Free Style: The Journey of Dr. Max Stone


Published March 23, 2012 by Imperial Beach Patch.

Arun Singh lost his wife and his job on the same day—when his boss and spouse ran off together.

“I was making money and doing good, but life threw a hurdle my way and it kind of made me snap and the only thing I had was hip-hop,” said Singh, 32.

Singh came to Imperial Beach about a year ago for the fresh air and to enjoy living on the beach after a lifetime inland in San Diego’s East County.

During one of his first nights here, while at Mickie’s Bar and Grill with friends, he started freelance performing for a few sailors as Dr. Max Stone.

“They probably weren’t into rap, but they enjoyed it ’cause they could point to something and I’d start freestyling on it,” he said. “It’s more to me than writing lyrics or thinking of a concept for a song. I live this, so that means I can do it at any given moment.”

The lyrics of Singh’s songs are influenced by the best and worst moments of his life—from the birth of his son and family life to the day his wife left him for his boss.

To him, that’s raw art, and the entire meaning behind being a rapper. Anything else would be dishonest.

“If you lived it, and that’s your life story, then you’re real to me. It’s like Christian rap, gangsta rap, horror rap, it shouldn’t be like that. It’s just you’re an MC and that’s your life and that’s what you went through and that’s your expression.”

Singh started rapping in the early 1990s, first with friends in high school, then on KCR radio at San Diego State after meeting the host of the show “Distorted Frequencies” in the Music Trader, a trade publication.

Through the show, he met Dizzy Order and they created the group UNKNOWN ENTITY, an acronym which stands for Universe Never Known Now Open With New Experiments Narrating Travels in Tomorrow’s Yesterday.

The group also included DJ Psychic, DJ Tension and others who typically came to freestyle and perform on the radio program.

Then he was known as ROKON, or Rotation of Knowledge Over Night.

“We all cared about the four elements of hip-hop: breakdancing, graffiti art, MC’ing and DJ’ing. Not just what you see on TV but the spirit of it. It’s more than just somebody rapping. There’s a whole culture to it and whole subcultures,” he said.

UNKNOWN ENTITY would perform together at shows and release a few albums until 2006, when Singh stopped rapping, got married and began to work full-­time repairing computers and building websites.

After a four year hiatus, a couple months after his wife left, he released an album all about it called Rotation of Knowledge Over Night, named after his old rapping alias to connect the old name and the new.

“One of the main criticisms I got on my last album was that I wasn’t positive enough or that my songs were negative or angry, but as an artist I feel it’s important to capture the rawest emotions you can,” he said.

“And if you’ve lived through something and it makes you feel a certain way I don’t believe in suppressing that. I like the art to be raw.”

While finishing the album, he met rapper Priscilla Villalpando aka Silla Tru after a show.

She has produced three music videos for Singh and the couple may collaborate on his next album Dr. Max and Mr. Stone.

Today the couple are expecting their first son and planning more projects to collaborate.

In the past, Dr. Max Stone’s lyrics have been shaped by politics, conspiracy theories, the Illuminati and the New World Order, but with his son in the mix, some of his upcoming work may be about the difficulties of being a parent, family interactions and the dangers of certain foods.

The two may also launch a website called that gives people advice about the kinds of foods to avoid or ones to embrace and have healing qualities.

Ultimately, he said, he isn’t rapping to get rich. He raps because it’s how he lives.

“I could stop again for four years and I’d still freestyle all the time,” he said. “So it doesn’t matter if I’m on a poster or not. That’s not my interest. My interest is to support my family, and make money any way I can.”

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