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Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

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Editors’ Notes

Maxwell was only 23 when his debut was released in 1996, and it’s hard to overestimate the courage and maturity it took to create an album like Urban Hang Suite at that time. It was not yet considered cool to look to the ‘70s for R&B inspiration, and Maxwell’s album sounded unlike anything else from its era. Part of that uniqueness comes from his good taste in collaborators, including producer-arranger Leon Ware, who had worked with Marvin Gaye on I Want You; guitarist Melvin “Wah Wah Watson” Ragin, a member of Motown house band the Funk Brothers; and Stuart Matthewson, a key player in Sade’s band. With its spellbinding aura and lush, all-encompassing soundscapes, Urban Hang Suite takes a little bit from all of the aforementioned artists. The album’s midsection — the sequence of songs that begins with “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” and runs through “Whenever Wherever Whatever”— is especially potent. Maxwell’s debut inhabits its own niche space, outside of time and enmeshed in several strands of soul music history.

Customer Reviews

the birth of neo-soul

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite launched the Neo-Soul revolution and remains the best album of the genre ever made! Listen for yourself.

Unbelievable Bargain

I hope everyone can take advantage of the ridiculous price for this classic album. I can't believe itunes is actually selling good music in their "bargain bin" for a change. This album is a classic and at $4.99 how can anyone resist? Kudos to itunes.


I will NEVER forget the first time I heard ...Til the Cops Come Knockin'!!! I was in school at Buffalo, listening to the radio to help me fall asleep... I heard the lyrics, sat up instantly and shouted "Oh Sh*t!!! Since then, I have been and will forever remain a fan of this man... he is the epitome of sexy... his voice, his lyrics, his style and that smile... does it to me every time. This album is a true classic!!! A must have for the Neo-Soul collector!


Born: May 23, 1973 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Along with fellow founders D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell was enormously important in defining and shaping the neo-soul movement that rose to prominence over the latter half of the '90s. Drawing his greatest inspiration from the concept of the R&B auteur (looking to artists like Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, etc.), Maxwell recorded some of the most ambitious R&B of his time, becoming wildly popular and often earning critical raves in the process. What was more, his recurring theme of romantic...
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Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, Maxwell
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Customer Ratings