Maez301 knew he was making something special. He also realized that he needed support in order to achieve his dreams. “I think a big reason my life has changed is because I was allowed to experience something different than what I was experiencing,” says Maez301, who was born in New York, raised in Maryland, and is based in Los Angeles. “I was allowed to have more than I had, and nobody could tell me that I couldn’t because my mind was made up. I want people to feel the joy and the happiness that I’m filled with every day that I’m experiencing another day in life.”
Freshly signed to independent music powerhouse Strange Music, Maez301 is set to deliver his innovative, distinctive, and uplifting brand of music. The first release in a series of EPs is the M EP. It will be followed by the A EP, the E EP, and the Z album, which will feature new material as well as all the songs from his EPs.
“I wanted to do something creative,” Maez301 explains. “Since my name is Maez, each EP is going to be a maze with one of the letters, the M maze, the A maze, the E maze, and then the full album will be the combination of all those things into one big maze. I thought that would be a cool way for the fans to engage in the artwork for the covers, too.”
With the M EP, Maez delivers a striking collection of songs that sound somewhat familiar, yet dramatically different to anything else in the market. “It’s an outcast vibe,” Maez301 reveals. “I’m not quite following the mold of the sound of the industry. It’s abstract. It’s noisy. It’s passionate. It’s about a lot of passion and love. It’s about people getting to learn me, to learn my story a little bit.”
On “Get Em,” Maez301 announces his arrival to the game. It’s a chest-thumping exercise where his flow vacillates between rugged and sing-songy, sometimes from one line to the next, over the skeletal, hard-hitting beat. “It’s about me talking about everything that I’m coming for,” he says. “I’m trying to make my presence felt. The music told me that it wanted me to sing. That’s what music does. It tells me what to do. The OG told me to get ‘em, so I got ‘em.”
Maez301 pays homage to his long road to success on the emotional “No Rest,” while he partners with mentor, labelmate and rap titan Tech N9ne on the aggressive “Ayyy.” On the latter, he raps about poverty not being for him and how he’s out to accomplish his goals, which are lofty and far-reaching.
On “The Advance,” Maez301 details his celebratory thoughts now that he’s tasted success. Maez301 shows his creativity by using several different “voices” on the song, adding a captivating element to a song that traces his past while looking toward the future. “I didn’t have anybody else to do it, so I had to do it myself,” he says. “I knew what I was feeling, so I was going to be able to express it the best on the record. It was an opportunity for me to further tell the story before I started singing or rapping, just to kind of build you up and give you the context of what I’m talking about.”
Maez301 pulls from so many elements musically because he’s been immersed in art for most of his life. He started drawing when he was 3, began writing songs when he was 13, and won a rap contest in middle school. Rapping also runs in his family. His mother was a rapper who was managed by the late Chris Lighty, who helped guide the careers of LL Cool J, 50 Cent, and Missy Elliott, among others. But it was drawing and how to be a man – not music – that Maez301 picked up from his mother.
So when Maez301 heard himself on a song for the first time, it felt natural and he was mesmerized. “I fell in love with that creative outlet,” says Maez301, who was 16 when he made his first song. “I just wanted to get better at it. It became something I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
This was long before he had industry contacts, though. Nonetheless, Maez knew that he was creating something special in the basement of his parent’s house. “What I had was light years ahead of anybody that I knew in my neighborhood and light years ahead of how good I thought I was supposed to be because when people would hear my music, they’d say, ‘That’s not you,’” Maez recalls. “They would think that it was somebody famous. I always had this feeling in my spirit that I could do what these people do, and that I’m going to.”
After working on music with his friends, Maez301 tossed his insecurities to the side and released his Nowhere mixtape at the end of 2017. It’s a wide-ranging project that hints at the artist he’s becoming. “That’s why I go by Maez,” he says. (He added the 301 to pay homage to Maryland.) “You never really know what you’re going to get from me. You get lost in all that is my creativity.”
While crafting Nowhere, Maez301 had a vision that someone in the industry was going to discover him. After giving his project to his uncle, who lived in California, it ended up catching the attention of producer EP (The Game, Scarface), and Strange Music’s Tech N9ne and Inglewood Mugs. Maez301 ended up moving to California to pursue his musical dreams and became tight with Inglewood Mugs, who became his manager. Thanks to the momentum Maez301 generated with Nowhere, he was impressing the Strange Music family. He then appeared on “Unbreakable” and “Tremble,” two standouts from Big Scoob’s Duality LP in 2018. They were the first songs Maez301 did with Strange Music and set the stage for him to sign with the company.
Now as the newest artist inked to Strange Music, Maez301 wants his music to establish him as a superstar whose reach goes beyond his art. “My goals far supersede anything in music and entertainment,” Maez301 says. “It’s about just being positive and positively affecting other people’s lives before I got the deal and long after. I’m definitely trying to positively affect other people’s lives through my work and my character.”
With his brand of revolutionary music about to reach the masses, Maez301 is well on his way.