Yeah,
Baby I just wanna hold ya
See, I’m just trying to stay sober
I feel it coming, yeah, I never want it (no)
I bet you thought it was over
Yeah yeah yeah yeah (yeah)
Know you motherfuckers feel me getting closer
You thought that it was over but no

Over (Intro)

I wanted to start this article by saying I’m a huge Max B fan. I’ve listened to his mid-incarceration releases and I’m consistently pleasantly surprised by his charm and ear for beats that never seem to feel dated. I’m not surprised, however, that he is able to sound as insightful and world weathered as he does on Negro Spirituals; he has always been skilled at mixing very intimate and observational stories with a subtle, but precise empathy that makes him more multidimensional than many other artists I love. Save Me, for example, paints an emotionally complex scene that I’d like to take a minute to examine.

You niggas jocking my style, I know you love it
You thinking sacrifice fly, I’m tryna bun it
Audemar by the buck, just kinda clutched it
Baby ass big as fuck, I’m tryna bust it
Tried to give em out P’s, but they aint trust it (they ain’t want that shit)
Jive turkey with the cheese, so I gave them mustard (mustard!)
I’m Tupac, Biggy, Jigga in one bite
With the Nate Dogg sauce, who want gun fight?
They saying “damn boss don you still be poppin”
“Nigga been gone [?] you still the topic”
“See you been hitting them clings you getting beefy”
You niggas sippin codeine you getting sleepy

In this verse, Biggavel describes his continued success and acclaim as an artist – even while incarcerated on a 75-year sentence. But these are tempered flexes; he seems to acknowledge the impact it has had on his career. “Bun it” is Jamaican slang. Trying to “bun” his sacrifice implies he wants to dismiss his sentence. Which makes sense, as he’s successfully appealed his original 75 year sentence down to 12. He could also be making commentary about getting wrapped up in situations that carry a risk of the kind of sentence he first received. This is what makes the song so interesting to me, because the chorus seems, ostensibly, exactly about that:

The crowd running, EMGs is coming
We the farest consistent
We the star of the dishes

We just borrowed your bitches, you can have them back again and yeah,
To all my fans, I do this shit here for you:

She said I’m sorry, Charly, baby (sorry)
Before this shit could get to me, save me
I caught a body, sorry, baby (sorry!)
Before this shit could get to me, save me

Max B frequently speaks through the voice of women in his hooks especially. Why U Do That, Can U Feel It, Porno Music 3, and Closer I Get To You are among my favorites of this style, but there are plenty more examples. In this song, it makes him simultaneously appear stronger and more vulnerable. The speaker is asking Max B to save her, because, as we’ve seen in the first verse, he’s built like that. But, ironically, it sounds like he could only do that if he himself were saved from the penitentiary. So, he’s caught, powerless, in this situation of being locked up while having someone outside who’s in danger begging him for help. He sounds so confident and breezy on this song, but the stakes are high. Is he asking to be saved?

Free Max B.

Anyways, I just wanted to write this brief piece to say that you should be listening to Negro Spirituals. Max B has a deep and charismatic catalogue. This is a perfect entry point. I’ve transcribed the rest of the song’s lyrics:

I let the thing thing blast gave him the 40
Made the nigga dash he ran the full 40 (pshew!)
Wasn’t even in the dash but he fall [?]
Lil niggas spittin trash its so corny (weak ass shit)
Tried to fuck with me she nasty you so horny
She screaming fuck me in the ass just like a doggy (fuck me daddy)
Got a young slim tender she kinda bony
She tatted snow on her fender, she ride the pony (yeah)
A pound of blow in the fender; I’m not your homie (I ain’t your homie)
I’m bout my business; I did a sentence
By 27 I was back on the grill
Bailed out, blew trial; came back on appeal

The crowd running, EMGs is coming
We the farest consistent
We the star of the dishes

We just borrowed your bitches, you can have them back again and yeah,
To all my fans, I do this shit here for you:

She said I’m sorry, Charly, baby (lets go, sorry)
Before this shit could get to me, save me
I caught a body, sorry, baby (sorry!)
Before this shit could get to me, save me
We on it, Max Biggavel, Paul Couture
That’s how the fuck we do baby.

Here’s Negro Spirituals on YouTube, TIDAL, Spotify, and Apple Music. Let me know what you think!