Living Legends Creative Differences

[Legendary Music; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: underground hip-hop, west-coast hip-hop
Others: Hieroglyphics, Souls of Mischief, Dilated Peoples, Eligh, Murs, Grouch

It's hard not to criticize a band that calls themselves Living Legends, especially when it comes to hip-hop music. Living Legends has been around for over eight years and many hip-hop listeners are yet to be introduced to its distinct west-coast vibe. Some 'living legends' I say. But the proof that they are a truly talented collection of emcees is clearly evident on their newest album release, titled Creative Differences. In fact, the album is accompanied, if you wish, with an extensive second disc filled with Living Legends' previous work, compiled for fans or newcomers alike. So Creative Differences acts as a vessel to encompass all the elements that have made Living Legends successful in the past. And as a hip-hop album, it serves some of the finest west-coast music available today, apart from such prolific acts like Dilated Peoples, Del, or Hieroglyphics.

Like most supergroups in hip-hop today, Living Legends is comprised of nine emcees and a plethora of members in its extended family. While some groups fail to capture its essence and style due to the diluted number of performers in the band, Living Legends have welcomed the struggles of their group's 'creative differences' and have agreeably decided to give each member a collective amount of time on the record. Most of the work is a collection of the bands' embrace to their different backgrounds and individual abilities. The Living Legends collective stretches from Los Angeles to San Francisco, but also includes members from Japan and other parts of the world, leading to an overabundant mixture of styles. But fortunately, Creative Differences is not blemished by this distinctive collection of emcees. Actually, Creative Differences is perfectly concocted to introduce listeners to each member of the band effectively, providing an adequate overview of all band members and their distinct approach to hip-hop.

As far as the album itself, Creative Differences flows very well, considering its innovative tactics. The production is crisp and clear, tightly holding on to its Bay-area sound structure. Songs like "Aspirations" and "Addicted" showcases the band's potent hip-hop capacity, bordering on mainstream's door but remaining closely behind it, never going through. Though some die-hard Legends fans may consider this album more streamlined for new fans, most of Creative Differences never fully emerges from the depths of underground, a place where Living Legends have been legends for quite some time.

1. Creative Differences
2. Fill My Drink Up
3. Addicted
4. Time To Ride
5. Days Go By
6. Damn It Feels Good
7. Awakening
8. Get It In Your Soul
9. No Strings
10. It Might Be You
11. Real Slow The Fast Way
12. Whatizit
13. How You Make It
14. Trust Me
15. Friends Are Calling
16. Hold Your Own
17. Aspirations

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