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Once upon a time, not too long after Kendrick Lamar’s “Cartoons & Cereal” release was when the rap world started to believe that Gunplay, yes Gunplay had more ability to assert dominance in the MMG totem pole than anyone else. We had “Bible On The Dash” and a slew of mixtapes that proved our point. People loved Gunplay and wanted everything for him that being on Def Jam could offer. Then, setbacks occurred. Setbacks in the form getting arrested, facing jail time for robbery and the usual politics of being on a major label and not feeling like anything near a priority.

Somehow, Gunplay getting his Living Legend album released is a miracle unto itself. It’s also the best MMG album since Rick Ross’ summation of hyperactive Lex Luger beats with a little grandiosity thrown in for Teflon Don. Wale returned to a concept that won him fans in the first place with The Album About Nothing, Meek Mill found a way to take his mixtape success into a proper album (on the second try) with Dreams Worth More Than Money. Yet, it’s Gunplay, who needed zero tweaking who got it right on try number one.

Instead of Def Jam dropping the album when Gunplay’s buzz was at its peak, they’re hoping that fans and critics alike can come back to the tattooed MMG rapper in droves. The fact that there seems to be zero inclination of making Gunplay a major label artist makes Living Legend even more of an appreciated feat. When you don’t mess with certain artists, you get desired results. You get singles like “Wuzhanindoe” with YG, “Be Like Me” with Rick Ross, and “Blood On The Dope” with Yo Gotti and PJK. You get Gunplay thankfully being Gunplay, a purified street rap album that isn’t trying to fight for pop standards or acceptance.

Stream Living Legend from Gunplay in full below. The album arrives Friday, 7/31 on Maybach Music Group/Def Jam.