Richard Morales, better known as Gunplay, has been a part of Rick Ross' superstar Maybach Music Group crew since virtually the beginning. Early on, he was known as a member of Triple C's but later on broke out as a solo act to start his own path. The Carol City, Florida native recently dropped a new tape called Acquitted that showcases the rapper's growth as an MC, demonstrating that he can put together quality songs and lace a whole project together.

"When I was writing this, I was free," he told XXL, citing his recent legal troubles that landed him on house arrest and resulted, eventually, in his acquittal on armed robbery charges. "I was getting my little money back in order, and my mind can now release all the shit that I wanted to say. I was in a zone of really giving it my best. Last couple mixtapes was just, I had a lot going on my nigga, you know what I’m saying? So I was just doing that shit just to keep my mind focused and just to keep working and just to keep the fans happy.

"I would hate to disappoint my fans. So I said, 'You know what? With this next one, ain’t gonna be no disappointments. Imma give ’em nine ounces. Imma give ’em a quarter kilo of crack.' In essence that’s all you get. You want the whole key, you got to go get the album. So this is what the kilo gon’ look like, you know what I’m saying? Here you go."

When Gunplay is at his best, there is one thing clear about his music: this is pure, hardcore street rap. There aren't any catchy hooks, no "one for the ladies" joints. His songs paint a painful, struggle-filled, gritty, militant story told by an artist who has seen a whole lot of things in his thirty-three years. So as we patiently wait for his debut solo album, Living Legend, Gunplay swung through the XXL offices to talk about his top five street albums and why they made such a big impact on his style.