The Living Legends

Creative Differences

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Creative Differences is a throwback to the first golden age of classic hip-hop albums: early De La Soul's pop-culture giggles, Digital Underground's playful rudeness, A Tribe Called Quest's cross-cultural fearlessness, Public Enemy's sonic fingerprints and the no-rules aesthetic of the Wu-Tang Clan are all touched upon at different points in this sprawling masterwork. The Living Legends crew has continued to expand from their early days, now including Japanese rapper Arata (who contributes raps in his native tongue to the storming "How You Take It" without sounding either out of place or gimmicky) alongside both first-generation members like Murs, Eligh, Scarub and the Grouch and more recent additions like the Belgian rapper Krewcial. Topics range from the goofily scatological (farting is a particularly favored topic) to the pointedly political, and the beats are an equally varied and often inspired lot. Ever since the Wu-Tang appeared, there's been a healthy trade in enormous hip-hop collectives, but the Living Legends are one of the few such groups to be able to maintain some kind of quality control; Creative Differences is as wide-ranging as the title suggests, but there's a clear aesthetic at play here, which means that the thoughtful first single "Damn It Feels Good" and the much sillier title track don't sound like they were flown in from two different albums.

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