Purchase “The Great Escape” (Signature Series) via M.L’s Bandcamp
A battle emcee by nature, Magestik Legend has been grindin’ it out in Hip Hop’s underground for quite some time. Having first burst upon the scene as a member of 9-2-5 Colony alongside producer Nick Speed and Elzhi and later gaining even more notoriety as part of the Subterraneous crew in the early-2000s, Magestik Legend has definitely “paid dues”. Whether it was sharpening his lyrical skills on Elzhi’s “Witness My Growth” Mixtape/LP or A.M.L.’s (Athletic Mic League) “Sweats & Kicks”, “M.L.” has only benefited from the numerous guest spots and opportunities which have generated quite a buzz for his lyrical product.
Following the success of Legend’s independently released “Free Magestik Legend” project in 2007, M.L. leaked his well received “To Be Continued (Megamix) Chapter 1″ (hosted by T3 of Slum Village) in March of this year (man, that seems like forever ago, right?) and later generated the same “buzz” in late October with the Rapper Big Pooh-hosted “To Be Continued Chapter 2″, all this with the intent of reaching higher anticipation levels for his first “official” solo debut, “The Great Escape” (which drops TODAY, nonetheless).
At a first glance at the tracklist, 18 tracks can seem like a daring task, especially when considering the fluidity and playability of an LP. Arguably, the greatest LP of all-time, Nas’ “Illmatic” was only 9 tracks deep and “The Great Escape” nearly doubles that? Don’t get it twisted, “The Great Escape” is by no means “Illmatic”. However, what it is, is yet another LP that has done Detroit proud as Magestik Legend unveils a canvas of emotions and vulnerability on “The Great Escape”, which came as somewhat of a surprise from the man who honed his lyrical skills in the cyphers of Detroit. Whether it’s M.L.’s ode to his aging father on the 14KT-produced (and my favorite cut from the LP), “Million Miles Away” or the soulful, Fes Roc-featured “Feel What I Feel”, which Astronote absolutely murders on the production tip, or a straight up lyrical barrage with the Busta Rhymes-sampled, “SCREAM”, Magestik Legend touches all the bases, lyrically, on this album. The prior (“Million Miles Away”) struck a particular chord with me, as I’m also dealing with a Father whose health is failing rapidly due to Multiple Sclerosis.
Speaking of Astronote, he masterfully weaves his way through the LP with straight up hardcore backdrops (see: “Shut Down” and “Starter Pistol”) that bleed into the more soulful aspects of ‘Note’s catalog (see: “Hey You” and the aforementioned “Feel What I Feel”), which truly showcase his production range. And if you’re gonna’ get a producer to step in for 2 of the LP’s cuts, production-wise, why not make it 14KT, who steps up to the task with “Eye Need You” and “Million Miles Away” beautifully. Of course, you can account for the consistency of the LP being the chemistry that is easily heard between ‘Note and M.L. You may as well call “The Great Escape” a one producer/one emcee LP as Astronote is merely an extension of the ASIDEWORLDWIDE family, and on occasion, it’s very difficult to distinguish between the two (KT and Astronote).
So, ‘uff a Soulja Boy, ‘uff a Black Eyed Peas and a Flo Rida, if you’re gonna’ invest $9.99 into to something today, make it “The Great Escape” an impressive (and I use this word loosely) “debut” from an emcee who’s truly done things the “right way”, and it’s paid huge dividends. Detroit stays winnin’…Preview, “The Great Escape” below.