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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. But is it three years too little too late?

Straight out of the gate, Gunplay barks furiously in self-acclaimed boasts over a gritty snare on the album opener 'Tell 'Em,' setting the precedent for not only the album but Gunplay's noted place in the present landscape of gangster rap. "I'm the dash under bible, the magazine under rifles, the pool of the blood under rivals, the bail jumper, the lifer. I'm the ounce, I'm the key. I'm the bounce on the beat. You can ask anybody ni**a, I'm MMG," he raps fervently, ending off the eager cut.

Although proudly claiming his place in the hip-hop collective, it's safe to say the broadcasted residence holds less stock than it would have when demand for Gunplay's album reached its past peak. While MMG may have been running the game as one of the most consistent squads out a few years prior, the reign of Rick Ross and Co. has seen an obvious wilt in favourability as of late. Meek Mill is busy looking silly in the midst of a public beef with Drake, Rick Ross has recently battled legal woes, while Wale has been plagued with his own reputation from an over-emotional outburst online. Realistically, MMG as a collective is no longer topping the rap-hit hierarchy and their respective formula for constructing their once consistent club bangers and street anthems has spiralled into a type of redundant reflex. Unfortunately for Gunplay, Living Legend follows the similar Maybach Music recipe.

Despite remaining dutifully authentic to his own back-story and expressive temperament, the album, at times, sounds like it was written and recorded years ago, offering outdated production trends and repetitive content. 'Be Like Me' feat Rick Ross is a near carbon-copy of Rozay's 2010 Teflon Don hit 'I'm Not A Star' from the melody, to busy percussion to the rappers' cadence. It's a sub-standard miss.

But album standouts come in the form of Gunplay's intrepid accounts of drug dealing and robberies equating to gritty hood chorales over energetic embellishments from the likes of DJ Mustard and Metro Boomin, like the current blistering West-coast banger 'Wuzhanindoe,' featuring YG. There are also moments where the Def Jam dread offers personal accounts of fears and vulnerabilities spotlighting an allure-free version of street sensibilities like on 'Dark Dayz', ending with an honest phone conversation with his mother.

Truthfully, Living Legend isn't enough to raise Gunplay in the rap ranks. It seems however, as though his intention here isn't to make new devotees or broaden his sonic horizon, (despite the title's indications) but rather looks to please those loyal enough to endure his definitive inconsistencies as if to say, "I heard y'all have been asking about this." We'll take it.

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