AllHipHop: Max, so to start off, I wanted to get a little bit about your process for writing your raps for your entrances. How long does it take you, after you find out your opponent, to write something?
Max Caster: Well, the process starts early in the week. I try and keep an eye on what’s happening in the news, what are the big stories? For example, this week, the stock market is crashing pretty bad, and there’s a baby formula shortage. So, I keep those in mind. If I can think of any lines throughout the week, I’ll keep those in the maybes.
I never know who I’m going to wrestle most of the time until the day of, maybe, probably just a couple hours before. So then it’s time to work quick. I usually bounce stuff off of Anthony Bowens. He’s always a good way to tell if something is funny, if something is relevant. If he gets it, then everybody else will get it, I think.
And then it’s just being able to write and be clever and have fun with it, while also destroying the people in the ring and destroying their lives.
AllHipHop: I read that you have a document for the entire roster, basically, so that you’re not caught off guard, so to speak. Are you constantly updating that and thinking of new stuff to target people?
Max Caster: Yeah, that document gets updated every so often. If I think of something or if one of the guys does something or he looks like someone, or we’re just joking around, and you say, “Oh, this guy reminds me of this.” I can go, “Oh, hold on. Let me write that down.” And so when it is time to wrestle them, I’ll always have that in my back pocket. I go, “Oh, that’s right. We thought of this three months ago. Let me hit him with this.” They’ll never see it coming.
AllHipHop: Now, you’re talking about how you’ve only got a few hours at times. Have there ever been moments where you’re basically leading right out to your entrance, and you were still working on it and still coming up with an idea?
Max Caster: Yeah. Very rarely that’ll happen. And that’s scary, because not only do I want to know exactly what I’m going to say, but I want to know what I’m going to say is absolutely perfect, the best it can be. And so if I’m ever in a situation where there’s not any good news stories or all the news is a little bit sensitive, I struggle to figure something out. I go, “Well, I need the one line that’s going to set it off properly or the one line that’s going to bring it home and get that huge pop at the end.” If I don’t have that, those two things are the most important things in the rap is the first line and the last line. The middle two are good, but you have to set it off properly and send them home properly.
So there have been times where I’m not fully confident in it, but more times than not, me and Anthony are like, “Yeah, this is the one. This is the one.” The one that we did against Samoa Joe was, we were discussing for a long time like man, I want to say that he uses his towel because he masturbates a lot. And I go, “Well, how do I say that to put it on the TBS network?” And we figured it out.
AllHipHop: Just getting a little bit of your history with rap, when did start kind of writing? Were you kind of doing rhymes as a kid? What was it like growing up for you?
Max Caster: I would say I started rapping or trying to rap in high school. We had a computer. We had a real crappy microphone in the kitchen of my house, and my friends would come over and we’d download instrumentals and we’d try and rap over them, and we didn’t know what we were doing. It was no good. Some of those recordings exist that I’ll never listen to. And I hope no one ever hears them, but that’s where it starts. Right? It’s just trying it out.
Some people stick with it. A lot of people don’t. And I don’t know what it was with me that made me drawn to making music. I learned how to loop things, how to sequence drums and what programs to use. And what’s Fruity Loops, and what’s this and what’s that? And it turned into this. I developed that skill on my own and how to edit audio, how to record myself. I still do all these things myself to this day for all the songs we put out. And that’s helped me streamline my career right now, to making these things without pretty much anyone’s help.
AllHipHop: That’s good. As you started as a wrestler, did you have any, I guess, reticence at all, like, “Oh, I don’t want to make the rapping being part of my character?” Was that always something that you were excited to kind of blend together?
Max Caster: Yeah, when I started wrestling, I didn’t really want to be a rapper as a wrestler because it had been done. I felt like it was a little stereotypical. I’m from Long Island, and there’s not a ton of Black wrestlers. So I don’t want people to see me a certain way, and it’s tough. But I realize that it’s a huge talent and a huge leg up that I have over everyone else.
And the rapping kind of snuck into what we were doing when I was part of the Shook Crew. We made a music video, and our first music video got 30,000, 40,000 views on YouTube. And we go, “Okay, well, there’s something here.” And that kind of developed into Platinum Max and being able to show off what I can actually do.
So I’m not really ashamed of it at this point. I’m not hiding it. I would love to get more respect as a hip-hop artist. But I cater to wrestling fans right now, and they’ve been a real nice fan base for me.
AllHipHop: In terms of the wrestling, obviously in AEW, you got paired up with Anthony Bowens, and became The Acclaimed. How well did you know Anthony before AEW? And how was it developing that chemistry as a team?
Max Caster: So before AEW, I knew Anthony just casually. He’s an acquaintance. He was a wrestler in New Jersey. I’m a wrestler on Long Island, and we would cross paths every so often. We share a trainer, Pat Buck, but we were never really friends, never hung out. I think we only had maybe one match against each other. And there is a clip. This is from like 2019 where he’s in the ring. I’m kicking him, and I have a microphone in my hand and I’m like, “You guys want to hear me freestyle?” And I’m kicking him in the face. So, that’s about as well as I knew him.
And then our paths kind of crossed here at AEW, where we were both fielding offers from AEW and other places. And Tony Khan had the idea to put us together in The Acclaimed. And that was the whole direction that we were given. So then that turned into, okay, well, what do we have? It’s like, “Well, I’m a rapper.” Well, we have to keep doing that and include Anthony in on the presentation.
So to his credit, he figured out a way to do it as a guy who can’t rap, who doesn’t make music at all, who admittedly has no rhythm. So, we figured it out. We have a lot of chemistry now, and I think that’s a testament to us just being good wrestlers and great entertainers.
AllHipHop: You talked about how it was Tony’s idea to put you together. What’s it like working with Tony Khan? What’s kind of that creative process like for you? Are you sending him ideas? Is it him giving you ideas, or is it really a collaborative effort?
Max Caster: It’s always what you make it when you work somewhere. It doesn’t matter anywhere. So if you have ideas, if you’re innovative, if you have things to elevate yourself, then what’s stopping your boss or your company from really doing that? So the process is from the start, Tony was like, “Oh, you know, you’re a rapper, keep rapping.”
I think it’s paid off because The Acclaimed is obviously the most popular tag team in AEW, the most popular homegrown team for sure. And whenever me and Anthony come out, that’s siren hits on our music. The fans tell you right away how popular we are. So I think that’s a testament to Tony and the company allowing the wrestlers, allowing us to use our judgment and our talents to our own benefit, which will eventually benefit the company, which it has.
AllHipHop: When you first showed up on AEW TV, those John Cena comparisons just emerge. But I think what’s been cool is you’ve made it your own, and you’ve also gotten praise from him about making it your own.
Max Caster: Yeah, the John Cena stuff, it bothered me at first. I’ll be honest. It’s tough to do something new in wrestling. Right? Everything’s been done. And even in movies, I just read something that in movies and TV, there’s only 36 possible plots in all of movies and all of media, 36 total. So, there’s more than 36 movies. There’s way more than 36 wrestlers.
There is going to be another rapper eventually. So it bothered me at first, but then I realized, well, you’re comparing me to arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. Definitely the biggest drawing wrestler of the modern era, or at least the era we’re in now. So it’s not a bad thing.
And to have John reach out to me and say the things he said publicly about me, I mean, that meant a lot.
I saw those comments right before I wrestled see CM Punk. And I had a little moment with myself and I’m just like, “Damn, this is a crazy life.” You know? And for all the people who are hating or they didn’t believe at first, I guarantee you they’re Acclaimed fans now.