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by
1 January, 2001@12:00 am
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Almost famous. Almost. Are they almost famous? You might think so being the opener on a current tour of duty with predecessors The Liks. Among 30 shows plus some, a lot of virgin ears and eyes will witness the Legends, in true form no doubt, on stage and undoubtedly on-fire. Gone are The Dereliks, the Eyedle Mode, and many of the other fallen-comrades of the Bay Area tradition so strengthened by the Mystik Journeymen/Living Legends foundation, yet gone are the Legends. For the most part the Living Legends are a Los Angeles group now, a seemingly irrelevant point yet ever so reflective in the growth of their music. Almost Famous isn’t a cop out, a sellout or change of pitch, but it is a new page in what is proving to be a windy, colorful history in the making of what could be the world’s most legendary forever-underground group.

The G&E (Grouch & Eligh (G&E))  production is at times remarkable and definitely worth mentioning but not the most matchless beats they’ve ever made (a la Fuck The Dumb & Sidewayzdayz) yet their presence behind the boards controls the album’s ultimate direction and thankfully does so with good ears. There’s a taste of the old with strokes of the new throughout the 16-song slate and while Legends fans already have a handful of comparable LL-compilation-like albums, Almost Famous proves a valiant spawning of collective collaborations, with each rapper offering a new door of wildly different stylings to explore in great depth.

Bumps abound in ” What Would I Be ” alongside a well-crafted message of money’s unprejudiced grasp on us all (especially hip-hoppers). Messages are slipped in throughout as to possibly balance the fraught of impending fame – best documented on what could the LP’s strongest song, ” That Looks Good” (with a simply beautiful Eligh beat) where in all the fellas divulge on personal tales of passion, hatred and infidelity. Inversed, intense energy explodes from crew effort, “Rabbit Hole” (another Eligh winner) much like that of the Grouch/Arata  back-n-forth “Osaka Tales”; vivid in classical Grouchism but more importantly a great contribution from honorary, yet constantly MIA, Japanese member Arata.

To run down: Scarub  sees a proper go at it. ASOP and MURS are all too scant throughout. Mystik Journeymen, PSC (Luckiam) and BFAP (Sunspot Jonz) anchor in presence and have a duo effort that makes good on “Anything You Want”. Bicasso steps further way from the turntables and closer to the mic, as he proves worthy of praise as more than just the DJ, (with MassmenÂ’s DJ Drez doing more cuts this time around). Meanwhile Grouch & Eligh prove wholly capable of maintaining the album’s production from start to finish as well as playing their own part with the lyrics.

Could it be a self-fulfilling prophesy? Living Legends – almost famous? They’re getting there and seemingly by their own terms as always. They might not be totally unsigned and hella broke anymore, but with more money come many more problems, as I’m sure we’ll be given all the legendary details on in albums to come.  

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