Despite the fact that he is only sixteen years old, the Minneapolis artist/producer Max Taylor has managed to rack up a pretty good-sized discography, boasting eight singles six of which do not appear on his debut full length Black and White. Taylor made Black and White, eight tracks worth of spacey and atmospheric hip-hop, all by himself using the software program Ableton Live 9.
Taylor spends a lot of his lyrical time softly half-rapping in a voice that sounds like he is barely stressing his vocal chords or trying too hard to put bass into his voice. This could also of course be an added effect of Ableton Live 9. Many of his lyrics seem to be about relationships between people as well as socioeconomic issues.
Taylor is at that age where one, if they’ve any real sense at all, begin to develop a sense of who they want to become. Taylor has chosen art as his path, which as so many can attest to is one of the loneliest and often dissatisfying roads one can venture down in terms of forging a career. And nowadays, with tools such as Ableton Live 9, and free platforms such as Soundcloud and YouTube, on which anyone can showcase their music, the competition is all the more rife, which means that anyone whose music is anything less than ear catching can take a number and go sit down until they’re called, which will probably be never.
It seems like a hip-hop cliché these days the phantom “you” to whom rappers are always speaking to in their lyrics. It used to be that “you” meant the cops, or white people, or just anyone whom the speaker wanted to speak out against without having to use a proper noun. This phantom “you” is all over Black and White, along with sample interludes (featuring Bill Murray and The Beatles), and beats and synthetic samples which after a while make Black and White sound like one very long track.
The album starts with "Prospect" which puts together low frequency bass hits, with backward effects and angelic harmonies. It's refreshingly original in concept and delivery. "Black and White" sounds like a mix between Xiu and Xiu and James Blake while "Glasses" is an atmospheric, jagged song that has a ominous feel. Bottom line is Taylor is onto something with his music. It's inventive, unique and but not completely there yet.
For all intents and purposes Black and White is an example that youth never ages. Like anyone who’s ever had good imagination and a dream, Max Taylor is in the beginning stages of forging an artistic career. And after time Taylor will likely look back on Black and White like most artists look back on their early efforts, as an apprenticeship from which they built a foundation and learned humility.
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