MAZE OVERLAY & BISHOP give us plenty of reasons to pack an Umbrella in the Desert.
The South West has been a hot spot for Indie Hip Hop for a minute now. Not as recognized as their counterparts in California or on the East Coast, but Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Denver have tight Hip Hop scenes that have been holding down the desert and mountain region for well over 20 years. Just in the past year we have gotten crazy projects by ROB GONZALES of Pheonix Arizona (ALL SAID & DONE), PH8 (ST. JOHNS WART), & THE SOOTHSAYERS out of Taos New Mexico (INTO EXISTANCE), and DECA (SMOKING GUN) who just until recently was calling Denver home before his move to N.Y. City. With a style that’s a mix of East Coast Boom Bap, and West Coast Chill Rap, the South West has made its mark in the History Books, and Phoenix AZ’s MAZE OVERLAY is making sure his name is included in the chapter.
Coming on the heels of his last star-studded LP, AZTECAS, which boasted bangers featuring Canada’s DANIEL SON, SNOTTY, ASUN EASTWOOD, FALCON OUTLAW, GRIM MOSES, and everyone’s favorite Platano from Murder Mass ESTEE NACK, MAZE OVERLAY now teams up with UMBRELLA/ BLACK HAND MUSIC GROUP Producer, BISHOP, to deliver a much more personal album in VITA CRIMINALE. On VITA, MAZE tells the story of a young hustler who got way too familiar with “The Life of Crime”, and “went from Student to the Master of the Dojo”, gaining enough experiences to share his own stories from both sides of the cell.
From the piano key dribbling at the beginning of DELIRIUM at the opening of the album, you get the feeling that MAZE & BISHOP are about to conjure up more storm clouds than sunshine. Over 9 slimy tracks (11 if you count the mood inducing Intro and Intermission produced by BISHOP), OVERLAY illustrates images more vivid than the tattoos that cover most of his upper body. He makes 100% of the shots he takes on the head nodding DBOOK, He flys back and forth, making moves over the Piano Keys and Bass Line, under the cover of night on FLY HARBOR, only to serve you a strong cup off coffee on 9AM IN PHOENIX to wake those still sleeping on him out in PHX City and beyond. He lets his story telling skills shine on the blind siding YOUNG GIRL, which introduces us to a sister who decides to become the Hunter rathre than the Hunted, Victomizer rather than the victim after being prayed upon for way too long. The beat, and vivid tale of good girl gone wrong makes this one of our favorite songs on the album. The street soldier anthem SUPREME SLIME is another Cyph Lyfe Fave that stays on rotation on WVCC Radio. Where AZTECAS was full of Underground Top Gunners, VITA only has few guest appearances, including PRO DILLINGER (UMBRELLAS IN THE DESERT) who lays down enough supressive fire to make you think he brought a whole crew with him to the heist. PRO DILINGER’s Raspy Voiced Cannonball Run continues as he and MAZE rain down fire on all fans of that “BIG UMBRELLA SHIT” on UMBRELLAS IN THE DESERT. But as the New video for DELIRIUM shows, MAZE OVERLAY doesn’t need to be chaperoned on any track. He has his own back, front and sides too, as he rolls with an inner dialogue that gives him the strength of 10 Crews.
With 2 Fantastic albums & 4 Singles under his belt in 2022, a growing discography that is worth going back and studying, and the promise of much more music coming in the future (including a feature from So Flow’s SHOTTIE on an upcoming project) MAZE OVERLAY is giving us one more reason to turn our attention to the Hip Hop Oasis in the Desert which is the South West and PHX City.