East coast rapper Max B went through a fast but stormy few years in the mid-2000s, becoming a member of Jim Jones' Byrd Gang crew, leaving said crew in a heated and public falling out, and getting sentenced to 75 years in prison on a murder charge, all in the span of three years. He continued to record new material while locked up and managed to release multiple mixtapes before his imprisonment, including the Million Dollar Baby series as well Coke Wave, his collaborative effort with French Montana.
Max B was born Charly Wingate in 1978. Raised in New York City in a large and struggling family, Max B turned to street crime early in life and was in jail for robbery between 1997 and 2005. Upon release, he immediately began pursuing a rap career, coming up with the stage name "Max Biggaveli" by combining the nicknames of his favorite rappers (the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Biggie Smalls," Jay-Z's "Jigga," and Tupac Shakur's short-lived "Makaveli" phase,) ultimately going by Max B for short. He was introduced to Jim Jones by his childhood friend Cam'ron, and became a key player in Jones' Byrd Gang upon their formation in 2006. His debut mixtape Million Dollar Baby was release that year, as was its successor Public Domain: Million Dollar Baby Radio. 2006 was also the year Max B was charged with felony murder connected to a robbery that took place at a Holiday Inn in New Jersey. He was in jail when third mix tape Public Domain 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer came out in 2007. All told, the rapper was incarcerated for ten months before posting two-million dollars in bail with money made by selling his publishing rights to Jones. This would be one of several financial disagreements between the two that led to Max B's departure from Byrd Gang in 2008 and a heated public beef between the two. Prolific throughout 2008 and 2009, Max B released mixtape after mixtape, including new volumes in the Public Domain and Million Dollar Baby series, Wavie Crockett, and two volumes of the Coke Wave series with French Montana. In June of 2009, he was given a 75 year sentence for his 2006 murder case. While in prison, close friend and collaborator Dame Grease put the finishing touches on the debut studio album Max B had mostly finalized in 2008, and that album, Vigilante Season, was released in 2011. The rapper also appeared on various mixtapes and features throughout his prison stay. In 2016, he took a plea deal and his sentence was dramatically reduced, offering the rapper a chance of parole by the year 2025. ~ Fred Thomas