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Monqui Presents


Friday, December 01
Holocene   All Ages
Show: 6pm    Doors: 5pm
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“I heard he don’t make no mistakes, I heard he don’t make none,” Maxo chants on “Nuri”, a highlight from his forthcoming album EGHASOH (Even God Has a Sense of Humor). The record, a tribute to the mercurial nature of life, finds the rapper born Maximillian Allen earnest, full-hearted, and lyrically agile. His delivery punches as he poetically unpacks the trials and blessings that have marked the last three years since Lil Big Man, his stirring and meditative Def Jam debut album. “Life is always gonna be life-ing,” Maxo says, speaking to the spiritual lessons that inspired this new project and an album process that has revealed to him the many ways in which he’s divinely protected.

EGHASOH’s striking cover features three casted sculptures of Maxo by artist John Ahearn, photographed by the rapper’s friend Steven Traylor. The image both preceded the music and set the tone for the record’s overall aura. Experiencing the casting process—which required 20 minutes of stillness for form, and breathwork to avoid claustrophobia—became a metaphor about ego death for Maxo. “I had to go to a space where I was just not there,” he says. As the molding was poured over his body and the voices of those in the room became distant, Maxo’s inner world came into focus. “By the time it hardened, it seemed like the sculpture had risen to be 20 feet above where it was first— almost like it grew tall,” he explains. EGHASOH, in its aural ebbs and flows, honest questioning, profound revelations, and elegant verse, is Maxo standing spiritually tall following a period of challenges with family and friends.

Maxo’s writing process has always been rooted in imagery, observation, and capturing moments. Growing up in Southern California, Maxo spent a lot of time combing through old family photo albums, some of whose contents have become the artwork for prior releases. But his fascination with visual memento is less about nostalgia or remembering, and more about exploring concepts of growth, healing, and cycles. His artistry is intentional and deeply sensitive: “If I’m not feeling it, I’m not gonna record.” While his past records openly grappled with emotional turbulence, anger and depression, EGHASOH is Maxo’s acceptance stage: “Move with grace still regardless of hate that will come; Half living off my word ‘fore I trailed in dust, it really just is what it was,” he spits on “Nuri”. “I can’t really judge nothing. I can’t sit up and be mad at shit because everything is, everything is kind of coexisting,” he says.

Musically, EGHASOH is an impressive evolution from Maxo’s earlier, unornamented lo-fi projects. With an emphasis on jazzy instrumentalism and soothing, intricate vocals from both the artist and featured chanteueses Liv.e, Melanie Charles, and keiyaA, EGHASOH is a welcome and beautifully complex sonic effort. Its contributors include a range of musicians: Pink Siifu, LastNameDavid, Madlib, GrayMatter, Karriem Riggins, Beat Butcha, Lance Skiiiwalker, as well as arrangement support from Mount Kimbie’s Dom Maker.

“Nobody talks about the fact that we’re changing as we get older… Everybody just acts like you supposed to know,” Maxo says about another standout, “Face of Stone”. Its moody bassline meets a cinematic accordion melody that paradoxically both broods and uplifts—a fitting production choice that mirrors the song’s story. “I’m seeing how this world is chipping you and withering your bones,” Maxo says. “I’m talking about myself, talking about my bro. [But] it’s never nothing you gonna do that’s a one stop shop in this life. You gotta keep staying diligent and consistent.” For Maxo, EGHASOH is nothing more than another moment on the timeline of his offerings of self-expression as an artist—one whose sole intention is to, in his words, develop as a human being and heal. “I need you to know where I stand right now. That’s what this album means to me. It’s my word. It’s my integrity. It’s how I feel. It’s everything on my heart, like real shit.”