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Living Legends

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Album Review

P. Diddy claims that his Bad Boy record label and 8ball & MJG are a perfect match. It's really just strange, but kudos to Diddy for having the smarts to sign the duo. These "Legends of the South" still have their skills, but can they blend their sparse and hard Southern sound with the N.Y.C. glitz of Bad Boy? For the most part, the album works extremely well, except when Diddy interrupts the slow flow with a trite voice-over or any of his numerous reminders that this is a Bad Boy record. Hit the skip button early to avoid his corny toughness at the end of the otherwise excellent "When It's On" and you're better off. On the other hand, sticking Bad Boy's resident crooners 112 on "Trying to Get at You" is a smooth move that enlivens the track, and almost all the other bits of showiness work. It makes Living Legends one of the duo's more well-rounded albums, and there's no evidence the rappers themselves have gone soft. "Don't Make" is a thug creeper that Lil Jon would call "nasty," and both "You Don't Want Drama" and "Straight Cadillac Pimpin'" were already street-level mixtape endorsed before Living Legends' release. Diddy has gone home by the album's great, down-low fourth quarter and replaced with more complimentary guests like Lloyd and an extravicious Twista. The slow jam "Confessions" ends the album on high note, and even the interludes and skits are worth hearing more than once. Despite having nearly as many producers as songs, it all hangs together and the duo gets an album that's up to the level they deserve. Executive producing 8ball & MJG's strongest full-length in quite a while is something Diddy should crow about, but maybe not so much on the actual album. [Living Legends was also released in a clean version with all vulgarities removed.]


Formed: Memphis, TN

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the pioneers of Southern rap, 8Ball and MJG, emerged from Memphis, Tennessee in the early '90s and, aligned with the Houston, Texas-based independent label Suave Records, quickly garnering a tremendous regional following while proving highly influential to a generation of aspiring, independent-minded rap artists and entrepreneurs. The pioneering duo enjoyed increasing recognition as the years passed, releasing a couple albums, namely Comin' Out Hard (1994) and In Our Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1999),...
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Living Legends, 8Ball & MJG
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