Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gospel rapper creates a buzz in Brooksville

Brandon Maxwell, 23, cuts Mario Rojero’s hair at Brother’s Barbershop in Brooksville on Wednesday. Maxwell, a gospel rapper, is slated to perform tonight.


Brandon Maxwell, 23, cuts Mario Rojero’s hair at Brother’s Barbershop in Brooksville on Wednesday. Maxwell, a gospel rapper, is slated to perform tonight.

BROOKSVILLE — If Brandon Maxwell is truly seeking a path to hip-hop stardom, he certainly has chosen a road less traveled.

Maxwell has opted to make music that moves churches, not clubs, and he's trying to get his start in Hernando County, a place not noted for a thriving hip-hop scene. He seems especially driven by the possibility of being a pioneer.

"It's a blessing to know that I'm different," said Maxwell, 23, from Spring Lake. "I can do everything that God says I can do. I can do more than what anyone else has ever done."

Maxwell will embark on his off-the-beaten-path approach as one of several featured acts at tonight's concert at the Hernando County Fairgrounds. The show starts at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center and features other local artists including the Cutti Boiz, Omee-Z, Cappo di Cappi and Juice City.

The concert has received a fair amount of local buzz in no small part because of the involvement of Maxwell and the place where he works during the day, Brother's Barbershop at 626 Jefferson St. in Brooksville.

Ismail Rasheed, who opened the shop about two years ago after moving from New York, has helped with the planning and promotion of the show, hoping that it becomes the first of a regular series of concerts.

"The barbershop is a big promotional base," Rasheed said. "And this is a big thing for this community. I feel like we have a responsibility to make this something really positive. And next time, we want it to be even bigger."

Having also promoted shows in a major hip-hop hub like New York, Rasheed has come to appreciate the folksier appeal of putting on concerts in rural Hernando.

"People here are more open to doing things together, seeing other people succeed … and that goes a long way," Rasheed said. "I think Brooksville needs to have someone come out of here, out of the hood, and make it big. If that happens, you're really going to see things take off."

Maybe that could be someone like Maxwell, who plays the drums, produces music tracks for himself and other local artists and has only recently started to think of himself as a rapper.

Maxwell said he grew up in a musical family, with a father who plays the drums, a mother who sings in church, an uncle who played guitar and a grandfather who was proficient in so many instruments that he was dubbed "Maestro."

Like most other hip-hop fans, Maxwell grew up admiring the talents of bigger names like Jay-Z, Nas and Common. But gradually, as Maxwell started to rededicate himself to his Christian roots, he started to question the substance of the lyrics — theirs and his own.

"Some of these guys, they were saying some foul things," Maxwell said. "I can't — won't — judge anyone. That's not me. But I started thinking about how I can do this for God's grace."

Now, Maxwell hopes to reach people with thoughtful lyrics and music influences that run the gamut from old-school R&B, jazz and gospel. He dreams of someday making heads nod and feet tap in church.

To that end, after leaving the barbershop for the day, Maxwell spends about three to four hours a night working on his first full-length album. He plans to call it "Positive Note."

Some of the music from that album will be part of his three-track set tonight at the fairgrounds.

"I don't really know what's going to happen," Maxwell said. "You may nod your head a little bit. But I just want people to listen and get in contact with the word. Hopefully, we'll all have a good time."

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Gospel rapper creates a buzz in Brooksville 08/21/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2008 3:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries


    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91


    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years


    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike


    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.