Veteran DJ Duke has joined forces with Brooklyn’s Napoleon Da Legend. The title of their compilation is aptly named, Legendary. And, it’s a blend of triple quality Napoleon verses personally pegged by Duke. The collection totaling 44 tracks from open to close and clocks in at just under an hour long.
Now, it’s a daunting task trying to describe what a mixtape truly is in today’s game. What I find many times is a confused mixture of music, littered with subpar features and whatever overhyped instrumentals are popular on the radio that point in time.
Overall, that’s not what you’ll receive in this effort. As presented here is an exceptional example of a focused and cohesive collection of Hip-Hop. It stars one emcee, Napoleon, with almost no guest appearances. Seamlessly arranged, constructed and mixed by DJ Duke and his superb turntablism.
Composed by various producers, most notably, DJ Duke himself. The project leads by way of the title track, Legendary. A boom-bap banger with slow-stirring organ keys concocted by Duke and fused by NDL with a dose of reality.
“I grew up in the city where the cutthroats win. In the city, you out of luck unless the buck roll in. Where the goons roam, rocking that nutso grin. 24-7 hustling for gusto kid. We crabs in the barrel, hit the block with flashy apparel. Grab the dinero with dreams of living lavish like a Pharoah. Force fed images of drugs and guns. Since young brainwashed turned to slaves to get funds”
This I believe, being an almost irrefutable choice in beginning the compilation.
There’re also several beats you may find familiar, such as the backdrops for Mic Geronimo’s “It’s Real”, Jay Z’s “Dead Presidents” and “Fast Life” by Kool G. Rap & Nas. Or, how about Napoleon over The Firm’s “Executive Decision” on his rendition, “Firm Again”.
Some other personal favorites of mine include “Meaning of Life”, “Live Scientist”, “Complex Man”, “Timeless”, “How Many More”, “Survival”, “Realness”, “New World”, “Always Funky Fresh”, “New York Rap”, “Got Rhymes”, “The Truth”, “Street Runner” and “Red or Blue Pill”. Just to name a few. And last but not least, “Natural High” from his recent collaboration with Pearl Harbor and Innocent?. All of these, which I consider standout tracks.
The redeeming qualities of Napoleon Da Legend on this 44-song release are his versatility and ability to change up his technique, delivery, and tonality to fit any rhythm. Legendary, also proving to us that he somehow still manages to take his wordplay to the next level with each and every release (please refer to his album, Awakening) Momentously he becomes better with time. His talents may very well be warranting him a mention in conversation, as among the most elite lyricists in Hip-Hop.
Legendary, is released on DJ Dukes’s own label Street Trash Records and is available as a free download on DJ Duke’s Bandcamp page.