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Respected entertainment journalist and blogger Maxx Hassell has come a long way since he was the ferocious teen who turned the Chicago industry business model upside down. Willing to take advantage of most every opportunity that came his way, the artist turned industry every man got away from the music that made him a Chicago legend as Em Dot. But like all cycles, Maxx Hassell has come full circle and is preparing his new EP Suite, The Wood Grain Diaries for an SS14 release.
The Wood Grain Diaries was birthed in content by the state of today’s social media. An R&B re-working of Nas classic “One Mic” that Maxx titled “One Night” was created solely to engage his online family for Throwback Thursday. But the response has been overwhelming. UK publication Niji Magazine posted the SoundCloud link to the song along with an accompanying article and that was met with over 200 Facebook “likes” and “shares”, moving the “Introduction” feature past the traffic of all of the sites front page stories. This is attributed to Maxx’s small yet loyal fan base who have enjoyed his writing and celebrity interviews, but have been eager for him to find his way back to the studio. Though Maxx had been making a small buzz as the new kid in Atlanta, performing his last single “Take A Lil Back” with his dancers Serita and Pytron, he wanted this new song to fit within a proper context and before long, the concept for The Wood Grain Diaries came to fruition.
The EP Suite will include six or seven songs, all remakes of hood car classics, and two original songs, including the Nard & B produced “Take A Lil Back”. Maxx hopes this project will be as impactful as the Dot project that made him a viable part of the Chicago conversation. It will include the same raw energy and the same “Fresh Prince of the Hood” swag that Maxx is known for. Having learned plenty hands on behind the scenes, The Wood Grain Diaries is in fact Maxx’s thesis. Unlike any other project, Maxx will be sharing writing duties with childhood class mate, Randy McCray, and having his brother, producer Red Head, assist with A&Ring the opus. Maxx is not calling in any favors on this one either. He has no plans of cracking open his contacts to pull any energy. He is standing solely on the strength of his teaching.
The Wood Grain Diaries will be available to the public by late May/early June; just in time to be the soundtrack for the summer. If all goes well, The Wood Grain Diaries will re-establish Maxx Hassell’s presence on the music scene, and showcase a more mature and still willing artist ready to win. The once eager student has become an apt and more than capable player in the game. And with The Wood Grain Diaries, Maxx Hassell is undoubtedly moving into the fast lane of success.