Max Bent & Stan Ipcus – Best of Max Bent & Stan Ipcus | album

Max Bent and Stan Ipcus have been performing and recording together since the late ‘90s when they were both students at the University of Maryland. They literally met on-air in 1998 during a live freestyle session on college radio station WMUC when Max was beatboxing for a room full of rappers and Stan Ipcus stepped up to the mic to flex his skills.

The audio recording of that WMUC moment, plus eight other Max Bent and Stan Ipcus beatbox/MC collaborations spanning almost 25 years, are included on this new Best of Max Bent & Stan Ipcus compilation.

1. “Big Ip Don’t Play” – Recorded at the height of the pandemic in June, 2020, “Big Ip Don’t Play” is a flip on the classic Grand Puba cut “Big Kids Don’t Play.” Being that Grand Puba grew up in New Rochelle, just minutes from Stan Ipcus’ home in White Plains, he was always one of Stan’s favorite MCs. And when he had the idea to rap over a loop of Puba’s classic ‘Reel to Reel’ album cut, he hit Max up to flip a beatbox version of it and give it new life. The result? Well, somehow DJ Premier got a hold of the song and ended up playing it six weeks in a row on his Shade 45 radio show. Alchemist tweeted Ipcus to tell him he was a fan of the track, too. To this day, Max and Stan are still in disbelief.

2. “Pumpkin Cheesecake” – Originally recorded in 2005 over a rare Mobb Deep instrumental, “Pumpkin Cheesecake” was a staple for many years at live Stan Ipcus shows. And he and Max had always talked about making a beatbox version of it. So as the holiday season of 2020 approached, which is prime pumpkin cheesecake season, they decided to give it a try. Stan updated the lyrics and even included a shout out to DJ Premier in the opening bars, and Max laced him with a completely new take on the original. Once again, DJ Premier played it multiple weeks on his radio show, and even posted a video on his Instagram page cutting the song up. Insert two exploding head emojis.

3. “‘98 Live (WMUC Freestyle)” – You may notice that Ipcus is calling Max “Gabe” at the beginning of this. That’s because he confused Max with his friend Gabe who was also in attendance at the radio station that night, thus proving this truly was recorded at a time where Max and Stan didn’t know each other. Decent chemistry off rip, right? Coincidentally, Max is beatboxing renditions of two DJ Premier-produced classics during this live clip—Gang Starr “Work” and Das EFX “Real Hip-Hop.” It’s crazy how things come full circle.

4. “Storytime” – In the Fall of 1999, Stan Ipcus was invited by a classmate to participate in a Battle of the Bands on campus. And one of his opponents was the Anonymous Crew, a hip-hop group that his friend Max Bent was a member of. Anonymous took home first place, and Ipcus took second, winning five hours of free studio time at a local recording studio in College Park. So in January, 2000 during winter break, Ipcus and Max cashed in and hit the studio together to record three tracks. The first two were produced by Max on his ASR, but the last was a one-take beatbox/MC track where Ipcus ran through four verses filled with various tales of campus craziness as Max switched up beat styles multiple times. The unrehearsed recording became an instant favorite among their peers. And over two decades later, it remains a fun and impressive display of the duo’s skill, synergy, and creativity.

5. “Ippy What, Dippy Who” – After the success of “Big Ip Don’t Play,” Ipcus wanted to challenge himself and his old pal to take on a double-time joint next. He wanted to showcase just how ill Max’s beatbox skills were, and also how versatile he was as an MC. So he sent the idea to remake Jay-Z’s Timbaland-laced classic, and Max jumped at the idea. Within a week, Max had the beat done and Ipcus had his three verses written and recorded. If there’s one song on this compilation that demands Max and Ipcus get their respect, it’s this one.

6. “The Dunk” – This is the newest cut on the compilation, and a flip of a Stan Ipcus song that was shelved by the original version’s producer. The shelving pained Ipcus so much that he had to figure out a way to release the song with a different beat. So he enlisted Max to recreate the track, and with that, “The Dunk” became Max and Ipcus’ newest beatbox/MC jam. And finally, Ipcus could sleep again at night, knowing his favorite song was recreated to be even better than the original version he loved so much.

7. “Battle Bars (Bowery Poetry Club Freestyle)” – This verse is from the first round of a 2005 beatbox/MC team battle where Max and Ipcus ended up facing off against a then unknown Lin-Manuel Miranda in the finals. Spoiler alert: they lost after being disqualified for replicating an industry beat on their beatbox version of “Ipcus Walks,” a routine based on a flip of “Jesus Walks” they had saved for the final round without realizing it would be a rule-breaker. Whether Lin and his team would’ve won anyway without the disqualification is still a big unknown. But if you ask Ipcus, he will contend that he and Max were on fire and they absolutely deserved to win. In fact, the loss stung so much that Ipcus rudely dismissed Lin’s graciousness after the battle and he still refuses to watch ‘Hamilton’ to this day.

8. “Munched Out” – This medley of ethnic food-inspired beat and rap pairings was born during a session at Sony Studios in Manhattan, which was a second home to Stan Ipcus as he pursued a major label deal with the support of InYerFace Records in the mid-2000s. The deal never happened, and InYerFace folded before Ipcus could ever release any music with them. But this gem remains.

9. “9th Inning (Beatbox Remix)” – To celebrate the start of the 2022 MLB season, Max and Ipcus decided to take a swing at a beatbox version of Ipcus’ solo joint “9th Inning,” which was another favorite of Preemo’s and also made their mutual friend Peter Rosenberg’s Best of 2020 playlist. Max flipped both the beat and the chorus vocals to recreate the classic loop that Ipcus used as a tribute to one of his favorite rap songs of all-time, Fat Joe and KRS-One’s Diamond D-produced banger “Bronx Tale.” This is how you close out a beatbox/MC compilation.

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