The truth will set you free — the widely known phrase has often been referenced in a variety of social, academic and spiritual congregations to promote the notion of self acceptance, honesty, trust, and free will. More often than not, we as people are conditioned to wavering emotions when confronting our own truth, leading to defects in our ethics, morals and trauma, alike. As a result, many of us branch onto vices and muses that may positively or negatively affect our lives — either way, it allows us to channel our energy into what our individual self views as an escape. Up-and-coming artist, Maj, recently sat down with Snackzzz to discuss the release of his debut musical project, “Truth,” and explain how he creates self expression in art despite battling through his complex cultural burden.
On the surface, Maj, who celebrates his birthday on the release of the project — October 1st, resembles a bruising offensive tackle and/or old school power forward; to sum it up, the man is large and intimidating. However, despite his large physical physique, confident demeanor, and social presence — Maj is human; he experiences the highs of life but also toys with the pain, loss, anxiety and/or depression, as highlighted in his music. In such a way, Maj blends an unique sonic sound with the skill of storytelling, creating a piece of work that portrays an array of emotions and feelings; much of which came from the dichotomy of his socio-cultural upbringing.
“I’ve been holding back for too long, but from this point forward I ain’t holding my tongue about my business ever since I was young; karma coming if you ever did me wrong.” — New Day (Bonus Track)
Born in Alabama before relocating to Newburgh, NY at an early age, Maj was a youth phenom who starred in both football and basketball throughout the New York metro area. Despite his local buzz, with the persuasion of his mother and a few mentors, Maj left Newburgh and moved to West Philadelphia where he would attend a prestigious private school on the Philadelphia Main Line: “I came from a rough environment in Newburgh, but then I went to a prestigious school in a different environment; it's a constant battle of being a spokesperson for black people, but having to let the hood know that I’ve kept who I am.” As Maj matured through the social challenges of balancing a new environment while holding onto old ties, he would eventually develop into a top Division-1 football prospect and attend Temple University. While at Temple, Maj began to tap into his musical gifts, but couldn’t seem to alleviate himself from his internal and external expectations.
Throughout the project, “Truth,” Maj juggles the act of pleasing and being accepted by others, while still attempting to fulfill his own individual standards. The first song on the album, “Perform,” directly compares the act of accommodating others as performing, or putting on an act. However, don’t let the song title fool you, Maj has always been thorough and authentic; he, like other young professionals, just has to balance the process of being young, educated and black while elevating in corporate America. “Angel from 9-5, 5-9 a demon...I’m black, black, black, black and I’m black and I’m proud. I eat chicken, drink Henny, play ball and listen to music OD loud.
Skinny jeans and something icy on my feet ‘cause that’s my style; y’all couldn't walk a block in my shoes let alone a mile.” (Perform, 2020.) As Maj puts it, the status of black men in society will forever be scrutinized, however, he chooses to focus on his internal truth and self expression; he is him — black, proud, confident and ready to handle business when need be. However, despite his brash demeanor, “Perform” also first peaks into one of Maj’ biggest vices: alcohol.
“You’re loyal and you bring me peace so that’s why I can afford to buy you the whole damn world.” — Love Language (Interlude)
Although quarantine has diminished most of our fun, many young adults enjoy
the perks of the “fast life” metropolitan lifestyle: clubbing, parties, and different social scenes may enhance the consumption of intoxicants. For most, they are able to separate their personal and public lives, and often recite the phrase, ‘work hard, play hard.’ Life is a balancing act; “Holy water just to get me through the week — I need church to open up, that's my sacred place of peace; target on my back, the price of living as a king!” (Perform, 2020). Although Maj may be a noble man of morals, his reference to holy water and church was just a play on his lust for drinking and partying; church is a moniker for the club.
As Maj navigates through his tracklist, he conceptualizes treating music as a diary. Whether it be his songs “A6,” “Put it On Me,” or “Do What I Want,” Maj repeatedly speaks on the peaks and valleys of his life — many of which are masked by women and money. In accordance to Maj, the song that most resonates with his message is “Paradise (La la Land).” The track, which is the most upbeat and free flowing in melody, serves as a melting pot of experiences and emotions. Simply put, when Maj is creatively and emotionally free, he is in paradise: “I just want to go to paradise, a place where no one knows my name; doesn’t matter if I’m black or white — no more struggles, no more pain.” (Paradise, 2020).
Towards the heart of the album, Maj began to shift the narrative of his story, and opted to give us a preview into the love in his life. Although Maj continues to hold women at the centerpiece of his work, he insinuates that the physical being is merely a personification of his self affirmation: “The transition between “Prove Me Wrong,” “Proud of You,” and “Show You Off” is a story about how I fell in love w/ music; it was a my new espace that didn’t harm me. Despite my love for it, I had to take a break because it was too much for me at times, but eventually I finally fell in love w/ myself and I’m finally telling myself that I’m proud of you; I don’t need outside affirmation it’s just based upon me. I’m finally gonna embrace you!” Following, the back end of the album fully embraced his freedom in expressing himself with singles “Let It Go” and “Set Me Free.”
“Gummy Bears, Brisk, Sour Patches; and don’t forget the honeybuns — the ice honeybuns!” — Maj on his favorite snack
Another notable component of the album is the usage of interludes. There are fifteen (15) songs on the disc; a large number for a debut album from an independent artist. From an operational standpoint, Maj runs the point man for his team, and was able to use his strong networking ability to secure a feature from Jadakiss — top five dead or alive. Also worth noting, Maj worked with an array of talented producers and engineers, most notably Tre Hood — speaking volumes towards the quality of his work and reputation. Moving forward, as an artist, songwriter and business professional, Maj projects to thrive in the industry!
Mixtape is available to stream via. Apple Music, Inc. and Spotify USA, Inc.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/truth/1532125945