Last week, I tuned into Elliott Wilson and B Dot’s Rap Radar podcast for their interview with, my guy, Jim Jones. Besides the update about the issues with Cam and Dipset, I was eager to hear about his short-lived label Byrdgang records. Byrdgang was an interesting collective of artists such as Noe (Baltimore Native who sounded like Jay-Z), Mel Matrix (Brooklyn blood who was more of a Goon than a rapper. I mean, he yelled Su Woo at the end of every verse), and Sandman (I remember him from Smack DVD’s, dude is dead nice). Last, but not least, the two greats, Stack Bundles and Max B. The previous three get my utmost respect for what they contributed to Byrdgang’s growth but Stacks and Max were the chosen ones. I will break down the reasons why.
Stack Bundles hailed from Far Rockaway, Queens where “they don’t get along with anyone.” My dawg Stan introduced me to Stacks on a Smack DVD in 2006, the same Smack DVD that had the infamous Murda Mook vs. Serius Jones Battle on it. On Smack DVD’s, local NY artists with a buzz got a chance to shoot videos and share the platform with major artists. On this DVD, Stacks performed the classic “Look Nigga You Food.” This video was special because Stacks expressed his affiliation and allegiance to Bloods and Crips in NYC. Check the video below to see what I am saying. Around ’05 Stacks met Jim and joined the Byrdgang roster along with Max B. All my true Jim Jones fans can catch them on the Day In the Fast Life DVD in Miami. Shortly after, Jim Jones dropped his fan favorite album Hustlers P.O.M.E., which boasted some of the Capos best material (Bright Lights Big City, Emotionless Love of my Life, and of course BALLLLINNNNNNNNN) Amongst these songs was Weatherman, which featured Stacks and Lil Wayne. I will be honest, Stacks murdered the hook but his verse felt out of sync with Wayne and Jim. Nevertheless, the song bangs. Stacks‘ popularity rose and fans were eager to hear his new material. After a slew of collaborations and mixtapes, Bundles chance of success was cut short June 11, 2007, when he was murdered for his chain. Underground hip-hop fans were hurt and shocked. What made matters worse was that STACKS WAS KILLED IN THE HOOD HE CAME UP IN!!!! *Wipes tears and moves on*
Now Max B, also know as Wavy Crockett, Silver Surfer and Biggaveli (a Biggie, Jay-Z, and Makaveli hodgepodge) was an alien. Before I go on, let me clarify that I will not go into detail about any of his legalities; he is still fighting his appeal, you feel me? So, he met Jim around ’04 through Bruno, a mutual friend. Max appeared on The Capo’s second album Harlem: Diary of a Summer. He appeared on the songs G’s Up/ Baby Girl and Confront Ya Baby. All of these are classics, by the way. Max began releasing mixtapes, notably his Public Domain series. Unlike Stacks, Max was found on, maybe, 60% of Jim’s third album. (Here is a bonus nugget: Max wrote the hook for We Fly High.) Two years go by, something happened and Max left Byrdgang. This led to a wave (ironic) of diss records towards Jim Jones. Many of them suggested that Max might have had a love affair with Chrissy Lampkin, Jim’s current fiancé. I love Dead Solver from the PD6 mixtape. On that same tape, you can find Max’s dedication to Stacks over the Letter to B.I.G joint. Around this time, Max collaborated with French Montana and made history as one of the best duos in hip-hop. I actually started listening to French because of Max. They both went on to dominate the underground and release acclaimed mixtapes. In 2009, Max was sentenced to 75 years. He has been fighting his appeal ever since.
Now, Jim Jones isn’t a bad guy or a bad CEO. He learned the game hands-on and made great moves. Besides being a rapper/CEO, he also had a short stop at Warner/Atlantic as a VP for the urban department. In 2005, Kevin Liles appointed him after Liles and Lyer Cohen left Def Jam. Jim has many lo chess moves made in the game and doesn’t get enough credit. I’m not sure how he does his label paperwork but Max accused Jim of being unfair with the ends. On his legendary Come Up DVD interview, Max claimed that Jim still owned his publishing, meaning that Max could only release mixtapes. Some may see this as a hindrance but, it was a chess move on Jim‘s part. Let Max go ahead and make all these FREE diss records, it would only reach certain audiences. In conclusion, Jim and Max never reconciled. As Far as Stacks, Jim kept his name alive often , dedicating the track My My My from the Prey IV Reign album to him.
Rest In Peace Stack Bundles. Free Max B.
Hip Hop Forever ,