Max Minelli – If It Wasn’t For Love (Ft. Frankie J.) (Prod. By Happy Perez)
It’s been over ten years in the making, but Max Minelli is ready. He’s ready to show the world what he’s made of. He’s ready to show the industry what it’s been missing and he’s ready to prove to you that you missed out on a great thing… You know who you are.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d liken him to other southern rappers, given his charming nature, warm spirit and exuberant ways. But you’d be fooling yourself into thinking he’s something he’s not.
For all intents and purposes, Max Minelli is different than your average rapper and he likes it that way. Southern comfort is indeed more than a night cap for him. It’s in his genes. But there’s a wise, even aggressive self-starter who lurks within his wiry frame.
As a founding member of the Concentration Camp which spawned the career of Lil Boosie, Minelli, who’s also adopted the handle “Max Pain,” is a certified industry veteran. He’s matured from a space where he learned to work with others, to a place where he now dictates a full scale operation.
As the CEO of Young Self Employed, by which he shares ownership rights with producer Happy Perez, Minelli seeks to establish a movement that others will follow.
“I feel like hip hop was created to be, you know the music of like, rebellion,” he says. “This is how we want to dress. This is how we want to dance. This is how we want to act. And now, it’s like everybody’s doing the same thing. So, I want to start doing it. I mean, there are artists that are doing it, I’m not saying that nobody’s doing it, but they’re very few.”
Max’s attention to detail and desire to stand separate from the pack is part of what made him a local legend in Baton Rouge. Likewise, it’s what attracted Tommy Jones, Dead Game Records CEO, to him.
A little over a year ago Dead Game’s lead artist, Kevin Gates, was sent to prison on drug and weapons charges – a devastating blow Jones admittedly is still reeling from. Fortunately, Gates recorded enough material to remain relevant to the day, and Minelli’s addition adds necessary depth.
“We’re hoping he’ll get out any day now,” says Max with a look of optimism. “Until then, we have an extensive catalog that he recorded, and then we can do a Kevin Gates/Max Pain/Dead Game project together. We’ve worked together before; [kinda helped] each other get to the next level. So this will be no different.”
As individuals Minelli and Gates are arguably Baton Rouge’s most sought after and celebrated young talents. With Gates on his way home and Minelli in tow, Jones is confident about Dead Game’s ability to leave its mark. “We’re gonna be the example of how things run. In our old hood, where we’re from, everybody says ‘they did things their own way.’ If we come together we can do that a lot more than separate.”
Like few rappers today, Max started earning money as a rapper by the age of 15. The hustle of having to sell his own music has only made him stronger as a person and hotter as a commodity.
In less than a decade, he has released six albums, dropped several highly acclaimed mixtapes and was awarded SEA Artist of the Year in 2006. He fondly recalls the hustle that made him the underground celebrity he is, but feels the newly formed bond with Dead Game will help him achieve the greatness he yearns.
“It’s strength in numbers,” Minelli says flatly and with an obvous hint of gratitude. “When I was doing my own thing, it was me and two other people at the most. It’s hard to get anything done [like that.] It’s a lot because I’m an artist, I gotta do that, but at the same time, I got a responsibility to make sure that things get done and that things are right.”
“You know, so it’s like a huge weight off my shoulders to have Tom. “He’s gonna make sure things happen on that side and all I gotta do is just play my part.”
If playing his part’ means staying busy, it’s a done diddy. Minelli’s had a big summer, releasing a mixtape entitled Backpack Dreams And Hip Hop Wishes, where he sounds off over New York beats, and an album, Pain Medicine, which is available online and in stores nationwide.
Whether he’s recognized for all his accomplishments, overcome obstacles and downright good music, remains to be seen. But clearly, Max Minelli has paid his dues and played his part thus far.
“I feel like I deserve it,” he says confidently. “Bar for bar, concept for concept, song for song, my whole body of work. I want people to compare me to the greats that came before me.
I feel like I had all the chips stacked against me. I haven’t been in the best situations conducive for taking my career to the next level and there were days that I wanted to quit. But you never quit. So I just want to be an example of like, no matter where you’re at, whether it be sports or school, or a job you’re trying to get or whatever, take the lesson that you learned from it and apply it to your success.”