Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Masta Ace Project Part 5: A Long Hot Summer

Take a look at this album cover. You got Ace sitting at the bottom of the stoop, pen and notebook in hand (looking up at the heavens), all the while rocking a nice all white Velour outfit, complete with the classic Kangol. That's quite the symbolic statement if you ask me, which leads up into this album. After 2001's critically acclaimed and HUGELY slept on "Disposable Arts", Ace returned in 2004 with another concept album (which would become his theme beginning with Disposable Arts), and this time around Ace documents his "long hot summer" in Brooklyn, with unofficial manager Fats Belvedere. 

Release date- August 3, 2004

The Count (Interlude)
The intro sees Mr. Belvedere counting money for Ace in a hotel room. It leaves you wondering just what the hell is going on, and Ace addresses this as we head into the first track.

Big City (Produced By: Dug Infinite)
Days in the life of New York City, as told by Ace in a clear form. "Life is a test you betta up them scores". Well said. 4 out of 5

Good ol Love (Additional vocals by Leschea and Mr. Lee, Produced by 9th Wonder)
Over a nice, soulful beat provided by 9th Wonder (along with a memorable Willie Hutch sample from the 70s blaxploitation flick "Foxy Brown"), you'd think by looking at the title of the song it's "another one of those love songs", but it isn't. Ace goes into his contributions to hip hop, as well as his life in general, and just desiring to receive love from fans all over the world. Nothing wrong with that. 5 out of 5

Fats Belvedere (Interlude)
A funny "promotional spot" of sorts from Mr. Belvedere.

Da Grind (Featuring Apocalypse, Produced by Khrysis)
"I send this one out to everybody, tryin to make ends meet". Now when is the last time you heard an artist start a song off with a line like that?? Been a long time probably. It's all about the hustle and the struggle and trying to make it, especially in the hip hop world, as wonderfully told by Ace and Apocalypse. 5 out of 5

H.O.O.D. (Produced By: Nostradamus AKA DAMS, SLA)
When you've heard an ode or sorts to the hood, you've essentially heard them all, not in the case of Ace, as he puts an updated, well spoken touch on that very subject. 4.5 out of 5

The Stoop (Interlude)
Another funny skit here, with Mr. Belvedere talking with Ace while he sits on the stoop, pen and pad in hand of course, working on "Beautiful". Mr. Belvedere even brings Lisa back up from "Disposable Arts", lol. He then invites Ace to his crib, as he has some sort of an idea he wants to share.

Beautiful (Additional vocals by Wordsworth, Produced by Koolade)
As mentioned in the previous interlude, Ace describes all the beautiful things he sees. Again, nothing wrong with that. 5 out of 5

F.A.Y. (Featuring Strick, Additional vocals by Punchline, Produced by DR Period)
I would call this an unofficial "Type I Hate" part 2. It follows the same formula of that same song from "Disposable Arts", only the title is different. I can sympathize with their feelings. 4 out of 5

Fats Crib (Interlude)
The "idea" that was mentioned in the previous interlude was hinted at here, but it ends with Ace going to the store, lol. Stay tuned, lol.

Soda & Soap (Featuring Jean Grae, Produced by DJ Spinna)
It's all about the "drinks and the soap", lol. Ace puts another creative touch on this song, using various brands of drinks and washing detergent products to tell a metaphorical story. Phenomenal. (This song ends with Fats hearing shots outside, but not knowing where they came from.) 5 out of 5

Do It Man (Featuring Big Noyd, Produced by Marco Polo)
Apparently, those "shots" were coming from an always underrated Big Noyd, who joins Ace on this tight song.Ok, those "shots" didn't come from Noyd, lol. 4 out of 5

Ace is then leaving the store and meets up with a young lady, which leads up into......

Bklyn Masala (Featuring Leschea, Produced by Xplicit)
Ace meets a nice lady, and we get that story here, and not in the typical "boy meets girl" fairytale. 4.5 out of 5

The Proposition (Interlude)
We finally get to Fats' idea, in which he proposes that he becomes Ace's road manager on his next tour.

Travelocity (Featuring Punch and Words, Produced by Nostradamus AKA DAMS, SLA)
Ace, Punch, and Words do up some traveling all over, and of course detailing their adventures with various women. Funny and witty at the same time. 4.5 out of 5

Fats almost shoots someone who he claims is trying to sneak off without paying. That turned out to be false, lol.

The Ways (Produced By: DJ Serious)
Want another perspective on how things are in the music business when people are trying to get paid, specifically the hip hop world when friends are involved? Let Ace tell you the story as only he can. 4.5 out of 5

Wutuwanknow (Featuring Edo G, Produced by Dug Infinite)
We get some inner thoughts from Ace and Edo G in an effort of putting some/most rumors to rest. Speaking of Edo G, he'll be returning in another part of this project. 4 out of 5

The After Party (Interlude)
Fats almost loses it on this interlude, until Ace steps in (again) and saves the day, lol.

Oh My God (Featuring Rahzel & The Beatnuts, Produced by Xplicit)
Very good collaboration here, nothing special though. 3.5 out of 5

Cellmate (Interlude)
We then find out that "the room service" from the intro wasn't who they claimed, as they were the Feds. Ace is then jailed for his troubles. And in true Ace fashion, he has a plan once he's released.

Revelations (Additional vocals by Leschea, Produced by Masta Ace & DJ Rob)
We get another deep closer, on this apply titled song. 5 out of 5

Outtakes from the album, which was probably a first.

This is another excellent concept album, fast paced and easy to listen to like "Disposable Arts". It's not better, but that doesn't hurt the quality at all. Ace continues to shine and get better, always having something to talk about and do an effective job at doing so. He would go on another hiatus from hip hop after this album, as he would later hook up with Punchline, Strick, and Wordsworth in 2008 to form the awesome supergroup eMC and release the 5 star classic "The Show". I dissected that album, which you can check out here:( "A Long Hot Summer" gets a solid 4.5 star rating from me. Well done.

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