Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Legion – Theme + Echo = Krill 2xLP


Legion (2016, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I wasn't familiar with The Legion prior to picking up this record.  I also bought it over a year ago, so I can't remember how I stumbled on them or what about it originally made me want to check it out.  Looking at the track credits, the fact that we have production and guest appearances from Showbiz & AG and Black Sheep probably played a part in it.  But the reason it's languished in my review pile for so long is because I've never really been able to figure out what to make of the album.

First off, it's really long.  Twenty tracks, almost an hour and fifteen minutes long.  Sure, there's a few sketches on here making the number of tracks go up somewhat artificially, but track count aside this record is way too long.  If they halved it, I think you'd have a much stronger record overall.  The album starts off not particularly impressive.  The first handful of tracks are slower tempo tracks with production that I don't find particularly inspiring.  The lyrics and delivery are solid, but the beats aren't there for me.

About halfway through side B, the album suddenly springs to life and they rip off eight pretty great tracks in a row.  If the album had just started with "Representado," I'd probably be singing a different tune.  I really get into the album while we're going through this stretch which lasts through the end of the C side of this double LP.  When we flip to side D, the production reverts back to the wort of slow, kind of plodding, beats that made up the first part of the record.  So yeah, not sure what to make of it.  A little less than half the record is great, I really dig listening to it.  But that greatness is bookended by production on the other half of the record that just never connects with me.

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