Gunplay Finally Proves His Worth on ‘Living Legend’
Between Gunplay knuckling up with 50 Cent while on the run from the law, signing his Def Jam deal—also as a fugitive—pulling out a gun on an accountant, getting knocked out at a club in Tampa and his well-known former affection for snorting cocaine, it’s been easy to miss his testimony on wax over the past few years. And with all the distractions that Gunplay brings to the table, it’s understandable that one would miss his mic skills. However, the dreadlocked MC can spit. Let’s not forget that he held his own alongside Kendrick Lamar on the Compton MC’s “Cartoon and Cereal,” his stellar verse on the MMG posse cut “Power Circle” and the street favorite “Bible On The Dash.”
After a slew of mixtapes, countless verses drenched in blood as a member of Triple C’s, court dates, living on the lam and surviving the beastly streets of Dade County, the infamous Gunplay, aka Don Logan, has finally released his long-awaited Def Jam debut, Living Legend. Here, Gunplay lets listeners ride shotgun with him through the hard knock slums of Carol City that turned Don Logan into a living legend.
Fittingly, the album commences with a Southern gal’s voice dipped in country twang implying that Gunplay has been in the streets for a minute now and he has a lot of dark tales to spew forth like a fusillade of hot shells. And being the gansta-fied flamboyant guy that Gunplay is, he wastes no time delivering a bevy of gritty examples of who he is on the Master P-inspired “Tell 'Em” (See “Hot Boys and Hot Girls”). This sets the tone for the 11-track project, with Gunplay offering his experiences that made him a true rabble-rouser.
On the semi-soulful and reflective-yet-amped “Just Won’t Do” featuring PJK, Gunplay touches on heavy subjects like questioning how he’s made as far as he has, praying that his demons won’t destroy his career and selling cocaine to pay child support. Briefly, Gunplay switches gears as he calls on his Maybach Music OG on the Rick Ross-assisted and Beat Bully-produced “Be Like Me.” Here, the MMG brethren match each other’s Southern-infused vivacity as they mob through action-packed lines reminiscent of a fast-paced, drama-filled movie laced with violence and high speed car chases—life on the run is something Gunplay can definitely identify with.
Gunplay’s urban legend continues on “Blood On The Dope” with Yo Gotti, as Don Logan continues to be an agitator. This hard-knocking and convincing track peeks into the mind of broke jack boys needing money for Christmas gifts and food on the table. On the heartfelt cut titled “Dark Dayz,” Gunplay reflects on his poverty-stricken and small-time crack dealing days. This is the most transparent track on Living Legend as Gunplay strips away his tough boy image by exposing the hurt of growing up poor and disgusted. And the phone call from Don Logan’s mom reminding her son of how strong-willed he is, making him promise that he'll never leave the game—meaning never get rid of the hunger and humbleness that got him his Def Jam record deal—makes Gunplay's authenticity stand out like dope boys in the trap.
Behind all of the infamous incendiary moments that seem to define who Gunplay is, “Dark Dayz” shows that he’s just a human, if a tad bitter about the bad hand that he's been dealt. Fittingly, the album concludes with “Leave Da Game.” Here, Gunplay waxes on his struggles leaving the streets alone, even as a Def Jam and MMG artist.
The album doesn’t come without its criticisms, though. “Only 1,” with its elementary hook and flimsy delivery, seems tired and immature. And “Chain Smoking" with Curren$y and labelmate Stalley disrupts the cinematic flow of the album. However, Gunplay delivers on the overall theme of showing what made him a living legend. —Darryl Robertson