Paul Lester 

Maxsta (No 1,306)

Meet an east London MC who looks set to be the latest Wretch to make his way up from the streets
  
  

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Hometown: East Ham, London.

The lineup: Ian Koromah (vocals).

The background: Maxsta's new single, I Wanna Rock, looks set to be his Traktor – the single that, after a few years of mixtaping and battling behind the scenes in London, proves to be his breakthrough commercial moment. It has been B-listed at 1Xtra, it's someone called Nick Grimshaw's Record of the Week, and all the people you'd expect to be pushing this kind of grimy urban pop are doing so. It's actually quite similar to Wretch 32's breakthrough, with a dumb repetitive quality and moronic infectiousness that you won't be able to resist finding stupid and fresh.

I Wanna Rock is based on a loop from Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's 1988 hit It Takes Two, which itself sampled heavily from Lyn Collins' 1972 song Think (About It). It's better, more riveting, than that sounds, although we're conscious here of contradicting our complaint last week about new New York boy wonder Joey Bada$$ being overly in hock to old school hip-hop. The difference is, I Wanna Rock – produced by Show N Prove (Tinchy, Wretch, Smiler) – sounds like something from 2012 (or at least 2011) with a reference to the past contained within it, rather than a wholesale recreation of an older sound. "I'm just stupid – I mean outrageous," raps Maxsta, born Ian Koromah 20 years ago, before announcing that he wants to "rock right now" with the dazed insistence of a man concussed. It's a bit early Dizzee, only his "flow" – totally the wrong word for a delivery that is, if anything, a series of jerks and jumps – isn't quite as idiosyncratic as the young Rascal's. You don't get the sense of a new language being minted, and a strange, alien voice with which to speak it. Maxsta just sounds like a hyped-up Londoner, full of his own imminent megadom.

The reason the kid from East Ham – who attended the same school as Kano – is so full-on is simple: he's putting all his energies into his music after the death of his younger brother earlier this year. "My family and I have woken up this morning to find my little 14-year-old brother dead," he announced on Twitter on 19 March, adding understandably: "My life's never ever gonna be the same again." Speaking a couple of months later, he said: "That day I became a beast … For me, failure is not an option now; it's not in my vocabulary. The last thing I want is my brother to look down and see me wasting my opportunity." And so he's thrown himself into his work, become the first signing to Jamal "SBTV" Edwards' label Just Jam and the face of Adidas's latest campaign, and recorded an album. I Wanna Rock is, we're told, largely the direction he'll be pursuing on it, but we'd be happy to hear more tracks along the lines of his previous East London Is Back. It's a stunningly spartan Atari teenage riot of electro bloops and beeps over which Maxsta spews grime vitriol and assertions before comparing himself, in no uncertain terms, to Marmite. What, a delicious paste that works equally well as a hot drink and on toast? Not sure what he means there. But we wish him every success anyway.

The buzz: "Great track, brilliantly produced and definitely representing British hip-hop" – Musiceyz.

The truth: Yeast London is back.

Most likely to: Show n prove.

Least likely to: Compare himself to Oxo.

What to buy: I Wanna Rock is released by Just Jam/RCA on 5 August.

File next to: Tinie, Tinchy, Scorcher, Dizzee.

Links: twitter.com/itsmaxsta.

Thursday's new band: Carnivals.

 

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