“I have a song called ‘Louisiana Sky,’ and the hook of it goes… Sometimes I ask God why, looking at the Louisiana sky, why the fake people live and the real people die, looking at the Louisiana sky,” said Max Minelli,
Rapper Max Minelli has spent most of his life in the streets of Baton Rouge. For him, rap music is more than entertainment and a way to make money. It’s a language of life and struggle.
“It’s definitely the language of the streets because everybody that comes from the streets tends to get into rapping. The things you experience, the life you live, the way you came up, you are going to talk about that. You’re going to talk about your pain, your struggle,” explained Minelli. “Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of rappers fall victim to violence and jail, and you know different things like that. Things that’s going on in the streets, bleed over into the music, and vice versa.”
Minelli’s rap journey started when he was 10 years old.
“So, it was like a natural thing, and ever since then, I just pursued it like this is what I was going to be. I was driven,” said Minelli.
Minelli believes social media has a lot to do with how the rap culture in Baton Rouge has changed over the years.
“Back in the day, it was more of an entertainment. It was real entertainment. Now-a-days, like with rap especially, people expect you to be living that life you talk about on the record. So, people get caught up in ‘I have to really be this person I’m portraying on the record.” said Minelli.
Working with other local rappers, including Lil Boosie and Kevin Gates, and countless albums, singles and features later, Minelli said just like rap in the Capital City, he has evolved.
“Because everything I do, I do for my kids, you know, and like I said earlier, you want to be more mindful of other people’s kids you’re influencing to do this that or try to live this life,” said Minelli.
Minelli said it is not all fun and games.
“Being a rapper, being an artist is a real job. People don’t understand like we really work. They think it’s just it’s just one big party and fun and games, but when rap is your only source of income, it’s like you got to take it seriously because it’s a real job,” explained Minelli.
Since rap has changed Minelli’s life, he is working on a new project, detailing the history of rap right here in the Capital City.
“So, we’re doing a documentary called ‘Diamonds in the Dirt,’ and it’s basically a history of Baton Rouge rap,” said Minelli. “It’s about music, but it’s more about the how, the why, the when of the music, like why does the music sound like it sounds? Why do we talk about the things that we talk about? What influences from our city are funneled through the music? It covers the time from 1985 to the present day and beyond.”
This documentary is not just from the artists’ perspectives either.
“We even have public figures on there, like we interviewed Chief LeDuff. We interviewed D.A. Hillar Moore, former Governor Edwin Edwards, just to get different perspectives about the streets, the crime, the issues that plague our community, and then we talk about the music that comes from the community, that grows out of those issues,” said Minelli.
As those issues change for Baton Rouge, so does the music, so do its artists, which is why Minelli has this advice for those who come after him.
“I always say don’t make noise, make history. So, you know what I mean, if had any advice to anybody would’ve to live your truth,” concluded Minelli.
Right now, there is no set date on when the project will be released.