Violent, vice-fueled gang life informs the work of Emekwanem Biosah, a rapper who goes by the alias Maxo Kream. The native Texan was born in Houston and raised in nearby Alief, where he got involved with gangs and supported himself with activity that led to a criminal record. He was eventually drawn to recording music inspired by his everyday life. Retro Card (2012) and Quicc Strikes (2013), his first two mixtapes, were self-released. He then connected with the TSO label for #Maxo187 (2015), The Persona Tape (2016), and Punken (2018). The last volume in this run was Kream's first recording to register with Billboard, most notably on the Independent Albums and Heatseekers charts. The rapper consequently signed high-profile management and recording contracts -- respectively with Roc Nation and RCA -- and made his major-label debut with Brandon Banks (2019). Featuring contributions from Travis Scott and Megan Thee Stallion, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number 68. ~ Andy Kellman
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