"They found me guilty as an accomplice to murder and a co-conspirator for felony murder and robbery, which they had no proof of whatsoever." Max B is talking on the phone from Bergen County Prison in New Jersey, where he's serving out a 40-year sentence for these charges. The offenses relate to an incident on September 22nd, 2006, when a man named David Taylor was shot and killed as Max B's fellow defendants Gina Conway and Kelvin Leerdam attempted to rob Taylor and his associate Allan Plowden of $30,000 at a Holiday Inn in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It's a spell of incarceration the rapper is appealing -- not least because he says he was back home in New York when the fatal robbery took place. Max B is confident his appeal will be approved, and estimates he could be a free man as early as this July.
In the interim, he's just released Vigilante Season, his debut album via the Amalgam Digital label. Recorded before he was locked up, the project sees Max, who came to prominence by helping one-time Dipset capo Jim Jones write 2006's summer smash single "We Fly High (Ballin')," teaming up with the producer Dame Grease, who crafted many of DMX's early hits. (According to Amalgam Digital's DJ Next, Jones sent out a cease and desist order when Max B attempted to sign to the label, claiming that he still owned rights to Max B's contract; following a lawsuit, a judge ruled against Jones's claim.) Unable to promote the album and its first single, "Money Make Me Feel Better," in person, Max B says, "We just got to ride on this one, hopefully it do good and I can come out and give you the next one and be behind it 100%."
In the days leading up to the album's release, Max B engaged in two phone calls from Bergen County Prison to speak about the rigors of his incarceration, anomalies in his trial, the perceived foulness of the New Jersey prison system, and the days when he held down a pre-rap nine-to-five at the World Trade Center.More »