I missed this one back when it came out, but unsurprisingly the latest album from Bronx heavyweights The Legion is a must-have for fans of that gritty NY sound. With production from Buckwild, Showbiz and Confidence, The Lost Tapes collects two decades of rare and previously-unreleased tracks, with a sonic spectrum that spans from polished on Straight Flow, to rough and low-fi on the rare 12″ Freestyle Demolition. The tracks featured on their youtube channel are all present and correct, Automatic Systematic is still as fresh as when it first dropped, while the feel-good vibes on For You and Stereo break up the street sounds as all three MC’s deliver top-notch lyricism rooted in realness with an old-school lean.
Live On Arrival‘s classic breaks stand up well next to the more current sounds of Sky’s The Limit, while the more brash beats on Street Thing and Caught Up make for some serious head-nods accompanied by huge hooks and commanding bars. Keep Your Eyes Open is a personal highlight, with a deceptively current sound despite the trio producing it back in ’95; this style of classic rhymes is what the game’s missing these days, every line hits as hard as the snare, and that vocal loop is pure foundational beatmaking at it’s boom-bap finest.
After Street Truth‘s slow take on the same sample B.I.G, RZA and DOOM forged into career-defining tunes, Artifacts affiliate and veteran emcee Beneficence blesses Aim, Fire, Spit, while Molecule’s tough rhymes fortify a classic sample source on Revenge. With bonus instrumentals included on both the CD and limited edition cassette versions of this release, The Lost Tapes is the perfect prequel to the crew’s upcoming album, one that should score them new fans and satisfy long-time listeners simultaneously.
Buy it here.