The three members of Bronx rap trio The Legion—Molecules, Cee-Low The Diceman, and Chucky Smash—have kept plenty busy since releasing their seminal debut, Theme + Echo = Krill, nearly 25 years ago. In that time, they have dropped solo projects, collaborated with other talented artists, and put out a compilation of unreleased material, The Lost Tapes, in 2014. But it’s their new album, Three The Bronx Way, that marks their proper return as a group and showcases the true timeless quality of street-minded Boom bap as we know it.
The record’s strengths are apparent as soon as it starts, with Molecules providing a sample-laced, “Intro” with cuts supplied by DJ Eclipse that segues perfectly into the chest-pounding “Word.” It’s a straight-up banger full of tough talk with a notable guest appearance from Sadat X. The album rides this wave of momentum through the end, and while the credit for that absolutely goes to all three emcees, it’s impossible to not shout out Molecules for his phenomenal production chops (save for the Venom-produced title track, which ‘Cules credits as his favorite track).
Whether it’s the snarls of the Noir Rap lead single “1980 Something” or the middle-finger bravado of “Heard We Quit (feat. Droopy Dog),” Three The Bronx Way delivers on its promise of being “the original Bronx soundtrack” as noted on the album artwork. It’s a raw, no-punches-pulled listen that also features a strong vibe of authenticity—qualities which Diceman credits as the result of maintaining full creative control without any time constraints.
Speaking to that point, Diceman feels that their time off as a group allowed them to mature and better understand the business side of things. “It allows us to have the freedom to create and become our own machine,” he said. “We knew that day would come, and with that day being here, our Independence will allow us to be consistent.” Chucky agreed and added that the group has been “blessed to survive a few generations so we’re able to participate in this new independence.”
With one listen to Three The Bronx Way—yes, it’s an homage to the 1974 Blaxploitation classic, Three The Hard Way—it’s clear that Hip-Hop heads with a penchant for Street Rap will have something to keep on repeat. Here’s hoping this is just the start of what The Legion has for us in 2019. TTBW is available now through all major digital retailers and can be purchased on vinyl in limited quantities through Legion Records, distributed by Fat Beats.
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