Max Wells is a well-rounded hip-hop artist originally from Michigan and Indiana that’s been in-and-out of living in LA since 2017. He’s really been all over and has steadily built his musical empire off of his captivating stage presence and intelligent lyricism. Over time, his vision and sound have only gotten a clearer focus. His earlier work is reminiscent of his organic talent for dropping bars, and on his most recent EP “CaterpillAr” you hear a more melodic side of Wells.
Now 25 as of last month, Max Wells has been making what he calls “actual music” since seventh or eighth grade. Despite the fact that he’d been writing for even longer before that, he claims this to be his more formal entrance into music. Combined with his interest for making short films in junior high, he took the serious step into releasing music when he was around 16-17. By the ages of 19-20, he was formally putting out projects and making videos. He put one year into college, but ultimately dove straight back into the music.
It was actually his mom who challenged him to take his music completely seriously. She gave him one year, made him record 24/7, and insisted he wake her up at least once in the night from his loud music. From this loving push, Max was able to really boss up and own his artistic development, essentially building his brand by himself.
At first, Max Wells’ music was dropping on Soundcloud and he built a substantial following. He was focusing more on the harder stuff, the heavy bar delivery, and less introspective overall. There’s no denying his abilities to tapdance on a beat, and during those times it was more about the flow and the energy.
He attributes his foray into singing to his interest in Kid Cudi’s work, and how he approached the “rapper” persona. Wells felt like Cudi was able to exist perfectly in between a singer and a rapper. This opened his mind to writing songs and melodies, and experimenting with his voice. Simultaneously, he came to realize how he was limiting himself in some ways with more hyphy content.
For about a year and a half out of high school, Max was living in Austin, TX and began building a lot of buzz. There was no culture in Indiana, so he figured he’d move in with a couple friends in Texas. This is when Wells was starting to perform heavily, finding a niche in the local Austin scene opening for big acts. During this time he opened for the likes of Lil Peep, MadeinTYO, Smokepurpp, and $uicideboy$. He cites a few promoters that were really into his music and put him on to a lot of these big opportunities. This was all happening around 2016-17.
Now I’m Here (2017)
2017 saw the release of Max Wells’ first album, Now I’m Here, with the title possibly reflecting his move to LA. The seven track project has predominant features from CRITTICAL on five out of seven of the tracks. You’ll hear Wells still flexing on plenty of bars, but with more experimentation on more melodic methods of delivery. The beat selection throughout the album is big and the kind of vibes I’d roll the windows down to while driving through my city.
CaterpillAr EP (2020)
Max went back to Indiana and Michigan for most of 2019. During this time he was working at his uncle’s car detailing spot. Simultaneously, he was writing his next formal project, the “CaterpillAr” EP. This EP was meant to showcase more of Wells’ diversity in songwriting. Although he outsources his beats from his trusted network of producers, he handles all of his recording, mixing, and engineering himself. The EP spans a spectrum of vibes that cover introspective topics such as the first track “Therapy.” This album is about living right now. It’s about the importance of not waiting until the future to do something great.
Throughout you’ll still find tentative bars, but with more ethereal and spacey beat selection. “Infinity” is a melancholy banger with somber piano samples and emotional melodic delivery. “CaterpillAr” is undoubtedly more of an intimate window into Max Wells’ artistic soul.
“Beside Myself” notably features production from Atlanta’s Nard & B of Trenchwerk. This is a connection Wells built off a Soundcloud friendship with world-famous producer Bobby Johnson. After working on a project together, Bobby’s manager Rico Brooks brought him into random sessions in LA. This got Max connected with Chase Millie, a fellow Trenchwerk producer.
Pickitup & Sunshine
With the diversity he’s built as an artist that can both spit braggadocious lines, as well as more melodic and thoughtful lyricism, Max wants to keep mixing it up. His more recent tracks “Pickitup” and “Sunshine” are a testament to this. “Pickitup” is more of Max’s classic hyphy beat selection and coy bar delivery. He wanted to give his day-1 fans a refresh on the original content they still seek out from him. Check out the track featuring Drelli below and turn up.
Even more recently, Max put out another new single “Sunshine.” This track reminds me more of what he put together on “CaterpillAr” with a nice twist of summer vibes. A breezy beat by definition, “Sunshine” is a mood that could take you cruising down the PCH with a joint in hand enjoying life. Light synth work with chirping bird samples overhead, it has that emotional bop that you could zone out to while still getting lit. The song details the endless sunny days of LA and how it can speed up time or slow it down depending on where you’re at in life.
Max Wells is going to continue to drop intelligent singles that interchangeably show his talents as a rapper alongside his rivaling melodic croonings. Fans can expect to see a new song from him coming out every month almost indefinitely. Max is comfortable where he’s at now with his music, ready to put out whatever feels right while still giving his fans what they know and love. With already over 100k monthly listeners on Spotify, he’s sure to keep climbing and garnering visible attention.
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