The veteran Swedish producer Max I Million returns with a diverse collection of hip-hop gems called We Own the Night, his second LP on the NINETOFIVE Worldwide Beatmakers imprint. Every song on this album is great, straight up, although we’ve come to expect nothing less from Max I Million, one of the best representatives of Sweden’s potent beatmaking culture.
In a 2017 interview published by NINETOFIVE, Max said that Swedish hip-hop has divided into many different styles and approaches. We Own the Night is pretty reflective of that. “We have everything from Trap and club music to jazzy cratedigger Boom Bap.” This album and Max’s style overall mostly falls under that third camp, but there are also some old school club adaptations of hip-hop on this release, like the title track and “Next Level Shit”. Features from devastatingly smooth MCs Twizzmatic, Blu, TriState, and Planet Asia add climactic moments to this primarily instrumental album, like the single “Coupe Deville” on which TriState and Planet Asia lace a soulful beat with righteous, weighty word association.
Max’s music is marked by stirring chord progressions on keys and synths blended with crafty samples that float over steady, slapping drums. Our favorite song on the album is the jazziest, “Son of the Sun 2”. After moving through so much boom-bap, the skipping drum pattern and dancing bassline here can catch one by surprise and put you in a state. Then the album takes a turn for the smooth and ends with three contemplative instrumentals, each one having open space, prominent basslines and ethereal synthesizers. Max I Million really works into the pocket here with “Midnight Snack”, adding foley texture and a fluttering synthesizer lead to a walking bassline.
“It's insane how much talent there is in such a small country,” Max said of the hip-hop scene in Sweden. NINETOFIVE works with several Swedish beatmakers including Gonza, Boukas, Moose Dawa and Cam the Downrocka. They’ve issued several Max I Million releases over the last three years including collaborations, singles, LPs, an EP and a mix that specifically highlights Swedish talent. “In Sweden there is a friendly competition thing going on, which has elevated beatmakers to just get better and better.”
It’s hard to stop bumping We Own the Night, which has so much depth and dimension. If you can manage to pull yourself away from it, check out other parts of Max I Million’s catalog and the other Swedish producers on NINETOFIVE Worldwide Beatmakers.