For every rapper who escapes the ‘hood and weathers the game’s slings and arrows to achieve hip-hop legendhood, hundreds of hungry hopefuls are left by the wayside. Determined to be among the elite few who climb to the top of the pile and stay there, Terrmanology and Statik Seletah join forces with two equally tenacious rhymesayers to dramatize their quest for greatness on Make It Out Alive, the latest leak off their sophomore collaborative set. Selektah sets the mood for a hustle anthem, layering street-ready piano loops over subtly martial percussion as his mic-rocking colleague reflects on the ruthlessness that has brought him this far: ”I put a lot of rappers in boxes and funerals / Treated ‘em wild like a red-headed stepchild.” Gary, Indiana phenom Freddie Gibbs grabs the mic on the middle, evoking the cycle of struggle, disappointment and redemption that preceded his rise to fame, and Long Beach stalwart Crooked I brings up the rear, vividly recounting his narrow escape from a life of crime (“The streets was a noose / The more I hang, the more I hang.”). Feeling this hard-hitting selection? More awaits on 1982’s 2012 LP, scheduled for release May 22.