Rapper Gunplay may have gotten himself into a pretty sticky legal situation, but he's still pushing forward with the release of his Def Jam debut Medellin, coming in early 2013. Despite his sudden emergence, Gunplay is an old soul; he's known Rick Ross since the '90s, and has been listening to rap since first hearing groups like Boogie Down Productions back in the '80s, when he lived in New York.

We talked about his 25 favorite albums, a list that covers an unexpectedly East Coast-oriented canon for a Southern hip-hop hero. At first, Gunplay was reticent to share too many of his ideas, but he opened up, discussing, among other things, how Rakim changed the game in detail. Read on for more of his stories.

As told to David Drake (@somanyshrimp

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