Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is the debut album of American recording artist Maxwell, released on April 2, 1996, by Columbia Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1994 to 1995 at Electric Lady Studios, RPM, Sorcerer, and Chung King Studios in New York City and CRC Studios in Chicago. The album contains a mellow, groove-based sound and incorporates elements of funk, jazz, smooth soul, and quiet storm. A concept album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is composed of a song cycle that focuses on an adult romance, which Maxwell based on his own personal experience.
After being shelved for nearly a year, due to label issues and record executives' doubts of its sales potential, the album was released to considerable commercial and critical success. Despite an initial lack of mainstream interest, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite experienced a boost in sales with the help of the single "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)", and within a year it had sold one million copies. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised it as a departure from the mainstream-oriented R&B of the time, and it earned Maxwell several accolades and comparisons to soul singer Marvin Gaye.
Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite had a considerable impact on Maxwell's career, helping elevate his reputation to that of a sex symbol and a serious performer on the music scene. Maxwell has been credited with shaping the "neo soul" movement that rose to prominence during the late 1990s. Along with D'Angelo's Brown Sugar (1995) and Erykah Badu's Baduizm (1997), Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite has been recognized by music writers for providing commercial visibility to neo soul. It has been cited by critics as Maxwell's greatest work and remains as his best-selling release with domestic shipments of two million copies.
Famous quotes containing the words hang, urban and/or maxwell:
“We long for our father. We wear his clothes, and actually try to fill his shoes. . . . We hang on to him, begging him to teach us how to do whatever is masculine, to throw balls or be in the woods or go see where he works. . . . We want our fathers to protect us from coming too completely under the control of our mothers. . . . We want to be seen with Dad, hanging out with men and doing men things.”
—Frank Pittman (20th century)
“The gay world that flourished in the half-century between 1890 and the beginning of the Second World War, a highly visible, remarkably complex, and continually changing gay male world, took shape in New York City.... It is not supposed to have existed.”
—George Chauncey, U.S. educator, author. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, p. 1, Basic Books (1994)
“For who shall defile the temples of the ancient gods, a cruel and violent death shall be his fate, and never shall his soul find rest unto eternity. Such is the curse of Amon-Ra, king of all the gods.”
—Griffin Jay, Maxwell Shane (19051983)