Maybach Music Group has the depth of a baseball team. And thus, one of Rick Ross’s day-one recruits, Gunplay, has been waiting in the dugout for years, his solo album perpetually sporting a “coming soon” release date.
"I just sat there and rolled with the punches, played my position to the T," Gunplay told me back in 2012 of his waiting-in-the-wings mentality. "I gotta roll a blunt, carry bags and be a hype man? That’s what my job on the road is? Let’s go."
The Miami rapper is finally emerging from the roster's second string. After building a cult following via his label’s Self Made compilation projects and his own impressive string of mixtapes (Bogata Rich: The Prequel, 601 & Snort), Gunplay’s breakout major-label project is en route.
Living Legend is slated for release on July 31, and it’s the perfect time for Gunplay’s maiden LP. Wale has plateaued comfortably amongst the top tier of today’s rap stars. Everyone is singing about groceries thanks to one of the biggest smashes of Omarion’s career. Meek Mill has seemingly leapfrogged Rozay as MMG’s alpha star with a bright future ahead. And now, Gunplay steps up to the plate as one of the rawest strands of the MMG genus.
His 11-song debut album delivers, bringing his signature aggressive rhymes and flow over a varied-yet-focused array of instrumentals. There are some true trap winners as well as a handful of more candid offerings. Take an early look at six songs you must hear once Living Legend hits the masses.
Allow Gunplay to reintroduce himself. Over clashing chimes and rolling 808s, the former cocaine user and dealer drops metaphor after metaphor to help you get familiar. “I'm the dirty lace in the sneaker / And the bass in the speaker / I'm next / I'm the ‘Pyrex’ printed on beakers.” A woman’s voice repeats “Tell ’em, daddy” every few bars, recalling a Southern version of Cam’ron’s “Get ’Em Girls.”
“Be Like Me” Featuring Rick Ross
Over a rousing Lex Luger-lite instrumental that sounds like a 2015 update of “I’m Not a Star,” Rozay nods to Boyz in da Hood, asking, “Wanna see a dead body?” He carries the track through the first 80 seconds before Gunplay comes through like a shot of adrenaline. Vintage MMG sound right here.
“Talkin’ ’bout you gettin’ money n***a, me too / Talkin’ ’bout you worth $100 million, me too / Talkin’ ’bout you caught a body n***a, me too / Talkin’ ’bout you ’bout-it-’bout-it’, n***a, me too.” Along with Meek Mill (who would fit nicely on this catchy track’s remix), Gunplay is the most energetic member in the Maybach Music Group ranks. That vitality is on full display here, as he pops the egos of dudes who think they’re special.
“Wuzhanundoe” Featuring YG
“Chain Smokin” Featuring Stalley and Curren$y
What could’ve been an obligatory weed song actually manages to round out the album with a different strain of dopeness. This sounds more like a smooth Curren$y track but our 35-year-old host showcases a unique ability to make any record his own via his forceful delivery throughout Living Legend.
“Leave Da Game” Featuring Masspike Miles
The most personal track on Living Legend, this outro is an honest evaluation of a young Gunplay’s come-up and the trappings of the trife life: “Came from a broken home / Broke and alone / Made the best out of what I had / Gun, glove and mask.” It’s heartfelt, but gangsta.
(Photo: Noisey via Youtube)