Maze is from Leicester, Belgrave to be precise. He started DJing on pirate radio at 16 and soon hooked up with Oxford based rappers Thunda Tongue and Tung-Fu in 1994 and was at that time mentored by Spida Gill (RIP). 1997 saw Maze hook up with Kerfew for their earliest collaborations and since then he has been instrumental in the WCE (World Champion Entertainment) and MIC (Mother India’s Children) crews.
Maze says he is more into the harder side of Hip Hop, but obviously likes to mix this with an element of conciousness and lists amongst his influences artists like: Kool G Rap, Brand Nubian, Intelligent Hoodlum, ATCQ, Big L and Mob Deep.
02. Here To Stay
04. When I’m Chillin
05. The Root Of All Evil
06. I Get Mine
07. I’m On It
08. Need To Learn
09. A Tribute To Those
10. Going Away
12. Bonus – Nobody Loves You
The LP sparks off with an Intro track which features chopper sounds and sirens followed by pianos and strings and is rounded off with a few samples from other tracks, but this is just an atmosphere builder as nothing much is said. The LP gets going properly with Here To Stay which is a bit of a modern throbber with synth compositions in which Maze chats about holding it down for his people and keeping it real.
Next up is Smitten another nicely mixed track with a simple but effective beat which plays a breathy sample. As you could guess from the title on this Maze tells us about a sweet cutie pie who he was obsessed with and tells us how he would chirps her and get with her. When I’m Chillin is altogether different. A much darker composition which is a warning not to step to Maze’s crew whilst he is relaxing. In between the tracks we are treated some some beat snippets and some of them are sounding really good.
The Root Of All Evil is another well realised track due to the sounds chosen to make it up, but I felt that some of the hi-hats were clashing with each other and needed to be put in time more. Maze is capable, but his delivery doesn’t blow me away. I Get Mine which follows is the most clubbified beat, but I wasn’t feeling the tin whistle at all. Maze puts on a harsher tone and basically spends the track extolling the virtues of the thug lifestyle and the riches it can bring you.
Need To Learn starts off to be one of the high points of the LP as Maze delves into his ancestry and fills the track with Egyptian mythology and although he is not trying to educate people he does tell the listeners that they need to seek knowledge. Occasionally not all of Maze’s lines seem to scan or rhyme and this detracts from the lyrics and makes you think that he could do a bit better.
A big speaker bursting wobbly deep bass is the basis for Going Away on which Maze pays his respects to those who have passed. And as ever the LP rounds off with an Outro which is simply there for Maze to shout some thanks and say goodbye for now to the listeners.
And Maze is not finished yet as he throws in there the bonus track Nobody Loves You to complete the LP. This one is drastically different from the rest as it features an electric guitar and has a much more rocky feel. Additionally for this Maze drops a different flow which is very tight to the beat. There is something about this which works.
This LP represents the journey that Maze has made in the most recent years of his life, starting from his hustle on the streets through his reign through to his eventual downfall as, in his own words, crime does not pay! Maze has withstood everything that has been thrown his way and sees himself as having been reborn via his music.