This week on Complex.com, Harlem, New York emcee Max B did a rare interview from New Jersey State prison. While French Montana, Roc Marciano and Amalgam Digital’s Next also spoke on Max’s behalf, the man also known as Biggaveli spoke about the events that led him be convicted of a crime he still says he did not commit.
Looking back to the mid-2000s, Max explained the The Byrdgang had a seniority system, which he believes was inspired by The Diplomats. “Jim [Jones], all of them. They was just fucking it up. They was under this impression—I think they all adopted this from Cam’ron—they were all into this impression that the new guys must pay the dues,” said Max B, who co-wrote Jones’ biggest hit to date in “We Fly High (Ballin’).” Max remembers stating his frustrations, after he was reportedly receiving $300 for his role in shows. “‘Number one: I [write] all the fucking records around here. Number two: all the records we producing in the studio—these are fucking singles you puttin’ out, radio spins! Where’s my shit? Why when I go perform at a show, and you making excess amount of dollars, you making [$10-15,000] how the fuck is you giving me $300? I’m doing eight, nine fucking records! I’m out here sweatin’ too! When you got drama and beef in different cities, and motherfuckers is throwing chairs on the stage—they throwin’ them shits at me too! I want money.’ This is what all the beef start stemmin’ from.”
While shows were one place of tensions, The Byrdgang’s ensemble recording schedules were another. “There was arguments, there was disrespect every night in the studio. To where, I didn’t want to go in. Some nights he had to call me: ‘Yo, come and work.’ ‘I don’t wanna go. I don’t like this shit no more.'”
“I got out on bail in 2007, summertime. My bail was like $1.5 million,” recalls Max B who spent early 2007 in Bergen County Jail awaiting trial for the murder charges he was later convicted of. “No way I think I’m gettin’ out. I’m thinking, ‘Who’s gonna come get me.’ But we found a way. My tangible songs, I was able to sell some publishing to those, for some money. When I got out of prison, my buzz got bigger, I became more recognized.” The tensions still existed in the studio, despite Max’s dire legal woes. “And when I came home this time, it was the same thing with these guys in the studio. No recognition, like, ‘Come on, give me my proper due. Where’s the etiquette here?'”
In the time Max B was out on bail, the Amalgam artist strategically timed his rise to fame with publicly announcing beef on his former mentor. “This time I was so flared up and angry. I had got some songs on the radio, and then waited till them songs got in rotation with [Funkmaster] Flex, and let everybody get a little glimpse of me this time, I put out another mixtape. And then once I knew I had the buzz, I went in the studio, stole a few more records, my records, and I started something I knew the city, the Rap game, was gonna eat up. I started a beef. I had to. It was me against the world.”
Since 2007, Max B has remained in beef with Jim Jones. French Montana, who included Biggaveli on his Excuse My French intro, also was involved with the dispute during Max’s incarceration.
Read the full Max B interview at Complex.com.
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