Find the word definition


Maxinquaye is the debut album by English rapper and producer Tricky. After starting his music career in Bristol's club scene, Tricky became a frequent collaborator with Massive Attack in the early 1990s. He rapped and wrote songs for the group while maturing as a lyricist; his themes of sex and gang violence eventually evolved into more introspective, personal lyrics. He soon found his role with the group limiting and wanted to record an album with a female vocalist whose singing would offer his songwriting another dimension. Tricky discovered singer Martina Topley-Bird, with whom he formed both a musical and romantic relationship, before signing a recording contract with 4th & B'way Records in 1993.

Assisted by co-producer Mark Saunders, Tricky recorded Maxinquaye primarily at his home studio in London in 1994 with Topley-Bird, who shared vocals on most of the tracks with him. He incorporated dub production techniques, heavily altered samples, and elements of hip hop, soul, rock, ambient techno, reggae, and experimental music into the record's groove-oriented and low-tempo sound. The songs explore themes of dysfunctional sexual relationships, fear of intimacy, recreational drug use, and cultural decline, with lyrics inspired by Tricky's experiences in the British drug culture. His songwriting style and use of female vocalists such as Topley-Bird were influenced by his mother, Maxine Quaye, after whom the album was titled.

Released on 20 February 1995 by 4th & B'way Records, Maxinquaye reached number three on the United Kingdom's albums chart and sold over 100,000 copies in its first few months of release. 4th & B'way relied on independent record promoters and the British demographic of progressive, young music buyers rather than American markets for the record to perform well. A widespread critical success, Maxinquaye was cited by many journalists as the year's best record and the key release of a musical style that was being dubbed trip hop at the time. Since then, it has been ranked frequently on all-time lists of the greatest albums and has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.