Maze Koroma had to make a change.
"I was feeling a little stagnant in Portland and felt like I needed to leave for a little bit and kind of regroup," he explains. "I had all this new music and felt a lot of momentum but my mental health wasn't doing too well." Since September 2017 he's been living in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington D.C., and things are looking up: "So far everything's going as planned, I was really focused when working on the new material and had a clear idea the sound I was going for. I just knew the timing had to be right before we released anything."
Maze released two EPs in 2016—Osiris in February and It's Complicated, It's All Happening so Fast, Even Though I Can't Keep up with You, You'll Always Be My Sunshine in November. After over a year without dropping new music, "Rewind" serves as an impressive reintroduction to a talented rapper who pairs a sharp sense of humor with meaningful content. In under three minutes Maze throws in references to Jimi Hendrix, Kenny from South Park, and Dragon Ball Z, but also references trickle down economics and asks why a twelve-year-old has a pistol.
"Rewind" has an ominous beat courtesy of Neill Von Tally (whose collaborative album with The Last Artful, Dodgr, Bone Music, impressed us so much last year) and Maze delivers a hypnotic hook—producer and rapper in perfect harmony. Listen to "Rewind" via SoundCloud or YouTube now and buy/stream the track here once it drops tonight.
Look out for much more where "Rewind" came from in 2018, and get familiar with Maze Koroma through the interview below.
Who is Maze Koroma? What is it important for people to know about you?
Maze Koroma is a God MC first and foremost. I'm a hip-hop advocate and I represent hip-hop past, present, and future.
The last music you released was in 2016—what have you been up to since then and how has that journey to now releasing more music unfolded?
Well immediately after I released my last EP in November 2016, we started working on a full length project. For inspiration I started studying different eras of hip-hop and regions. I was inspired by how pretty much every major city had formulated their own version of hip-hop with different sounds and elements. It started in New York then trickled down to places like New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Texas, Los Angeles, and the Bay area.
So me and Neill started working on a bunch of stuff channeling all of these different sounds. Me and Neill have a great working relationship—he's able to help bring my ideas to life and as a producer he's super versatile. I wanted to make a fun project that had a lot of depth and is also fun to perform. I was doing a a lot of writing and really wanted to make sure I got all of my ideas out as clear as possible.
So from late 2016 to summer 2017 I was working a lot on the new project and doing a lot of performing on top of shooting videos with Riley Brown. I was just excited to test out the new music and was getting a lot of good feedback. I ended up finishing the project, but didn't feel like it was the right time to release it. I was feeling a little stagnant in Portland and felt like I needed to leave for a little bit and kind of regroup. I had all this new music and felt a lot of momentum but my mental health wasn't doing too well.
Since September 2017 I've been in Silver Spring, Maryland (right outside of D.C.). Thats where my family has been since 2010. I've been out here spending time with them on top of working and about to start taking classes studying broadcast journalism. My whole thing is I want to contribute to hip-hop culture in many different ways through music, different forms of media, journalism, film, photography etc. I took a bit of a break from social media and just been studying and collecting information.
So far everything's going as planned, I was really focused when working on the new material and had a clear idea the sound I was going for. I just knew the timing had to be right before we released anything.
What does "Rewind" mean to you? What do you want people to take from it?
"Rewind" takes place in the universe we created for the album. Think of a popping house party with a bunch of people but everyone's in their own zone and not worried about the next person. If I was on stage performing this song, I picture everyone in the audience doing their own thing and enjoying themselves. Using the music as a way to escape to whatever reality they picture in their own mind.
What's next after this single?
Well there's definitely more music coming up that I'm super excited about. I'm bringing a completely new sound to hip hop right now that's futuristic while paying homage to those who've come before us. Also a full project coming later this year. So I would just say stay tuned and stay in tune...