Living Legends The Gathering Review

EP. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

The Gathering lines up seven lean, unfussy beatscapes...

Louis Pattison 2008

South Californian hip-hop collective, Living Legends – aka Murs, The Grouch, Luckyiam, Eligh, Scarub, Sunspot Jonz, Aesop and Bicasso - are underground rap in genre name only, having clocked up a cool quarter million sales between them.

A prelude to their forthcoming full-length, due later this year, The Gathering EP finds the group rolling deep, all seven members jostling for space, leaping off each other's rhymes and crafting tracks that flip and switch around multiple battling perspectives. Recorded at Encore Studios in Burbank, LA, which has previously housed sessions for Dr Dre's The Chronic 2001 and Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP, The Gathering lines up seven lean, unfussy beatscapes that bear the influence of everything from Tribe Called Quest to late-period Dre.

Living Legends approach said beats with the same flexibility, apparently as comfortable playing righteous, socially conscious preachers as they do swaggering playas. She Wants Me is a coupling number that, rather than playing it slow and seductive, chats the manifold perils of the dating game, from groupie chicks to dating via MySpace. Things get a bit more heavyweight by the midpoint, though: Pants On Fire warns against the machinations of a neo-conservative government and a society riddled with racism and corruption; the EP's high point, War & Peace, meanwhile, is a clarion call for peace that plays out over dancing, echoed-out guitar and pacey, bounding snare and kick. Following six tracks of tight, fat-free hip-hop, the disc winds up with a bit of a curveball in the shape of After Hours (Extended Euromix) - a warm disco beat embellished with thrumming bass and soft horns, which MCs line up to ride like a Cadillac with the top down.

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