Release Date: Jul 31, 2015
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Southern Rap
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.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. With a monotonous wait and compounded delays hindering any headway, it soon appeared as though the possibility of Maybach Music Group rapper, Gunplay releasing his anticipated debut album at all was a legend of its own - a fairy-tale fable laid with promises of hood dreams that would never be fulfilled and a Def Jam project that would never come. But alas, the curbed curse has finally been lifted and the rap knight-in-shining-Cuban-link-gold has delivered with Living Legend, a satisfactory full-length debut from the Carol City spitter.
Gunplay is a blast from the past for rap obsessives. His precise lyrics and fluid rap style reflect the studious flows and manic personalities of hip-hop in the late 1990s—Redman, Busta Rhymes, or Rawkus-era Eminem. Had his debut album emerged in those years, he might have become a larger-than-life star. As it stands now, he is more living anachronism than Living Legend.
Miami shout-rapper Gunplay is a singular voice in Southern rap. He's got the high-octane, high-volume, permanent hypeman delivery of Waka Flocka Flame, but he's also an intricate rhyme writer in the tradition laid down by old school New York rappers like Big Daddy Kane. The 36-year-old rapper likely remembers the shout-y reign of Run-D.
At a time when unorthodox methods of attaining buzz are embraced more than ever, Gunplay’s shenanigans have nearly overshadowed his music. While he’s still a niche artist on Def Jam, few modern stories compare to his controversial highlight reel. Given the chance of a lifetime, Maybach Music Group’s most deranged member has been unafraid to tow the line between industry success and trouble with the law.
Between Gunplay knuckling up with 50 Cent while on the run from the law, signing his Def Jam deal—also as a fugitive—pulling out a gun on an accountant, getting knocked out at a club in Tampa and his well-known former affection for snorting cocaine, it’s been easy to miss his testimony on wax over the past few years. And with all the distractions that Gunplay brings to the table, it’s understandable that one would miss his mic skills. However, the dreadlocked MC can spit.
On veteran Miami rapper Gunplay’s solo debut he introduces his presence on “Tell ’Em” with a myriad of metaphors: “Let me tell you who the [expletive] I am /I’m the report on the news /I’m the cork on the booze /I’m the Bugatti pedal . . .” Displaying sharp technique and wordplay, he promises something special. Disappointingly, the record quickly devolves into pro forma bluster as the rapper never reveals himself, opting instead for familiar thug posturing.