Living Legends—the West Coast Hip-Hop collective comprised of Luckyiam, Eligh, The Grouch, Bicasso, Aesop, Sunspot Jonz, Scarub and (once upon a time) MURS—will return with their first new music since 2008’s The Gathering on Friday (September 8). Titled “Lettermen,” the track serves as the single from the group’s forthcoming (and aptly titled) album, The Return, and features a guest verse from Reverie. True to Legends form, the cut rattles with rumbling bass, with a snippet of LL COOL J’s 1985 Radio single “Hard As Hell” tying it all together.
Speaking to AllHipHop.com, Luckyiam’s excitement was palpable. As he explains, “This summer we got a house in Coachella Valley, set up two studios for a week and went to work. Our fans deserve this and the world needs this. Once again it’s time to set the bar. Living Legends are back. This is the best album we have ever made.”
Aesop adds, “It was very tricky getting the whole crew together. Many of us have families now and live in different cities, so we decided to take sabbatical in Cochella and rented an AirBnB. We put multiple studios in the 10 rooms and vibed for a week. It was therapeutic to be in the same house again with my brothers while we collaborated on song ideas. We banged out enough songs for two albums.”
Naturally, Living Legends are plugging the release on Instagram as well, writing in the caption: “NEW MUSIC 9/8 LIVING LEGENDS are back with their lead single ‘LETTERMEN’ ft. REVERIE. Produced by TROX with cuts by DJ MIKE C. It’s officially LEGENDS SEASON!!!”
Formed in California circa 1995, Living Legends grew out of the Mystik Journeymen and evolved into an indie powerhouse thanks to their relentless hustle. In 2008, L.A. Weekly called them “one of the biggest success stories in the indie-rap movement” after selling more than 300,000 albums independently. The group has released numerous albums and EPs, including Angelz Wit Dirty Faces (2000), Almost Famous (2001) and Creative Differences (2004). In the process, they amassed a loyal fanbase that continues to rock with them nearly 30 years later.
But each member has, at one point, branched off to do their own thing. MURS signed with Strange Music and focused on his solo career, while Eligh and The Grouch did several projects under the G&E moniker and MURS and The Grouch ultimately connected for Thees Handz. In June 2022, the group finally reconvened for a single called “LLXL” featuring Eli-Mac. It was the first, real tangible taste of what Living Legends was cooking up, which ultimately led to three more.
“Some of us got kids now, all of us got bars still,” The Grouch said at the time. “We’re all blessed to all be here and I’m trying to enjoy time and music with my guys for as long as that’s the case.”
Living Legends are preparing to hit the road as part of the annual How The Grouch Stole Xmas Tour, which kicks off on November 29 in Seattle with Brother Ali. The Return is scheduled for a September 29 release. While we wait, find all things Legends here.