Chinx Leaves a Lasting Impression on ‘Legends Never Die’
Not only is it incredibly upsetting that Chinx passed away at such a young and productive age but the fact that he never got to see the release of his own debut studio album is even worse. The Queens rapper was on an absolute tear of highly celebrated mixtapes dating back to 2009, and was literally about to put the finishing touches on Welcome to JFK, his official debut LP, when he was murdered a mere three months before its release.
Luckily, the project was still released posthumously, even peaking at No. 2 on Billboard’s Rap Album chart. His legacy has been kept alive by his closest peers like French Montana, but it’s the heartfelt storytelling and undeniable Coke Boy bravado he left behind that truly lives on. Now, thanks to highly popular demand and a stash of unreleased material, more Chinx music can be heard on his second posthumous album, Legends Never Die.
The opening cut, “Like This” featuring Chrisette Michele, is the most melodic Chinx has ever sounded -- even approaching downright soulful. Michele helps elevate the rapper's vocal performance while also providing soothing backing vocals. Of course there is talk of money, women and splurging, but that “living large” attitude is a big part of Chinx’s matchless charm.
However, in true Chinx form, his ladies’ man disposition gets swapped out for the gritty Queens-bred Coke Boy bully in the blink of an eye on “Match That." Austin Powers and Smash David serve an absolute alley-oop of a beat that really bring the beast out. The scheme he pulls out on his second verse is reminiscent of mixtape Chinx, who had no other concern than flexing the hottest raps humanly possible. “Yeah, nigga, lately I've been seein' double/Fuck it, I see that money double time/I bagged this bitch, she was a Pisces/Thinkin' damn, that bitch is a double sign/Yeah, two fish/After the club I pull the car out the fish spot out on 250,” he spits. The lines are cleverly consistent and a big reason why Chinx’s pen game should and always will be highly regarded.
The best part about Legends Never Die is that all different sides of Chinx are featured. On past mixtapes, and even on Welcome to JFK, the rhymer remained a bit more one-dimensional. Here, his natural progression as an artist can be heard from a mile away on each and every track. The real beauty with this approach is that every kind of fan can enjoy the project in some capacity. With a strong 14-song tracklist, there's ample opportunity for fans to choose the Chinx they like best.
If you're looking for a record that makes you feel like you're riding shotgun through the mean streets of Far Rockaway, Queens, songs like “Crown Royal” or “Match That” will do. If you want charming Chinx, “Real Bitch” and “Yeah I Do” fill that space and if you're going for the turn up, he delivers with “Top of the Year,” “Around Me” and “For the Love" with Meet Sims. Plus you can even get in the spirit of family loyalty with "All Good," on which he reunites with Riot Squad members Stack Bundles, Bynoe and Cau2G$. The album plays as a well-oiled machine in which all the different pieces fit together to make the sum greater than its parts.
The only shortcoming on Legends Never Die is the lack of a more personal narrative pushing the tracks. This ultimately is not Chinx's fault considering he wasn't able to record since last May due to his death, but nevertheless it’s the only component holding the album back from being nearly perfect. Perhaps there are parts of his storied life that weren’t touched on this album because they are being saved for another posthumous album. More than likely, he just didn’t have the chance to record them before his untimely passing. “Same Ol Hood” provides some more insight into Chinx's life before and after jail contrasted with his life pre and post-fame. As Chinx sat on the edge of superstardom, a few more cuts peering into his psyche would have really hit home.
Where most posthumous albums miss the mark, Legends Never Die goes off without a hitch. Despite the die-hards probably wanting more of a detailed rap coming-of-age tale, listeners can expect Chinx at his finest. The MC was obviously on the brink of his career apex and while tragedy cut that regrettably short, this album serves as a reminder of his potential and how greater he could have been.
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