Announced all the way back in 2012, Living Legend is the long-delayed solo debut from Gunplay, a member of Triple C's and a Rick Ross-associated rapper. Being signed to Ross' Maybach Music means the rapper had none of the usual "label problems" to blame for the hold-up, but if Maybach or executive producer Ross spent extra time and work on this debut, it certainly paid off. Gunplay comes off as the 2.0 version of the Ross-styled Gangsta rapper, barking out memorable punchlines based on money and murder while some ridiculously infectious, DJ Mustard-type of club music plays underneath. In the case of highlight "Wuzhanindoe" with YG, it is Mustard himself delivering the simple, eerie, and retro synth melody, but Mike Mulah takes that glittery gangster style to another level by introducing EDM to the Maybach clan with the atmospheric baller "Just Won't Do." "Chain Smokin'," with Curren$y and Stalley, suitably floats on a cloud of beats, "Dark Dayz" is a stark, dramatic step into Kanye West territory, and there's the minimal "Tell 'Em," which pounds like Chicago drill while Gunplay declares "I'm the liquor in your liver," displaying his key, T.I.-like trait of being not too different, but different enough. Balancing these ambitious bangers is some core Maybach music with the Boss himself ("Be Like Me") plus the autobiographical "From da Jump" ("I've been a straight G"), which reunites the Triple C's. Being able to bellow like Busta Rhymes or Ludacris just makes everything bang harder, and with a lean 11 cuts on the album's normal release, Living Legend is a nonstop gangsta party connected to the street, offering a more approachable alternative to Ross' grandiose LPs.
Living Legend Review
by David Jeffries