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Music / Maxinquaye

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Let me tell you about my mother.....

Don't wanna be on top of your list
Monopoly improperly kissed
We overcome in 60 seconds with the strength we have together
But for now, emotional ties they stay severed
And when there's trust, there'll be treats
When we funk, we'll hear beats
— "Overcome"

Maxinquaye is the debut studio album of British record producer and rapper Tricky, released in 1995 on 4th & B'way Records.

After leaving Massive Attack due to creative differences, Tricky had discovered singer Martina Topley-Bird, and they would begin working together with Tricky's debut single "Aftermath". Later on, Tricky would enlist Mark Saunders to assist in the production of his debut record after hearing his work with The Cure, with Tricky's own unconventional musicality influencing Saunders to experiment production-wise. It would also feature contributions from musicians from disparate backgrounds, such as punk guitarist James Stevenson, Icelandic singer Ragga, post-punk singer Mark Stewart and a young Alison Goldfrapp.

Maxinquaye (a modification of the name of Tricky's mother Maxine Quaye) would be noted for its experimental and groove-oriented take on electronic and hip-hop music of its time. Taking influence from dub music, it would utilize production techniques such sampling, pitch-shifting and the use of unconventional sounds in its unique style. Lyrically, the album would be doused in drug-induced pessimism and whispered odes to decadence, with the lyrics reflecting themes such as cultural decline, failed sexual intimacy and psychological fatigue.

Upon release, the album commercial and critical success, placing high on the U.K. charts and being acclaimed for its murky, idiosyncratic sound. In the years since, many have considered it one of the best records of the 1990s and a seminal release in the trip hop genre.


  1. "Overcome" (4:30)
  2. "Ponderosa" (3:31)
  3. "Black Steel" (5:40)
  4. "Hell is Round the Corner" (3:47)
  5. "Pumpkin" (4:31)
  6. "Aftermath" (7:39)
  7. "Abbaon Fat Tracks" (4:27)
  8. "Brand New You're Retro" (2:54)
  9. "Suffocated Love" (4:53)
  10. "You Don't" (4:39)
  11. "Strugglin'" (6:39)
  12. "Feed Me" (4:04)

Scared to skip and step in case you trip and trope

  • Accentuate the Negative: The record is not a particularly sunny listen.
  • Broken Record: At the end of "Pumpkin":
    I can't see and I can't breathe
    I can't see and I can't breathe
    I can't see and I can't breathe
    I can't see and I can't breathe
  • Concept Album: Although not in the traditional sense, the record would be mired in lyrics revolving around psychological distress, paranoia, British drug culture, and decadence, with a weighty, calamitous atmosphere permeating the entire album.
  • Cover Version: "Black Steel" is a cover of "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" by Public Enemy.
  • Dub: Maxinquaye would take massive amounts of influence from it's production techniques. Particularly its mixing style and use of reverb.
  • Epic Rocking: "Black Steel", "Aftermath" and "Strugglin'" are some of the longest tracks on the record, with "Aftermath" being the longest at seven minutes.
  • Genre Mashup: Although par for the course for trip hop nowadays, Maxinquaye would blend hip hop, soul, funk, psychedelia, ambient music, dub reggae, techno and post-punk in a seamless fashion.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Due to Martina Topley-Bird's extensive vocal contributions and featuring in the record's promotion. Many people thought Tricky was a band, if not a solo project of Martina specifically.
  • Intercourse with You: "Pumpkin", "Abbaon Fat Tracks", "Suffocated Love"
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Pumpkin", "Aftermath"
  • One-Word Title: "Overcome", "Ponderosa", " Pumpkin", "Aftermath", "Strugglin'"
  • Sampling: Maxinquaye would heavily utilize this with sample credits as diverse as "Rukkumani Rukkumani" by A. R. Rahman ("Black Steel") and "Ike's Rap II" by Isaac Hayes ("Hell is Round the Corner")note .
  • Rearrange the Song: "Overcome" is this, originally being a track by Massive Attack (of which Tricky was apart of) titled, "Karmacoma".
    • "Black Steel" in its original form of "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" would be a more traditional political hip hop track by Public Enemy. Tricky's cover of it would be a rollicking post-punk song with a Topley-Bird singing the first verse for the entire track with a warbling wah-wah guitar loop permeating it.
  • Protest Song: "Black Steel"
  • Shout-Out: Tricky claimed to have named "Abbaon Fat Tracks" that because, according to him:
    It reminded me of Abba, Abba fucked up, and with phat beats."
  • Single Stanza Song: For a track that lasts over five minutes, "Aftermath" is really just one verse, a chorus and a outro.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Alison Goldfrapp does this on "Pumpkin" and Ragga on "You Don't" being the songs primary vocalists instead of Topley-Bird.
  • Throw It In!: The entire record would sample from unconventional sources and even include elements considered unwanted in the mix, such as glitches and pops. One notable instance is "Strugglin'", which samples the sound of a creaking door and a gun loading.
  • Trip Hop: The record would do much to define the genre with its unique use of sampling and layered production style, making the record something of a classic and a Trope Maker for the genre.
  • Wretched Hive: "Hell is Round the Corner":
    We're hungry beware of our appetite
    Distant drums bring the news of a kill tonight
    The kill which I share with my passengers
    We take our fill, take our fill, take our fill
    • In general, Maxinquaye's atmosphere seems to present a scene mired with detached youth whose fear of emotional intimacy and dependency on drugs and sex has led to psychological pain and a fragmented sense of identity.