way to complement the many many many write-ups that I've published throughout the years, so I hope these episodes have found you enjoying some of these tracks in a new and different way.

But enough of the mushy sentimentality. Episode 11 of the Max-Approved Mixtape features ten hip hop tracks shined down upon from the heavens, each lifted from various eras of our beloved culture and compiled in a manner that gives each song new context. There is no expiration date on good music, but perhaps some of these you haven't thought of in a while in a while, so you may find some pleasant surprises within the tracklist below.


1. Hittman - "Last Dayz"
2. The Roots - "Thought @ Work (Original Version)"
3. Mobb Deep - "The Realest" (featuring Kool G. Rap)
4. Afu-Ra - "D&D Soundclash" (featuring Cocoa Brovaz and Jahdan Blakkamoore)
5. Tony Touch - "Pit Fight" (featuring The Beatnuts and Greg Nice)
6. The LOX - "Think Of The LOX" (featuring Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher)
7. Camp Lo - "Coolie High Is Life"
8. Crimeapple - "Spoons" (featuring Vic Spencer)
9. The Lady of Rage - "Put You Up On Rage"
10. CyHi da Prynce - "No Dope On Sundays" (featuring Pusha T)

Share this one with everyone in your life. Literally every single person you know. Let's get those streams up as a favor to me, will ya?

Until next post,


May 4, 2021

My Gut Reaction: The Dove Shack - Reality Has Got Me Tied Up (2000 or 2006, depending on your source)

In 1994, Long Beach producer-slash-rapper Warren Griffin III released his debut album, Regulate… G Funk Era through Def Jam/Violator Records. Far from being a solo album under any standard definition, Regulate… G Funk Era acted as a launchpad for Griffin’s stable of artists, each member of his loose-knit crew snagging multiple placements over the man’s ten provided beats. Warren G had visions of grandeur, hoping to create a collective of superstars just as his older half-brother Andre “Dr. Dre” Young had done over at Death Row/Interscope Records just two years prior. Instead of rap acts such as Tha Dogg Pound, RBX, The Lady of Rage, and the charisma magnet known as Calvin “Snoop Doggy Dogg” Broadus, however, Griffin bet the farm on artists such as the Twinz, Jah Skills, and The Dove Shack, and the fact that most of you two are likely rubbing your temples in an attempt to jog your brain into remembering just who in the fuck any of these folks even were means that Dr. Dre easily won that battle.

April 27, 2021

RandoMax Radio Episode #30!

Episode 30 of RandoMax Radio may be a new milestone reached in this weird side project, but for right now we refuse to reinvent the wheel, or any wheels - their design was perfected pretty much out of the gate. This month's contribution to the Mixcloud servers features at least one "what the fuck?" selection that, trust me, sounds really goddamned good, along with several tracks you've likely not thought about for a while and one song that ranks as one of the greatest in the history of recorded music, and that isn't hyperbole. Jump in, the water's fine.

Reminders and requests: subscribe to the RandoMax Radio feed to catch up on previous episodes and to receive updates before they appear on either of the sites; you can also troll me on Twitter at @hhid_Max; and of course, you can leave your comments, complaints, memes, song and/or article suggestions, and whatever else you two want me to see.



April 20, 2021

My Gut Reaction: Keith Murray - Puff Puff Pass (May 13, 2008)

In honor of today being 4/20, here’s a write-up with an album title I absolutely did not time to the national smoker’s holiday – when you’ve done this as long as I have, coincidences become more and more common.

Long Island native Keith “Keith Murray” Murray has managed to hit both massive highs and comically shameful lows during his relatively short time within our chosen culture. A natural wordsmith with a hair trigger temper, the emcee once known as Keefy Keef quickly found a home with Erick Sermon’s Def Squad camp, releasing at least two, if not three, full-length projects that hip hop heads of a certain age hold in very high regard (for my money, Enigma, his sophomore effort, is leaps and bounds above his debut, The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, but that’s mostly because I don’t really care for the title track on his freshman outing, and I realize I’m in the minority there), along with multiple winning guest verses alongside the likes of LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, UGK, Too $hort, and of course his Def Quad brethren Redman, Mally G, and Sermon himself.

April 11, 2021

The Max-Approved Mixtape - Episode #10! (Brought to you by RandoMax Radio)

This tenth episode of the Max-Approved Mixtape has been proven to reduce anxiety in backpacker lab rats, which is no small feat - it took the researchers years to put together tiny spraypaint cans for each of the rats to carry with them as they bounced around a simulation of what New York City was like in the 1980's, so the very least you could do is press 'play' on the thing.

Episode 10 of the Max-Approved Mixtape features ten hip hop tracks anointed with oil, each lifted from various eras of our beloved culture and compiled in a manner that gives each song new context. There is no expiration date on good music, but perhaps some of these you haven't thought of in a while in a while, so you may find some pleasant surprises within the tracklist below.


1. Redman - "Tiger Style Crane"
2. J-Zone - "I'm Fucking Up The Money" (featuring Huggy)
3. Vince Staples - "BagBak"
4. Run The Jewels - "Banana Clipper" (featuring Big Boi)
5. Main Source - "Fakin' the Funk (Remix)" (featuring Neek the Exotic)
6. Busta Rhymes - "Get You Some" (featuring Marsha Ambrosius and Q-Tip)
7. Sauce Heist x Camouflage Monk - "NY Pricks & Dicks"
8. Cannibal Ox - "Iron Rose" (featuring MF DOOM)
9. Medina Green - "Crosstown Beef"
10. Joey Bada$$ - "Hardknock" (featuring CJ Fly)

Feel free to like, repost, and share as often as you'd like - this mix certainly won't ever trend on social media, but wouldn;t it be cool if it did?

Until next post,


April 8, 2021

My Gut Reaction: Run The Jewels - RTJ4 (June 3, 2020)

In the tumultuous summer that was 2020 (which may only appear as such if you remember the stuff that happened outside of your home, easier said than done given how many of us were sheltering in place and/or quarantined), Run The Jewels, the combustible duo made up of rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render and rapper-slash-primary producer Jaime “El-P” Meline, released their fourth full-length project, one which wasn’t intended to be a direct response to the civil unrest birthed from the murders of multiple Black people by police officers just last year, but sure as shit played like one, given how many of the project’s lyrics could, unfortunately but unsurprisingly given our country’s racist history, apply toward any one of a number of instances.

Jaime and Michael figured that some things would never change, and they were correct.