Gunplay is one of the most enigmatic rappers in hip-hop, one of those guys who seems totally unpredictable both musically and socially. But that, combined with his moments of brilliance on tracks like "Bible On The Dash
" and Kendrick Lamar's "Cartoon And Cereal
," is what makes him so enticing. The MMG affiliate cut his teeth in the hip-hop trio Triple C's alongside Torch and Young Breed, and made his first individual appearance on Rick Ross’ third studio album Deeper Than Rap
in 2009. That kicked off a nice run of records like “Rollin'” featuring Waka Flocka Flame, "Power Circle" with MMG and his attention-grabbing spot on “Cartoon And Cereal.” Once that hit, Def Jam came calling with a solo deal
, and the scary-looking goon that was always by Rick Ross’ side became a rapper to watch out for in his own right.
Then trouble hit, and it seemed like the Carol City, Fla. native couldn’t keep himself away from negative headlines. First, he was involved in a fistfight with members of 50 Cent’s crew backstage at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards. Then a video allegedly showing ‘Play robbing an accountant of his jewelry and money at gunpoint emerged, leading to charges of armed robbery; later, a second charge of aggravated assault with a firearm was tacked on, which could have potentially put him in jail for life. After he posted $150,000 bail he was placed on house arrest, putting his recording career on the back burner indefinitely.
But during that time when he couldn't leave his home, his life changed. He gave up drugs, became more focused on his craft, started to hone his skills, beat his court case and was released from house arrest
in January 2013. His long-awaited Def Jam debut, with the original cocaine-obsessed title, Medellin
, was renamed Living Legend,
and he re-focused on delivering on the promise that had led to his solo deal in the first place. "
I feel [Living Legend
's] overdue, so I’m ready to just get it out," Gunplay told XXL
in a recent interview at the XXL
offices in New York. "I’m ready for the world to finally hear my music. I feel like my music tells who Gunplay is. Now I feel like Gunplay is ready for the world. Now I want to give the world my music."
Nearly two years after it was first announced, Living Legend
is, finally, promised for a 2014 release. XXL
spoke to 'Play to get the most up-to-date facts on what we can expect from the MMG soldier. —Emmanuel C.M.