Courts x City Kids BBQ 2017

Summertime is for BBQs, especially in New York. This summer, Courts New York and City Kids NYC set out to host a BBQ filled with good vibes and endless fun for all in attendance. After extensive planning and discussions around postponing festivities due to weather changes, we decided to move forward with our much anticipated rooftop “Chill n’ Grill.” 

The event started off on a high note, as both new and familiar faces began arriving with smiles and peaked energy. With food sizzling on the grill and Kneegash on as DJ, people were excited for everything in store. But nothing could prepare us for what came next. 

As rappers Maxx Brown, Elijah Smith, and Detroit Red began setting up for their performances on stage, the BBQ was rattled by the complaints of the apartment building’s alleged “tenants association.” They argued that our selected venue was not structurally sound to host a party, although, simultaneously bringing up food, beer and guests to their supposedly fickle roof. Their message was clear: we weren’t welcomed. Despite having permission to use the premises, we were asked to leave without sufficient reason. We’ve been to this spot in the past, under the hospitality of other tenants in the building, and had intitally been welcomed by residents that same day. Our party had to end so that they could jumpstart their own.  

We live in a fragile time where prejudice is ubiquitous. This wasn’t the first time we’ve dealt with this, and definitely not the last. Their intent was evident from the moment they approached us. We weren’t given a legitimate reason as to why WE couldn’t be there and they could, but it’s fairly easy to read between the lines. Their feelings are fueled by the rapid gentrification of our neighborhoods, where the people moving in love the “grit” and the “realness” of the neighborhood but not the people who inspired and lived that reality. Black culture is greatly coveted and used as selling point, but when enjoyed by it’s creators, it becomes a threat to our appropriators. 

Though the BBQ ended earlier than expected, everyone in attendance had a great and memorable time. Thank you to everyone for coming out and spending your time with us. We appreciate the love and support and look forward to coming back stronger and better next summer!

Fool’s Gold Day Off 2017

This year’s Fool’s Gold Day Off was pretty crazy for me. To put it in perspective, I was at work from 8am and got off at 5pm. I was debating on if I should even go because I missed most of it, but my sister and I decided that we’d make the trip out to Coney Island despite that. I’m glad that we did. 

I ended up seeing and meeting my favorite rapper of all time, plus a few legends! Here’s a few pictures I took. 

Thank you to Jay Electronica, DJ TJ The King, A-Trak, and Freeway. I appreciate the time and the opportunity to snap these photos. 

X-Files New York Pop Up Shop

I’ve been ghost for a minute, but I’m back with a new post for to hold you guys over. 

Yesterday, Detroit Red hosted his first pop up shop for his brand, X-Files New York. Starting off rapping, Red has collaborated with his brother Elijah Smith on many songs and has released a full length project called X-Files: The Appointment. He has now taken his talents to the world of Streetwear, hosting his first pop up shop on a rainy Saturday evening where the vibes were contagious. Seeing some of his close friends to many of his supporters come from across the city and pack into a backyard patio to shop and watch him perform was a beautiful sight. It showed how someone from the city has grinded and is one the verge of separating himself from the pack. 

Go check out his music and the brand!

One Of Uptown’s Finest

If you know anything about living Uptown, you know how tight knit the community is. I take pride in being from Harlem and the Bronx because of this. Even you haven’t known someone for too long, you can see how genuine that person is through conversation. That’s how I feel about Maxx Brown. I heard him for the first time on Detroit Red’s mixtape X Files: The Appointment, and got to see him live this year. And when I listen to his music, I can tell how genuine it is to him. Here’s what my man had to say when we linked up earlier this week. 

Where are you from? How did that shape you as a person?

I was originally born in Harlem I moved to the Bronx, Highbridge specifically when I was in about the first grade when I moved back to Harlem briefly and then moved uptown, Baychester area in 2003. It’s funny because as a kid I lived in Harlem and hung out in the Bronx and as a teen I lived in the Bronx and hung out and Harlem. I feel like being in between Harlem and the Bronx shaped me perfectly, the duality of the two areas of the city of all though they are close is very different. I was able to pick up some of the grittiness of the Bronx along with the charisma or flashiness if you will have a Harlem Nigga. It did get a little awkward in like 06-07, when the Bronx and Harlem had there a little war.

How did you first start rapping? When did you start?

I’ve actually only been rapping for about three years but honestly I’ve always wanted to rap, just lacked courage for one and 2, I never actually believed people make it rapping. I guess I began to want to rap when I realized I could decipher the meaning behind my favorite rappers lyrics better than the people around me. Then I started to believe that I could put together a decent rap but I never tried because of lack of confidence, like I said. I always tell people that I got the courage to rap from the ASAP mob. Watching people my age from my area so to speak come of age right before my eyes was completely inspiring, that’s why it’s RIP yams every day.

I first heard of you on Symptoms on X Files: The Appointment by my bro Detroit Red. How’d you two link up?

Detroit Red is my guy he’s one of the few rappers I actually consider a friend. He went to college with a friend of mine from high school and I guess he caught wind of some of my material at some point and he was feeling it so he reached out and we been cool ever since. When I did the brief stint on tour with Joey Fatts and cutthroat records he came with me to two dates.

I saw you at the Quentin Miller Gun Metal Grey Tour in Brooklyn. How did you get down with that? How would you describe that experience?

I got that show through lifted lights, it’s in income in concert promotion company I believe for lack of a better description of what they do. They had booked me for a show last June and it was a great experience when I saw the flyer for the show with Quentin Miller I contacted JY, Who runs and created lifted lights for a possible slot. And he held it down for me. I won’t lie that experience was dope to me. I was a huge drake fan before the ghostwriting scandal, so to perform with someone who wrote his arguably biggest rap record was like a sign of validation, Plus the turnout was great and they seem to have been fucking with me.

Who are some of your influences?

Honestly I feel like I have relatively new years when it comes to rap music. I never had an older brother and my older cousin who guided me growing up was arrested during much of my adolescence. So I grew up bad boy and biggie, that’s my like foundation. Then he went to DMX and Jay Z but I will never really was a huge fan of a particular rapper until Drake. Drake to me was the first rapper who didn’t have a gimmick or a persona or a fake gangster backstory, he was just himself clever and dope and I fucked with him for that. As of now I feel my biggest influence is Wale and vince staples. I feel Vince is really something special and rap music because he is truly a millennial conscious gangster. It’s funny because I get a lot of J. Cole comparisons but I was never really into him.

How do you feel about the current sound of NY Hip Hop?

I feel New York hip-hop is in a great space I have been tweeting Viceland and noisy music because right now is the perfect time for a noisy style documentary or New York. From the legends to the mainstream two cats on the underground New York is in full force right now
What do you think you can bring to the game that’s unique to you?
I think a bring a new sense of realness to the game. When people here realness they usually think selling drugs or talking about guns in things like that. But We live in a very transparent time where being yourself is vital but it’s easy to get caught up in tryna be someone you aren’t. I feel like I will make it OK to be who you are. 

Do have anything you do besides music? How do you balance doing both?

Yes I work a 9-to-5 that funds my life. And it does truly take sacrifice to balance both. But if you’re like me and you know this is what you want to do for life you just have to keep that in mind every day

Do you have any projects/albums/performances we should be checking for?

This Friday, March 24 I will be upstate New York in Kingston. March 25 I’ll be performing at a pop up shop where I am releasing my first piece of merchandise and I’m very excited for that. Also April 18 I’ll be performing at SOBs for the first time something I’ve been waiting to do since I’ve started rapping. Every day I’m working on getting better to bring you my second project “you learn something new every day”. There’s no date for it because I don’t want to rush it but I am working on it.

Check out Maxx Brown on Instagram, Twitter, and on Soundcloud.