Maxo Kream took the rap world by storm with his 2018 debut album PUNKEN, and when he put out his major label debut Brandon Banks the following year, he channelled the same charm as his debut but the impact was lessened. It's a good album, but it didn't cause the same stir that its predecessor did. Maxo took more time to work on his next album, and when he prefaced it with "Big Persona" -- a stop-you-in-your-tracks single featuring Tyler, the Creator (fully in Tyler, the Rapper mode) -- it seemed like he had something bigger in store this time around. His third album, Weight of the World, is now here, and it makes good on the promise of "Big Persona." Other standout guest verses come from A$AP Rocky and Freddie Gibbs, artists who -- like Tyler -- share a vision with Maxo. These are artists that understand the power of a good hook, but who also care a lot about rapping and storytelling in a way that doesn't always have the radio in mind. (The album also helps put rising Houston rapper Monaleo on the map, thanks to her killer verse on "Crip Channel.") Weight of the World occupies that appealing middle ground between mainstream and underground; it's welcoming, accessible music, but Maxo is a rapper's rapper, and he's got a lot to say. It's too soon to say if the album will have the same staying power as PUNKEN, but these songs feel bigger than both of his previous albums. They have intricately crafted production, and they sound like more time when into them. It's unmistakably Maxo Kream, but it's not a retread of his early work. It opens up the doors to a whole new chapter of his evolution.

Weight of the World is out now via Big Persona/88 Classic/RCA Records. Stream it and watch the new video for "Cripstian" below...


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