Album: Goon Music 1.5: The Doomship
Producer: Dame Grease
One of the producers most closely associated with Max B's rise was Dame Grease, who first made his name producing a significant portion of DMX's debut It's Dark and Hell is Hot, an earlier example of a mainstream-unfriendly performer crossing over in a major way. Grease's tracks for Max also epitomized this apparent contradiction: they had a dilapidated, grungy, underground atmosphere, but retained an open, everyman's accessibility.
In this case, Sting's glossy, erudite "Englishman in New York" was swiped and turned into a gritty NY rap anthem. (Considering that song's role in reggae music—think Shinehead's "Jamaican in New York"—this isn't as strange as it might seem at first; Max's approach to mixtapes often had a dancehall-like omnivorousness in repurposing pop music history.) In this case, Branford Marsalis' saxophone and Sting's sped-up vocals framed French Montana, Dame Grease, and Max B's dusty vocals, culminating in French's Newports-and-Henny chorus: "And you can smell it in my breath when I talk/Goon music, we run New York." —David Drake