Inside Maintains’ universe, the attitude is humble. According to him, he lives by what he calls the “screw up formula, just be and let things happen”. “Staying in touch with reality”, which he credits his ten year old son, Chris, for keeping him safe. “Without Chris I’d be dead or in jail, all my friends are”.
A staple on the west side of Chicago underground scene since 1988, Ben Hahs, 24, has always been a writer at heart. In the early years of his self described “sporadic childhood”, Motley Crue was the music staple in his home. The first 3 years of Maintains life was spent with his mother and various friends and family members. By the time he was five, his mother left and music became his company. By seven, he had written several songs and started on the keyboards. It was not until 1986, he watched Willy Gault perform the “Super Bowl Shuffle”, that he started to focus attention into the world of hip hop. Maintains’ final decision to take rap music seriously, he gives props to the “creativeness” of Will Smith first hit, “Parents just don’t understand”. From that day on, the rest was history. Rap for Maintain is a self described addiction; the words are always in his head. By 1985, hip hop became his world. Driving a cab during the day and, freestyling on open mics around Chicago at night, word spread like wildfire. Opening for the likes of Beat Junkies, U-God and Jam Master Jay, Maintain soon became a”neighborhood star”. Although he doesn’t consider himself a freestyle rapper, Maintain was known around Chicago as the number one freestyler. He describes his style of rapping as “a spirit speaking through him”. Maintain does not think about words, the words come to him.
His first untitled album he is currently working on, he gives his friend Champ (he described as the best writer ever) the credit for placing him in the right hands. Those hands being Kevin Madison, aka K-Solo, Maintains favorite rapper ever. Trying to hide the obvious”star struck persona”, Maintain said a few rhymes for the veteran rapper and the two quickly bonded. Which eventually led to the teachings of everything he knows today. By watching his all time favorite rapper on stage, Maintain learned what it takes to be a great entertainer/rapper. With K-Solo producing and Maintain rhyming, the duo’s chemistry can be heard throughout the whole album, which will also mark the introduction of what’s in stored for the future of the Waste Management label. A label that Maintains describes as a personal relationship. The WM label understands him as an artist and a person, two assets he hopes people will appreciate throughout his music. “Not knockin’ someone gettin money, but it’s a shame that money can get you airplay over talent”. “Radio Rap” is the term he likes to use.
Reminiscent of vintage freestyle, Maintains’ album is packed full of trunk bumping beats and scathing, sarcastic street lyrics. From the clever rhymes on “Slanguistics” to the personal, untitled song in which he “just lets go” to the Benie Segal hit. The only thing that can hold Maintain back is himself. Consider this an open invitation to Maintains’ universe