Eightball and MJG

While Eightball and MJG are Living Legends to Southern rap fans, they've yet to receive their due recognition from mainstream listeners. With their seventh full-length release, they've teamed up with the shiny suit man himself, P. Diddy, as the first artist on Bad Boy South, presumably in an attempt to reach a wider audience. On "You Don't Want Drama," Diddy proclaims this as "the moment you've all been waiting for, a New York collaboration," but how accurate that statement is depends on where you're from. Not all of the beats, many created by a variety of up-and-coming producers, are Southern tracks, so some hardcore fans might be disappointed.

It begins with an unnecessary intro written and performed by P. Diddy. While you can't knock Mr. Combs for his business savvy, it's hard to understand why he must drop his vocals on every Bad Boy record. Judging from the video for the first single, "You Don't Want Drama," it's hard to tell if this is Eightball and MJG's album or Diddy's. The forced "Baby Girl" sounds better suited for an R&B singer, and Diddy's voiceovers announcing, "We sending this one out to all the ladies, I need y'all to report to the dance floor, ladies," just sounds out of place. The Mad Rapper even shows up for an interlude, questioning the Memphis duo's legendary status.

Thankfully Diddy's ad-libs are absent from the second half of Living Legends. Eightball and MJG come harder on the Lil' Jon-produced "Look At the Grillz," a guaranteed banger that features T.I. and Twista. The hard-hitting "Don't Make" promises to be an underground mixtape and club favorite. The duo's signature drawl flows most comfortably over Red Spyda's track, "Memphis City Blues," a tribute to the "neighborhood that introduced [them] to pimpin'." After the aptly named "Gangsta," Living Legends draws to a close with the mellow "Confessions," a calm, introspective track courtesy of Miami production duo Cool and Dre.

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Julia Beverly