Artist: Living LegendsTitle: ClassicRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Maurice Downes

The story of the Living Legends is the ever-living dream of every kid who picks up a pen and paper and starts writing rhymes with their friends. It’s also a pat on the back to every independent artist/MC/whatever who rails against the system and demands complete creative control no matter what the (personal) cost. A collective of emcees and DJ’s from California’s Bay Area, mixed in with some like minded artists from Europe and Japan, Living Legends have managed to stay afloat and independent through world tours, self promotion and above all a driven sense of what they have wanted to accomplish as musicians.

What may come as a surprise, then, is the slightly uninspiring quality of this album. Given all of the lyrical and musical firepower at the Living Legends’ disposal, and it is plenty, Classic (Legendary), the newest release from the collective, never truly seems to get off the ground. It may not be a completely fair judgment, but given the legendary status of the artists concerned with this release… hell, given the title you’d want something more than the by-the-numbers R&B infused hip-hop at work here.

That being the case, they seem stuck on a number of Hip-hop conventions that have been touched on by several other artists, though they do it competently. You’re never going to be completely let down by a Living Legends release, and they start things off nicely with “Blast Your Radio”, following a looping beat structure with intense back and forth rhymes. The Legends even change mood nicely from freestyle wordplay into heartbreak and emotion with tracks like “Even Though (I Still Love You)”. But it’s not the production or rhyming that’s at fault on this album… there’s just the feeling that with other less impressive efforts like “It’s Us Again” with it’s somewhat lazy soul-heavy production and composition, Classic may not exactly be the right title for this effort. Not from the Living Legends crew.

So, pick your poison then. It’s overall a good listen from a very talented collective, but it’s also feels like an album that was released merely because it was time. You’ll want to love it, but in the end you’ll come away with at most one or two memories from something that should have been… well, classic.

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