Most Likely to Succeed
by Luckyiam psc
Legendary Music (2007)
Off the first couple spins of the latest record from Luckyiam.psc, I’m thrown back in time, circa 2000. The place is the East San Francisco Bay Area and I’m sitting in a parked car with a couple fellow suburbanite friends, dissecting lyrics, nodding to the beat, partaking in some of Northern California’s finest provisions, while hoping to extract an epiphany from the moment. We were aimless, yet the wheels of intellectual stimulation had begun to turn and we were starting to feel excitement and passion for politics and progress, while underground hip-hop seemed to embody both of those ideas for us. Looking back on this era (1998-2003), it can now be considered a renaissance in hip-hop. The influx of creativity, talent, and diligence was astonishing, with the most memorable records coming from folks like Blackstar, Zion I, Atmosphere, Blackalicious, Del, Aesop Rock, and of course, Living Legends.
6 / 10
Living Legends are a group of nine emcees, hailing mainly from Oakland and Los Angeles. The group is well-known throughout the undie community due to solo projects by The Grouch and Murs, but especially because of The Mystik Journeymen - the duo comprised of Sunspot Jonz and Luckyiam. “Unsigned and hella broke,” became the motto for them, as the Jouneymen and Legends grew to personify the meaning of independence within the hip-hop community. Even after 12 years and dozens of records, it hasn’t been stellar albums that have kept their following intact. What has propelled the group to iconic status has been their resilience towards defying the mainstream. They gained clout by successfully engaging their crowds during live performances and having the audience bouncing from their magnificent on-stage energy. They also had a signature four track recording style and original rhyming patterns that combined sporadic alliteration with smart storytelling and wordplay. Simply, they spoke words that kids who didn’t pack heat could relate to.
When stagnation hit indie hip-hop, it also struck the Legends. For Luckyiam, this is his third solo project off his Extra Credit series. But unlike the first two, Most Likely to Succeed sounds like he finally took the time to write meaningful lyrics that are on par with his earlier work (ie Black Sands ov Eternia). The production is diverse with some beats singing pretty piano melodies and others knocking a much edgier tune. The end product is a decent effort with a handful of tracks definitely worth checking out. The most memorable song has to be “Dynamics of Duos”, in which Lucky discusses the Journeymen’s history and tribulations between him and Sunspot. This song will definitely get a lot of attention from Legends fans wanting to ask Lucky a hundred questions about where the duo stands now and whether Mystik Journeymen will ever make another record together. Alas, we always hoped they would stick together like glue and maintain their independence as a unit, but how often does that fantasy ever last in the music business?