Its unfortunate that some of the hottest emcees are either locked up, dead, on drugs or in jail. It seems that all of the above are synonymous with hip hop culture as a whole. Charles Wingate (born May 21, 1978), better known as Max B, is an American rapper from Harlem, New York City, New York. In 2009, Max B began serving a 75-year prison sentence for charges of conspiracy to armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and murder.
Max B was incarcerated on robbery charges from 1997 to 2005, He had come up with a second alias Biggaveli denoting his belief that he is a combination of rappers: The Notorious B.I.G. (“Biggie Smalls”), Jay-Z (“Jigga”) and Tupac Shakur (“Makaveli”).
Max B came to prominence through his affiliation with the Harlem collective The Diplomats, and with rappers Jim Jones and Cam’ron in particular. In 2006 Jones formed the collective ByrdGang with Max B as a starring member. Fellow ByrdGang member Stack Bundles was killed in 2007. Max B expressed the loss: “That was fucked up because the nigga Stacks was close to me, I ain’t even gonna front. I was in jail at the time, so a nigga was sitting. A nigga learned to cope with that thing pretty well though, R.I.P. to Stacks. Shout out to my nigga, he played me all the joints he had. Man, that was my nigga.”
Max B signed a 360 deal with Boston based label Amalgam Digital in 2008 and is still currently signed with the label. His debut album is entitled Vigilante Season.
He collaborated with Isaiah Toothtaker on Toothy Wavy in 2012. It was entirely produced by The Hood Internet.
According to authorities, Max sent his ex-girlfriend, Gina Conway, and his stepbrother Kelvin Leerdam, in 2006 to rob two men in a Holiday Inn, in Fort Lee, Northern New Jersey. On September 22, 2006, Conway and Leerdam ambushed Allan “Jay” Plowden in room 408 and restrained him with duct tape, while awaiting Plowden’s partner, David Taylor. Also in the room was Gissele Nieven. When Taylor arrived, he was immediately shot, point-blank, execution-style, in the head. He did not have any money on him.
The crew fled the scene, Plowden then alerted the hotel front desk of the murder. As police entered the room, Plowden was caught moving $30,000 out of the room. Plowden was later charged with money laundering and identity theft. One week later Conway, Leerdam and coordinator Max B were apprehended and charged.
On January 9, 2007 Max B was remanded to Bergen County Jail in New Jersey on a $2 million bail. Conway testified against Max B and Leerdam, in exchange for a 18 years sentence on armed robbery and manslaughter. Leerdam received a life term plus 35 years.
Conviction and appeal
Born Harlem, New York, United States
Penalty 8 years in prison (1997–2005)
Conviction status Incarcerated at New Jersey State Prison
By June 6, 2009, he had been found guilty on 9 of 11 counts in the ongoing trial. On June 9, he was found guilty of murder conspiracy and robbery charges and faced up to 75 years. He was to be sentenced in Bergen County on July 30.
In a statement, Gerald Saluti said:
Max B would like to first thank all his family, friends and fans that have supported him throughout this trial. Please don’t give up on him at this point. Although the jury has spoken and Max has been convicted of felony murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy a swift and successful appeal shall follow. […] It is inconceivable that a jury could convict Max under the facts presented by the State. Even Gina Conway the State’s own witness testified that Max knew nothing of a robbery. […] Ms. Conway, a jilted lover and proven liar, said so at the trial itself. Max said after the verdict was read that he is confident that justice will eventually be served and he will be free. […] Max intends to continue putting out music for his fans while the appeal process grinds along. Although shocked by the verdict, Max remained grateful.
Max B was later sentenced to 75 years in prison on September 4, 2009. His mother, Sharon Wingate, and fellow rap artist said he plans to appeal his conviction. On March 19, 2010, Max B was granted an appeal with a new trial and lawyer.
In February 2012, rumors spread that Max’s request for an appeal had been denied, but it since has been cleared up as an internet/blog/twitter rumor.
On August 30, 2012, Max’s appeal was denied and he is set to remain in prison to finish his 75 year incarceration. Max continues to seek a higher appeal, and has begun the Pardon The Wave movement to garner support for a pardon from either the NJ governor or President Barack Obama through an online petition. Rapper Jay-Z recently shouted out Max B in support in his Rick Ross and Dr. Dre collaboration “3 Kings.”