“[I am] excited to show the world a clear look into my life.” —Legend

Illinois rapper Legend—the face of Oso Major Entertainment—has dropped more than one banging loosies over the past quarter; this week, though, he hit us off with a more substantial helping of freshness. Free Juice, a focused seven-song freebie has a little of everything, but above all, it’s a healthy dose of bars and fire production.

Legend swerves into a few lanes as the filler-less project progresses. He Kicks off with a ‘freestyle’ of sorts on 2Pac’s classic “Mind Made Up” off of his multi-platinum-selling All Eyez On Me, which happens to be the first CD Legend ever purchased. He sets the tone with a barrage of impressive wordplay, “young Legend spit bullets every conversation.” On “C-O-N” he addresses the mindset of the average trapper engulfed in a reality of slanging or starving.

He channels a more melodic side on records like “Please Don’t Turn It Up,” and the slow and sexy “Guilty Pleasures,” but he doesn’t let the vibe ever settle. With records like the almost dip-set sounding production of “I’m Here” and the searing, subliminal punchline fest “Round 1” in play, the record walks the line without ever getting soft, boring, or stale.

The record “MIA” is a letter to a friend locked up, and one of the standouts of the project. With it’s slow, cinematic flow, Legend reminisces on the better times.

Free Juice paints a picture of a hustler gone straight. Whether or not the overt street-isms are factual or just bars, it’s clear that his heart ships and struggles have found a way to permeate itself into his music. With obvious mainstream hip-hop appeal, Free Juice is an entertaining prelude to an exciting artist who you want to keep on your watch list for 2017.