The Living Legends are an alternative hip hop outfit from Los Angeles, California now consisting of Aesop, Bicasso, The Grouch & Eligh, Luckyiam, Scarub & Sunspot Jonz. Forming in ‘96 with Arata & most notably MURS, it wasn’t until the new millennium where they started dropping as a unit introducing themselves on Angelz Wit Dirty Faces & following it up with Almost Famous. They returned in ‘04 to discuss Creative Differences & their previous LP the following year Classic. But 15 years after their 2nd EP The Gathering, the Living Legends are making a comeback by unleashing their 5th full-length album.
After the “Jimi is a Star” intro, the first song “Letterman” featuring Reverie is a hardcore opener produced by Trox reminding y’all where the name comes from whereas “Front to Back” featuring Brother Ali & Opio takes a groovier approach instrumentally so everyone can get the party started properly. “Baggage” dives into boom bap turf thanks to Eligh talking about something weighing down your mind, but then “Monday Morning” gives off a mellow trap vibe looking to give thanks at the top of the week.
The title track featuring Del the Funky Homosapien returns to the boom bap courtesy of Statik Selektah getting in their hardcore bag just before “Tricky” hooks up this off-the-wall trap beat pointing out the fact they tried to warn us shit can be like that sometimes. “Distance” blends these hi-hats with a nocturnal loop talking about being on the road to nowhere leading into the soulful “Money 4 Nothin’” breaking down all the ways that people be chasing the paper this day in age.
“1 Kiss” shows off a bit of sensuality to the Living Legends with the help of former Zion I beatsmith Amp Live behind the boards while “Father’s Day” featuring Atmosphere weaves some pianos into the fold alongside kicks & snares from none other than Ant of course essentially likening hip hop to a father figure profoundly. “In God’s Hands” gives off a peppier flare to the beat expressing their gratitude while “If I Was a Car” featuring N8 the Gr8 is simply perfect for blasting in the midst of driving around Cali.
The song “We Gon’ Eat” featuring Pep Love grimily displays their hunger assuring that you’re never dead if you really got that love while the penultimate track “Gettin’ Up” featuring Jay Worthy pushes near the end of the group’s comeback effort by spaciously encouraging the listener to believe in themselves. “Break My Heart” ties up the album solemnly talking about how the waves crashed down.
Wasn’t sure if this day was ever going to come but after almost 2 decades, it finally did & The Return actually could be the best full-length that the west coast alt-rap crew have done in the 25+ years that they’ve been around as a unit. The production is a mix of old & new sounds, the guest performances are primarily consistent & the septuplet all sounds happy to be together again after so long.