Gunplay on Finally Dropping Living Legend: "I Just Wanted to Feed the Streets"

Gunplay talks his new album.
Gunplay talks his new album.
Photo by Alex Markow

It’s been a few years in the making, but it finally arrived: Gunplay’s solo debut, Living Legend.

The Carol City rapper and childhood friend of Rick Ross first rhymed to the world on Ross' 2009 album Deeper Than Rap. His first breakout single, “Bible on the Dash," had fans itching for his first solo album, Living Legend, which was originally supposed to be released in 2013. But, as often happens, the LP saw more delays than a Lupe Fiasco and Frank Ocean album combined.

Gunplay (formerly Don Logan and born Richard Morales Jr.) has had a career mired in legal trouble, at one point facing life in prison for armed robbery. But on July 31, fans breathed a collective sigh of relief as Gunplay finally dropped Living Legend, along with two music videos for "Wuzhanindoe" and "White Bitch." We caught up with the Carol City rapper to talk about how it feels to finally release the long-awaited Living Legend, whether he offers any advice to his labelmate Meek Mill, and more.

New Times: It’s been a few months since we last talked, so how does it feel to finally have Living Legend released?

Gunplay: It feels accomplished, you know what I’m saying? I didn’t release it at the height of Gunplay’s exposure due to a lot of setbacks, but it feels good. It feels accomplished that I set out to hit a goal and I did that. I feel like a winner.

Was there any anxiety leading up to the release?

Nah, you know I don’t get down with that. I just wanted to feed the streets. I couldn’t wait to put that food on the plate for the streets.

What qualifications are needed to be a living legend?

You just have to rise above any adversity that you thought you were never going to come back from and shine. Rise above the odds and shine.

And what’s made you a living legend?

Seeing my life change with all odds against me, being poor, broke, homeless. Putting out Living Legend. Putting out an album. Feeding my family. That’s what living legends are made of.

Why weren’t “Bible on the Dash” and “Aiight” on the album?

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Because I just feel like those records, everybody already heard them. Those records were stepping stones for me to put out this album. I released “Bible on the Dash” three years ago. It was a 3-year-old record. I just wanted to give y'all some new shit.

You just touched on the height of your exposure a few minutes ago. Were you comfortable releasing this album even though your latest singles, “White Girl” and “Wuzhanindoe,” hadn't had a chance to gain as much exposure as your other singles?

At the time that I was releasing the album, I didn’t really care — along with having the deadline. I just wanted to make sure I put out an album. I knew what I was getting myself into. This one, I shouldn’t have been so anxious to release this, but at the same time, it’s been long enough to finally feed the streets. I’m already coming back for my second project, the Triple C's project, and I already have planned to make sure that the exposure for the single promoting the album will be large.

Your past always comes up in a lot of interviews. Your mom is on this album, and she tells you, “Never leave the game.” But has she ever come to you about your past actions and told you to stop?

Yeah, of course. She told me in patois, in Jamaican, "The higher the monkey climbs up the ladder, the more his ass is exposed." Ain’t no act. It ain’t no lying. You can see my ass. I’ll show you my ass. But you’re going to love me because I embrace my imperfections. I embrace my shortcomings. I embrace my mistakes.

You may be perceived as someone who is quick on the draw, a livewire, maybe someone who acts before they think. A year or two ago Meek Mill had his problem with Wale, and took it to Twitter. Over the last few weeks we saw it again with Drake being the target. What type of talks do you or Ross have with him or have had with him saying, 'Look, you may want to think about this before you act. This may not be the best thing.'

That ain’t my business. I don’t stick my nose in anybody’s business. That man want to go on Twitter? Go on Twitter. Want to go on Instagram to vent? Go on Instagram and vent. That’s on him. I’ve made my mistakes. I learned from them and that ain’t none of my business. And sticking my nose is somebody else’s business, it never really ends up right. Just like my mama said, 'If you dig a grave for somebody, you dig one for yourself, too.'

What was the celebration like the night before the release of your album?

I was working, man. I didn’t even realize it dropped. I was at work. And I almost missed the club. I overslept for my album release. I’m just tired, man. I’m working. I’m working.


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