That brings us to L.E.G.A.C.Y., one of the first members of The Justus League to release a solo album. This was right around the time The Justus League was beginning to break out, as Little Brother had released The Listening two years earlier and would later release The Minstrel Show in 2005, the same year L.E.G.A.C.Y. dropped Project Mayhem. Of course, The Away Team put out National Anthem in '05, also.
Project Mayhem was produced entirely by 9th Wonder and Khrysis, and therefore, the expectations were quite high. The album contains 17 full-length tracks, and like National Anthem, the feature artists are limited (only four of the cuts have guest appearances).
Honestly, there really isn't much else background information to supply you with, so I think it's best to jump right in to the review at this point.
Khrysis gets the first production on the album, and he once again falls into that "video game sound" trap. Still, he somehow manages to make it work this time, as this beat is pretty good. "Mayhem" is a short track, spanning one minute and thirty-two seconds, but L.E.G.A.C.Y. gives his listeners a taste of his impressive rap skills on the cut. His voice is great (he sounds a bit like Obie Trice) and his flow is very nice.
2. Too Long
Khrysis produces this one, too, but unlike "Mayhem," this beat isn't all that impressive. L.E.G.A.C.Y. doesn't really rap anything worth noting, either.
3. Lou's Tavern
9th Wonder makes his first appearance on Project Mayhem here, and he doesn't exactly leave you wanting more. This cut is pretty short, too, clocking in at two minutes and seventeen seconds. So far, none of the songs have hit the three-minute mark.
Phonte raps a verse on this Khrysis-produced track, and he absolutely blows L.E.G.A.C.Y. out of the building: "My peeps is learnin', to stay true and let the streets determine, between what's pure and unpure so you can keep the sermon, nigga I'm tryin' to see the features turnin', get paid and cop a car so foreign that it beeps in German." I like L.E.G.A.C.Y., but his two verses on this record don't have much substance. Khrysis' beat is decent, by the way.
This 9th Wonder-produced track bangs in the ride thanks to a booming bassline, and L.E.G.A.C.Y rips it: "Every time I drop these, everybody wanna copy, a kamikaze." Just don't watch the music video. It's creepy as hell.
6. Throw Something
This is another one of Project Mayhem's short tracks, coming in at two minutes and nine seconds long. Khrysis' beat will get you amped, as will L.E.G.A.C.Y. chanting "throw somethin'."
7. Fast Girls
An all-around good track. 9th's beat is pretty hot here, and L.E.G.A.C.Y. drops some nice lines: "The non-stopper, you livin' on the highway, L.E.Gs Sinatra, and I did it my way." The drum pattern is incredibly addictive on this record.
8. Cold as a Butcher
"Cold as a Butcher" is some classic night rider type ish. 9th Wonder is on the boards again, and he drops a hell of a beat that L.E.G.A.C.Y. is clearly comfortable on. One of the album's better cuts, without a doubt.
This is another great beat by 9th Wonder, and L.E.G.A.C.Y. impresses: "Livin' the obstacles, is mission impossible, third in the series, absorb the words if you hear me, might be repetitive, might need a sedative, but no sleeper."
10. Pain In Life
And it just keeps getting better. This is my favorite beat on Project Mayhem, and 9th is once again behind it. As I'm sure you can guess, L.E.G.A.C.Y. talks about the trials and tribulations of his life, and the beat wholly fits the mood. L.E.G.A.C.Y. demonstrates some nice storytelling ability on this cut, easily gliding over the smooth production and making you stop and think. Great, great track.
11. Sista Girl
"Sista Girl" marks the second guest appearance on the album, and it comes in the form of Keisha Shontelle, who does an adequate job on the hook. The beat from 9th is solid. It's a bit of a step down from "Pain In Life" and the couple of tracks preceding it, but it's still nice.
12. Broken Heart Disease
Here ends a stretch of six straight 9th Wonder beats, and it's a fairly underwhelming climax. It has a nice, soulful feel to it, but overall, it's a bit flat. This is another reflective track by L.E.G.A.C.Y., somewhat similar to "Pain In Life" but with a slightly more optimistic message.
13. ...I'm a Star
Khrysis is back for "...I'm a Star," and it's just awesome. Chaundon, Median, and Joe Scudda all make guest appearances, with the latter rapping the chorus and Chaundon and Median dropping verses. Chaundon comes through with easily the strongest verse on the track, spitting: "Roll with a better team, spit with a clever scheme, my reality, stones and glass I was just havin' dreams, no one as bad as me, you were even that MC, no originality, his talent's just a parody." And again, I can't say enough about the incredible production from Khrysis here. Second-best track on Project Mayhem.
14. I'm Nothing
9th returns for "I'm Nothing," a song that was always fairly difficult for me to formulate an opinion on. The "no, no, no" vocals in the background can become a bit overpowering, but the drums on this knock, and L.E.G.A.C.Y. spits like he has absolutely no qualms about the instrumental.
15. 2 Sided Coin
Well, I think it's safe to say that 9th Wonder won the overall battle of the producers (with Khrysis) on Project Mayhem. "2 Sided Coin" is an incredibly soulful head-nodder, and L.E.G.A.C.Y. is nearly flawless throughout the entire cut. This may very well be his best lyrical effort on the album.
16. Imperfect World
This one is just meh. 9th Wonder's beat is nothing special. Keisha Shontelle makes her second appearance on the album and does the hook.
17. Dirty Bomb
I actually really dig this. There is nothing much to the beat at all, but it possesses a certain quiet dignity. You will definitely bob your head to this track when you hear it. Good way to end the album.
Project Mayhem is pretty freaking good. I remember when I first heard this album, I didn't have that opinion, but hey; opinions on albums can change. This contains some of 9th Wonder and Khrysis' earliest production work, and you know what? It's some of their (particularly 9th's) best work.
L.E.G.A.C.Y.'s rapping ability is definitely something to take note of, too; the dude can spit. He is similar to Skyzoo in that he is excellent at writing introspective lines, but the opposite in the sense that while most of Skyzoo's raps are of a positive nature, L.E.G.A.C.Y. seems to focus more on the negative side of society, and that can honestly be fairly draining to a listener. So, while I admire L.E.G.A.C.Y.'s talent, I don't especially like the doomsday nature of the good majority of his tracks.
One can easily determine from listening to his lyrics that L.E.G.A.C.Y. has been through a lot in his life, and he is not afraid to express that. Therefore, if you are the kind of person that is not too happy with their life and becomes depressed easily, Project Mayhem is not for you; seriously. I'm not even just saying that as a critic; I'm literally delivering a warning. The fact that L.E.G.A.C.Y.'s next project was named Suicide Music should provide even more evidence for that if needed, but I don't think you have to look much further than the titles of some of the tracks on Project Mayhem ("Insomnia," "Pain In Life," "Broken Heart Disease," "I'm Nothing," "Imperfect World") to see that for yourself.
Would I recommend this album? Yes, but, once again, only if you can handle the fairly dark nature of it.
TOP FIVE TRACKS
1. Pain In Life
2. ...I'm a Star
4. Cold as a Butcher
5. 2 Sided Coin