Original Writeup

HIGHEST PRAISE: Paramaxx showcases his alien, generational talent on Reaper Vol 1 & 2

by Dean Tartaglia

Paramaxx is basically an alien; he’s just visiting our planet, he lives in his own world.

I’ve listened to what has amounted to hundreds, if not thousands, of artists in the last few years ever since I started LSPR. Many of them are good, a handful of them are very good… but I can only count on one hand how many are truly GREAT, and Paramaxx makes that shortlist.

2019 saw Paramaxx release several projects, a pretty unmatched prolific streak for an underground artist who is so meticulously consistent, but for me the Reaper projects (Vol 1 & 2) perfectly showcased why Paramaxx is an absolutely monstrous and generational talent. Let’s dive in.

Each album opens with almost an exact template for a Paramaxx track; “FukkNigga” on Reaper 1 is perfect, always bass and 808 lead it sets the tone for how visceral the album is going to be, while keeping the hooks and ear candy coming with his synth sounds (so many synths all over these tracks, each one unique, never sounds generic or like filler). “Tear of Blood” highlights Paramaxx’s lyrical strength, his trademark repetition, his ability to drive a hook deep into your head (“my bitch is tatted up, ass fat, body mean” is always stuck in my head for hours afterwards). The deep atmosphere of “777” shows off his strength as a producer, his use of space is leagues above most modern internet rappers, the bass line one of the catchiest of his discography, the meltdown at the end more creative than whatever you’d hear on Soundcloud no matter how hard you searched. But it’s the album closer “KickFlip” that blows the rest out of the water and show’s the mainstream potential Paramaxx offers. The bass is as hooky as any Travis Scott single, the hook is rhythmic and infectious, the lyrics gritty and real, funny at times, and somehow alien while staying totally relatable to anyone who has ever wanted to feel powerful (“bitch I don’t need you OD’ing at my show”). The boom-bap ending is icing on the cake, a production victory lap, very well deserved and potentially my favorite moment on the whole album.

Reaper 2 gracefully starts with the line “she don’t behave and she don’t get no dick” and just blasts off from there. Lyrically there are several moments throughout this album where Paramaxx has this powerful energy that seems alien to the current culture we’re living in; like he can say or do no wrong, no fear of cancellation, because he literally doesn’t give a shit. Few artists in the underground have been brave enough to step up to bat and take on this role, and in that sense, he’s basically an alien, he’s just visiting, he lives in his own world. “Lie2Me” shares a lot of resemblance to Reaper 1’s “FukkNigga” — it’s all about bass, synth hooks, outrageous moments. “GirlsGoCrazy/Nosebleed” is my favorite track in the Reaper series and showcases Paramaxx’s potential as a lifer, as having staying power. With a bass-line that could work across genre lines, whether metal or alternative, a beat that accents in fresh dancey ways, and some of the most honest lyrics of the album (“my white bitch is crazy it’s fuckin, the brain is amazing I love it, my black bitch says ‘eyy’ when we fuckin, look me in the face when we cummin”), this is the human experience at it’s most primal, yet still synthetic and modern. The rave beat change-up in the middle is like a NIN rabbit hole, unexpected yet almost obvious. The techno ending is just pure energy and artistry. I don’t think I heard a better track all last year, this dude has the gift.

Paramaxx has taken a beat as of late, maybe it’s because of COVID, maybe it’s because he’s returned to his home planet for a minute, who knows… His online presence is one of the last few genuinely mysterious ones left. But that’s fine, the music speaks for itself, in ways that lap any of his contemporaries. These albums are going to get discovered by a wider audience this decade because the more algorithmic technology gets, the more the cream rises to the top, and when they do we’ll just be smiling on the sidelines, lucky we got a glimpse before everyone else caught on.

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