Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Full Masta Ace Project (Repost)

Part 1

As of this (first) post, I currently have 7 favorite MCs of all time (and the last 3 slots are STILL open), and I recently gave Masta Ace the 6th slot, respectively. Beginning with part one of this product, I'm going to dissect Ace's debut and the rest of his discography, showing my support and appreciation of one of the most underrated and slept on artists in hip hop history.

With the exception of four songs, this entire album was produced by Marley Marl.

Release date- July 24, 1990

1. Music Man 

Ace is a "music man", and that's evident with this good opener.
4 out of 5

2. I Got Ta (Produced By: Mister Cee)

Ace runs down a long list of things he gots to do over a nice beat with a James Brown sample, including having mustard on his hot dog, lol. 4 out of 5

3. Letter To The Better (Remix)

Nothing special on this one, but not skip worthy.
3 out of 5

4. Me & The Biz

Apparently Biz Markie was unable to make it to the studio for this session, so Ace ended up doing Biz' role and himself to very good and creative results in this tribute to a fellow labelmate.
4 out of 5
5. The Other Side of Town

We get one of the first looks at Ace's (early) storytelling prowess on this apply titled song.
4 out of 5

6. Ace Is Wild

Although Ace doesn't go wild on this track, it's still a good one.
 4 out of 5

7. Four Minus Three

Without Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and Craig G, Ace delivers a freestyle over the classic Symphony beat.
4.5 out of 5

8. Can't Stop The Bumrush (Produced By: Mister Cee)

Mister Cee is behind another very good track, which is almost uptempo and of course Ace keeps up with the beat like only he can. You can't stop this lyrical bumrush.
4.5 out of 5

9. Movin On

This is almost like a reflection on life in the past type song, but the message is clear.
4 out of 5

10. Brooklyn Battles

In what was likely a frequent occurrence at the time, Ace talks about some of the fights in Brooklyn in a story form.
3.5 out of 5

11. Maybe Next Time

Over a nice Stephanie Mills sample, this is another song where the message is clear, maybe next time, what you attempted before, you'll be successful in it.
 3.5 out of 5

12. Postin High (Produced By: Mister Cee)

We get a third very good Mister Cee track, this one with a feel good, old school vibe, even if it doesn't match the theme of the song.
4 out of 5

13. As I Reminisce (Featuring Eyceurokk, Produced By Mister Cee)

Although I tend to like songs where the artists talks about happenings back in the day, this one is decent, nothing more, and again, Mister Cee's beat is nice.
 3.5 out of 5

14. Take A Look Around
This is a deep spoken work by Ace.
4 out of 5

15. Together
A positive way to close the album, as Ace touches on getting things done if we pull together, even with a fork in the road.
4 out of 5

Initially I gave this album a solid 4 star rating, but I have to bump this up to a 4.5, mainly because I continue to like Ace more and more with each listen, plus this album has grown on me a little more. Very good debut.

Part 2

Now going by Masta Ace Incorporated, which included Ace, Lord Digga, Paula Perry, Eyceurokk, and Leschea, Ace's 1993 sophomore album was the unofficial beginning of well executed and creative concept albums, as he addresses what was a growing trend at the time, the intense gangster nature of West Coast hip hop. He doesn't specifically say it, but as you listen to this album, you'll know exactly what he's referring to.

Release date- May 4, 1993

1. A Walk Thru The Valley (Produced By: Uneek)
Ace begins the album with a deep spoken word and it sets the tone of the rest of the album.
4 out of 5

2. Slaughtahouse (Masta Ace, Paula Perry, MC Negro, Ignant MC, Produced by Uneek)
The crew welcomes you to their "house", if you will, over a slow, gangsta type track ironically. They're already claiming death the wackness, the materialistic attitudes in the game, etc. Not the best welcome, but it gets the job done.
3 out of 5

3. Late Model Sedan (Produced By: Latief & Ase One)
An Ace story about "street homicide". He almost makes it sound gory, but it's told nicely from a hip hop/street perspective.
3.5 out of 5

4. Jeep Ass Niguh (Produced By: Bluez Brothas & Ase One)
Ace loves his jeep, and that is epitomized in this highly dope, classic track.
5 out of 5

5. The Big East (Masta Ace & Lord Digga, Produced by The Beatheadz & Ase One)
Coming from the "big East" boy we ain't slippin. Yes indeed. Dope stuff here.
3.5 out of 5

6. Jack B. Nimble (Produced By: Uneek & Ase One)
"Let me tell you bout a guy named Jack". Well, that's exactly the type of story you get on this good song.
4 out of 5

7. Bomm Bashin (Masta Ace and Lord Digga, Produced by The Beatheads and Ase One)
This was a clear shot at West Coast hip hop (subliminal or not), as Ace and Digga turn things up a notch in a hardcore East Coast track.
4 out of 5

8. The Mad Wunz (Masta Ace and Lord Digga, Produced by Ase One & Latief)
More dopeness from Ace and Digga on this one. True 93 sound for this track.
4 out of 5

9. Style Wars (Masta Ace and Lord Digga, Produced by Ase One & Bluez Brothas)
More of the very good chemistry between Ace and Digga.
3.5 out of 5

10. Who U Jackin? (Masta Ace and Paula Perry, Produced by Bluez Brothas)
A sort of "battle of the sexes" styled song here and it's very good. Ms. Perry holds her own with Ace.
3.5 out of 5

11. Rollin Wit UmDada (Produced By: Ase One, Latief, and Uneek)
The real noticable part of after the song, in which we get an audio clip of Ace freestyling, which is a true lost art in hip hop today.
3 out of 5

12. Ain't U Da Masta (Masta Ace and Eyceurokk, Produced by Bluez Brothas and Ase One)
Ace kills this one, showing he's the "masta" on the mic, pun intended.
4 out of 5

13. Crazy Drunken Style (Masta Ace and Lord Digga, Produced by Bluez Brothas)
Ace and Digga do an effective job of convincing you they're drunk on this track. Both come off something serious though.
4 out of 5 

14. Don't F*** Around (Outro) Performed by Leschea, Produced by Ase One)
The beat to this was obviously influenced by D.O.C.'s classic "It's Funky Enough", however, Leschea doesn't do it justice.Nothing to hear on this one.
2 out of 5

15. Saturday Nite Live (Masta Ace, Lord Digga, & Eyceurokk, Produced by Uneek)
This lively track surprisingly took a while to grow on me, and it's one of Ace's most known songs, a true to ode to Saturday nights!
5 out of 5

16. Born To Roll (Produced By: Ase One)
Yep Ace, if "Jeep A** Niguh" was any indication, you were born to roll. Classic and a great way to close the album.
5 out of 5

After listening to this again, there's no true concept surrounding album (that would come later from Ace), but throughout the album, you can hear Ace being dissatisfied with the current state of hip hop at the time. I also find myself liking this one a lot more than I initially did, and I don't think I've ever heard Ace this hardcore, which is something that would continue on 1995's "Sittin On Chrome".

Rating- 4 stars

Part 3

1995 saw Ace's third album, as well as the last one under the "Masta Ace Incorporated" name. Following the release of this album, Ace would go on sort of hiatus until his return in 2001.

Release date- May 2, 1995

1. Intro
Let's take a ride shall we!

2. The I.N.C. Ride (Masta Ace & Lord Digga, Produced by Louie Vega)
Louie Vega provides a nice West Coast styled track, which nicely samples Dre's "Nuthin But A G Thang" and the Isley Brothers "For the Love of You". Nice song to ride to and kick the album off.
4 out of 5

3. Eastbound (Masta Ace, Lord Digga, & Paula Perry, Produced by Ase One)
The crew continues to ride on this dope track, 95 style, ha ha!
4 out of 5

4. What's Going On!" (Produced By: Bluez Brothas & Ase One)
Another nice song with a cool call and response hook.
4 out of 5

5. The B-Side (Masta Ace, Leschea, Paula Perry, and Lord Digga, Produced by Ase One)
The beat to this sounds almost identical to the beat on "The I.N.C. Ride", but it's another nice one with the crew, doing it from the Brooklyn side of things,
4 out of 5

6. Sittin On Chrome (Produced By: Ase One)
Ace's infatuation with a nice ride continues on this very good song, along with the memorable Michele' sample.
4 out of 5

7. People In My Hood (Produced By: DJ U-Neek)
This apply titled song serves as somewhat of a precursor to the type of concept songs that would define Ace's albums. A very descriptive MC.
4.5 out of 5

8. Turn It Up (Leschea, Produced by Ase One)
Leschea does a decent job on this solo spot. The nice beat and her vocals make you want to turn this up.
4 out of 5

9. U Can't Find Me (Masta Ace & Lord Digga, Produced by Ase One)
Decent song, but nothing special. Probably the non-sleeper song on the album.
3 out of 5

10. Ain't No Game (Masta Ace, Paula Perry, Leschea, & Lord Digga, Produced by Ase One)
The standard crew cut here, and it's not a game.
3.5 out of 5

11. Freestyle (Produced By: Bluez Bruthas)
TIGHT freestyle from Ace, which is something he clearly knew how to do back in the day. Well, it may not be an actual freestyle here, but play along, lol!
4 out of 5

12. Terror (Masta Ace, Lord Digga, & Leschea, Produced by Ase One)
Ase One was clearly the highlight when it came to the production on this album, and this was another very good track from him. The title of this song would make you think something else, but it's actually on a different level.
3.5 out of 5

13. Da Answer (Masta Ace & Leschea, Produced by Ase One)
"Music is the answer", yes indeed.
3.5 out of 5

14. 4 Da Mind (Featuring Cella Dwellas, Produced by Ase One)
This is a decent song with the basically short lived duo Cella Dwellas
3.5 out of 5

15. Born To Roll (Produced By: Ase One)
This was already included on the "Slaughtahouse" album.
16. The Phat Kat Ride (Masta Ace & Lord Digga, Produced by Louie Vega)
This is basically a remix/part 2 to "The I.N.C. Ride", and it's just as good.
4 out of 5

Oh man, I'm actually slightly torn on the rating for this album. It starts off on an awesome note with SEVEN hot tracks, but once we hit the middle portion of the album, things start to slow down a bit. It doesn't affect the quality of the album overall. Although I didn't own this in 95, that year was SUCH a memorable year for me that I instantly get that vibe even when I listen to an album that I didn't own at the time from that year. That's a good thing too. I like this one a little more than "Slaughtahouse". I was close to raising it to 4.5 stars, but it's going to sit comfortably at a solid 4 stars, which is a step up from my initial 3.5 star rating.

 Part 4
This was Masta Ace's first album since 1995's "Sittin On Chrome", and the beginning to a concept surrounding his albums. Check this out, the concept here follows your everyday kid from Brooklyn, New York, he goes home after his release from prison, and from there, Ace enrolls in the fictitious "Institute of Disposable Arts" school. It's a tremendous concept. It also just occurred to me that the cover is somewhat of a parody of his "Sittin On Chrome" album cover, as it shows Ace sitting on a seat, not in the middle of the street though, and he's essentially in a state of reflection and depression.

Release date- October 18, 2001

1. The Release (Intro)
The fairly standard release from prison intro starts things off.

2. Too Long (Featuring Apocalypse, Produced by Masta Ace)

Ace starts this off by saying he didn't think he was ever going to be released, but he's going to do right this time around and he's never going to back to prison, and when someone says something like that, it shows a great sense of maturity. What follows is a very good song detailing how long he's been gone, and although he realizes how things had changed around him, he's thankful for his freedom.
5 out of 5

3. Block Episode (Featuring Punch & Words, Produced by Luis "Sabor" Tineo)
This would almost be your normal street tale about life on the block, but in this case, Ace and Punch switches things up a lot and they command your attention with the story being told. Great stuff.
5 out of 5

4. IDA Commercial
This is an "Institute of Disposable Arts" skit. Quite funny too.
5. Don't Understand (Featuring Greg Nice, Produced by Paul Nice)
"I don't do White music, I don't do Black music
I make rap music, for hip hop kids"
Those two lines right there tell the story here, and although it's simple
(yet effective and VERY understandable), most don'tget the meaning at all. 
Greg Nice's presence was a welcomed addition too.
5 out of 5
6. Goodbye Lisa (Interlude)
Ace contacts a lady named Lisa to inform her that he's enrolled in the IDA
and he's moving out the hood. Lisa, on the other hand, is none too pleased, almost clowning him for even making the decision and bringing SUCH a negative vibe the conversation, and you can tell it in her tone of voice.

7. Hold U (Featuring Jean Grae, Produced by Ayatollah)
All about Ace's significant other, and not to mention how he likes to hold her, lol. This is nicely done, and Jean Grae has very good chemistry with Ace on this mic. This is how a song about the opposite sex should be done (from a man's perspective).
5 out of 5

8. Every Other Day (Featuring Sas & Mr. Lee Gee, Produced by Xplicit)

I totally see where Ace was coming from on this great song, every other day something is happening. That was definitely the case in a post 9/11 world in 2001, and it's certainly the case in a post election 2012. "Every other day we see the signs of the times". I agree with that.
5 out of 5

9. Roommates Meet (Interlude)
Ace meets his roommate, and as Ace walks in, the guy is hilariously freestyling. Lol @ "what's your name money grip?"

10. Take a Walk (Featuring Apocalypse, Produced by Gerrard C. Baker)
Let's take a walk through the neighborhood. Ace and Apocalypse asks some very thought provoking questions (and makes logical points in the process) about days in the life.
5 out of 5

11. Something's Wrong (Featuring Strick & Young Zee, Produced by Koolade)
Remember Young Zee from No Brains, on that classic Fugees cut "Cowboys"? So do I, and he shows up on this one with Ace and Strick. Speaking of Strick, he has the first verse here and completely kills it, and I'll admit he steals the show from Ace here. And Young Zee sounded the same he did in 1996, lol! That's not a knock on him at all.
4.5 out of 5

12. The Classes (Interlude)
Ace and his roommate discuss the classes that he's taking. Interesting set of classes too.

13. Acknowledge (Produced By: Xplicit)
In probably one of the more underrated diss songs, Ace goes IN on a former Rawkus duo names High & Mighty. He throws SO many hard lines at those cats that I can see why they never bothered to respond. "These XFL rappers tryin to fuck wit a real pro!", "you can't spit so you obviously must swallow!" Wow, yes indeed!
5 out of 5

14. Enuff (Featuring Mr. Lee Gee, Produced by Rodney Hunter)
Check the wordplay delivered brilliantly by Ace, hence the word "enuff/enough".
5 out of 5

15. Watching the Game (Interlude)
The title of this interlude says it all, even the convo with Lisa is touched on with this interlude too. I love the continuation.

16. Unfriendly Game (Featuring Strick, Produced by Luis "Sabor" Tineo)
Metaphors, similes, and more excellent wordplay on this nice song, using game analogies in a true hip hop form. Ace and Strick kills this one. (And the "stolen car" is touched on towards the end of this song too, as mentioned on the Goodbye Lisa interlude.
5 out of 5

17. Alphabet Soup (Produced By: Domingo)
We certainly do "learn about the letters of the alphabet", as Ace takes another concept and just straight up gets "lyrically creative" over a nice beat by the slightly underrated Domingo. (We get a news update on the "situation" with Lisa at the end of this song.)
5 out of 5

18. Dear Yvette (Featuring Jane Doe, Produced by DJ Rob)
A tight, clever remake of LL Cool J's classic "Dear Yvette". Jane Doe blesses this one too.
5 out of 5

19. I Like Dat (Featuring Punchline & Wordsworth, Produced by The Courts Production Co.)
Rough, rugged, and raw (no pun intended) highlighting how they like their women. The lines on this song are hilarious, but they're witty at the same time.
5 out of 5

20. P.T.A. (Planes, Trains, & Automobiles) Featuring King Tee & J-Ro, Produced by Deacon da Villain)
Who doesn't want the finest things in life? Ace, King Tee, and J-Ro unleash those visions on this one, East and West style.
4 out of 5

21. Type I Hate (Featuring Rah Digga & Leschea, Produced by Domingo)
I've often heard that the word hate is a very strong emotion/strong term to use when describing anything. Well, in this song, the word hate is not only used carefully, but when you listen to the song with a clear conscious, you can generally see why they feel the way they do, especially from an artist's perspective.
5 out of 5

22. Dear Diary (Produced By: Domingo)
Dedicated to a page (or pages) in his hip hop diary. It comes off like he's writing it to himself.
5 out of 5

23. Last Rights (Interlude)
The announcement of Ace's graduation from IDA, as well as his (and the other role players on this album) activities post graduation.

24. No Regrets (Produced By: Domingo) 

This very good closer almost sounds like Ace's swan song in hip hop, but thankfully that was not the case. Throughout his trials and tribulations, he has no regrets the decisions he's made in his career since 1988's "The Symphony".
5 out of 5

Wow, this is one of the best concept albums I've ever heard, and wouldn't you know that in 2001, with Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" the hottest album out at the time of this album's release, I had no idea of this album's existence until about two years ago (when this initially post was done), smh+facepalm? Either way, you can never discover GREAT music too late, and this is Masta Ace's finest moment right here, and he would continue to get better and better with time (and age). Another fact, guests Strick, Punchline, and Wordsworth, you'll be seeing those names again, especially as we head into Ace's 2004 follow up, "A Long Hot Summer". Excellent album.

Rating- 5 stars 

Part 5

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

1. 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.

2. 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
3. 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

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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.

11. 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
12. 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......

13. 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 out of 5

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

15. 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.
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.

16. 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.
5 out of 5 

17. 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 

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

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

20. 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.

21. 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

22. Outro 
Outtakes from the album, which was probably a first in hip hop.

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".

"A Long Hot Summer" gets a solid 4.5 star rating from me, which may change at some point. Well done.

This wasn't included in the original project, so I decided to include it here as a bonus.
The awesome team of Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth, and Strick came together to release this gem in 2008, "The Show". All four of these men SHINE on the mic, no question, and this album is one of the most brilliant concept albums I've ever heard, as it tells the story of the group doing a show on the road. I'm going to break this album down and talk about each of the songs.

Release date- March 11, 2008

1. Who We Be (Produced By: Koolade)
This great song begins the album, as it's not just your standard intro, but rather an intro where all four oMCs introduce themselves in a top notch lyrical form.

2. Airport (Skit)
A skit with the members at the airport trying to get in contact with the promoter, and he just happens to show up in the midst of them leaving a voicemail.

3. Leak It Out (Produced By: The ARE)
This track is very good, essentially saying that their first album as a group was long awaiting and now it has arrived. Leak it out indeed.

4. The Check In (Skit)
The members and the promoter check into a hotel.

5. Traffic featuring Little Brother (Produced By: Quincey Tones)
This excellent collaboration with Little Brother is so creative (like this album), as they describe riding through traffic along with what's going on in their surroundings in rhyme (as well as a "traffic report" before Little Brother's verse). The nice Quincey Tones beat fits the artists so well. Great stuff here.

6. Say Now (Produced By: The ARE)
Another dope track here. If you down with the team, "say it now!"

7. The Message (Skit)
Words to wifey (thanks to Strick for this update via Twitter!)

8. Don't Give Up On Us featuring ADI of Growing Nation (Produced By: Frequency)
As the group goes through their trials and tribulations personally and professionally, they also have girlfriends with whom they want to keep things going with, so this song is titled correctly. Stand by me through thick and thin, I can testify to that.

9. Git Sum featuring Sean Price (Produced By: J!)
This hardcore track features all five MCs ripping things nicely and not looking back, punchlines galore. Sean Price comes off exceptionally well, as this song and beat was the perfect fit for him. Tell me none of these guys can rap, I dare you!

10. We Alright featuring Strickie Love (Produced By: Frequency)
Now I love songs like this, songs that uplift and inspire you. They also ask real world questions (what it feel like), and it does make you think in the process. The hook and the lyrics to match are great. Thumbs up for this one.

11. The Interview (Skit)
The group engages in a radio interview with Amanda Diva.

12. eMC (What It Stand For) Produced By: Nicolay
In a word to describe this song, awesome. They take turns flowing about what the name "eMC" stands for, and it's SO creative and well thought out. Nicolay's beat makes you instantly bob your head in enjoyment (also including a well timed car starting sound with the drums). This is probably my favorite song on the album."This ain't chicken noodle soup with a soda". I TOTALLY agree!!!!!

13. The Angry Merch Guy (Skit)
A funny skit.

14. The Grudge (Produced By: Ayatollah)
The MCs talk about things that happened to them (as well things they did), but they try to convince you they're not holding a grudge. Dope.

15. Make It Better (Produced By: J!)
They talk about to oh so familiar topic of the state of hip hop music and how and why they make it better ("BET is on some other s***/They can laffy taffy all day, but can't play Little Brother s***, if you buyin it, they sellin it/No 106 for De La cause they said they not relevant). They also go into how things in life in general can be made better, especially if we do it together. I LIKE songs like this.

16.  The Lobby (Skit)

17. Winds of Change (Produced By: Quincey Tones)
Another creative song in a series of them, as they talk about embracing the changes in hip hop, clothing, movies, entertainment, and life in general over the years.

18. The Show featuring Ladybug Mecca (Produced By: J!)
This fast paced track details of their whereabouts and activities leading up to a show they're having that night. The end of the song details that they even with everything seeming so busy, they still made it to the show. Continuous creativity.

19. The Backstage (Skit)

20. Borrow You featuring Strickie Love (Produced By: Ayatollah)
They might as well just titled this "Borrow You (One Night Stand)", lol. Either way, it's your standard song about the opposite sex and just wanting to "do things/experiment" for one night only, whether they have a man or not. It's done in a way that you WOULDN'T hear on the radio, and that right there makes it good.

21. Once More (Produced By: Marco Polo)
I would consider this the "cool down" song on the album, even though it was sequenced towards the end. It's still good though.

22. U Let Me Grow (Produced By: Quincey Tones)
 This is a heart warming dedication to their mothers, and anytime you get a song like this, it's a VERY good thing.

23. Feel It featuring Money Harm of Product G&B (Produced By: Frequency)
Another song detailing feelings straight from their hearts, and it's a tight way to close the album before the "outtakes".

24. Outtakes

WOW, this is an EXCELLENT album all around, one of the best concept albums I've ever heard. There's not one single moment of filler to be found. All four MCs bless the mic nicely over very good production, as their lyrics and subject matter is creative and refined. (And if any of the group members are reading this, I HOPE we get another album at some point in the future). Fantastic work here.

Rating- Do you really have to ask what this album gets??!! 5 stars completely (and that goes for all of the songs too).

5 favorite songs- The Show, Traffic, Git Sum, eMC (What It Stand For), and We Alright

Part 6
After the awesome eMC album "The Show" in 2008, Ace returned in 2009, this time with another fairly underrated artist in Edo G for another collaboration, the creatively titled "Arts & Entertainment'.

Release date- October 6, 2009

1. T.V. Night
Lol, a few fans grab some refreshments as they prepare to check out Ace and Edo's album.

2. Hands High (Produced By: M-Phazes)
Good way to begin the album. Get those hands up high while Ace and Edo are on the mic.
4 out of 5

3. Fans (Featuring Large Professor, Produced by DJ Supreme One)
A VERY nice dedication to the fans and their support and you never can go wrong with a song like this.
5 out of 5

4. A's & E's (Featuring Marsha Ambrosious, Produced by Baby Dooks)
Ace and Edo's creativity is at the forefront here, as they used the letters "A" and "E" throughout and flip them in a true hip hop fashion.
4 out of 5

5. Rocsi
A funny skit, with a notable Rocsi in the background on TV, formerly of BET's "106 & Park".

6. Little Young (Produced By: M-Phazes)
Much like the song "A's & E's", the creativity continues, as the words "little" and "young" are highlighted and emphasized on this outstanding track.
5 out of 5

7. Reminds Me (Produced By: DJ Supreme One)
Certain things remind of us other things, and that story of sorts is told on this good song over soul inspired DJ Supreme One beat.
4 out of 5

8. Black Ice Interlude
Spoken poetry in motion.

9. Good Music (Featuring Posdonus of De La Soul, Produced by DJ Spinna)

Ace, Edo, and Pos indeed provide good music on this song. I could picture Trugoy on this one too.
4 out of 5

10. Power Out
We get another funny skit, showcasing how some people act (or should not act, lol) when their power is out.

11. Pass The Mic (Featuring KRS One, Produced by Double-O)

All three MCs "pass the mic" to each other and straight blaze each verse over a hard Double-O track, and this was the first time Ace and KRS collaborated with each other, and remember they were on opposite sides during the "bridge wars" in the 80s.
5 out of 5

12. Over There (Produced By: M-Phazes)
Real hip hop resides with A&E, yes indeed.
4 out of 5

13. Rounds And Round (Featuring DOITALL of Lords of the Underground, Produced by DJ Supreme One)

Wherever they go and no matter how much traveling they do, they still put it down. DOITALL also contributes a decent verse.
3.5 out of 5

14. Hot Wangs
Two words to describe this skit (lol): funny and ghetto.

15. Ei8ht Is Enough (Produced By: Frank Dukes)

Ace and Edo each deliver eight lines a piece with a total of eight verses, no need for a hook.
4 out of 5

16. Here I Go (Featuring Jamelle Bundy, Produced by Rain)

Real life (Ace) and career (Edo) situations are deeply covered here, along with a nicely sung hook by Ms. Bundy.
5 out of 5

17. You, Me, & Some Snacks
More ghettoness here, lol.

18. Dancing Like A W.G. (Featuring Chester French & Pav Bundy, Produced by Pav Bundy)

This is clearly the WORST song on the album, and I don't like it one bit (hate to say it though).
2 out of 5

19. Bloopers
Standard series of "bloopers" to close the album.

Overall this is an excellent album, and it was highly slept on when it came out in 2009. Ace and Edo had great chemistry with each and it showed.
Rating- 4 stars
Part 7
This is an interesting piece of work right here. They actually didn't collaborate together for the making of this project, as these beats (while tight) came from a "Special Herbs" mixtape series and Ace just contributed his verses. Also, this album is a dedication to Ace's mother who's no longer here, and it also follows him through his upbringing.

Release date- July 17, 2012

1. D Ski's Intro
Nice little intro to begin this album. From this point on, we'll refer to Ace as "Duval" (his birth name) on this album.

2. Nineteen Seventy Something
This is all about the music Duval came up with, in the 70s of course, plus we get a nice little side story about Duval looking through his mom's records and trying not to get caught, lol. I know most of us can attest to that.
4 out of 5

3. Son of Yvonne
Everything he does (and has ever done) is all in the name of Yvonne. Proud son indeed.
5 out of 5

4. Da Pro
Duval indeeds goes into why he's a definite pro on the mic.
4.5 out of 5

5. Store Frontin
A brief of a young Duval at his local store, as he meets up with two guys talking, and of course the usual kid/grown man banter begins, lol.

6. Me and My Gang
Duval hilariously and creatively describes the people around his way, his gang.
4 out of 5

7. Crush Hour (Featuring Pav Bundy)
Duval trying to get the attention of a certain woman in his own ways.
4 out of 5

8. Think I Am (Featuring Big Daddy Kane and MF Doom)
I really like this one right here. Not only is MF Doom's beat nice and Duval has a tight verse, it's Kane who steals the show here, as you can just tell that he wants to body this beat, but towards the end, he thinks twice about it and just ends his verse almost as it seems like it's getting started.
5 out of 5

9. Fresh Fest (Featuring Reggie B)
Duval has aspirations of one day performing at Fresh Fest, and that's the theme here: he wants to be part of hip hop and do what his idols are doing, if not better.
4.5 out of 5

10. Hoe-Tel Leftovers
Funny after party skit.

11. Slow Down
More creativity on this song, he Duval raps with the tempo of the beat, as it speds up and slows down throughout. There's a story on this one too.
4 out of 5

12. Home Sweet Home
There's nothing like home, and that's nicely talked about on this one.
4 out of 5

13. Dedication
Duval's verbal letter to Yvonne. Even this skit is creative.

14. I Did It
Ace details why he does what he does, for hip hop as well as other topics.
5 out of 5

15. In Da Spot (Featuring Milani the Artis)
All about the spots, no matter where they go all over the country.
4 out of 5

16. Outtakes  

We close out the Masta Ace project on a VERY GOOD note, with another excellent concept album, 4.5 stars. I did speak with Ace via Twitter about a year or so ago, and I asked, will we be getting another album and will it be another concept album. His replies were "contemplating next move" and "maybe", and I can respect those answers. It's clear to me that Ace has gotten better with time, especially starting with 2001's "Disposable Arts", and he remains one of the most slept on, underrated MCs of all time. He'll definitely remain one of my personal favorite MCs of all time, comfortably in my top 10.

Final Tally
1. Disposable Arts (5 stars)
2. A Long Hot Summer (4.5 stars)
3. Son of Yvonne (4.5 stars)
4. Take A Look Around (4.5 stars)
5. Slaughtahouse (4 stars)
6. Arts & Entertainment (4 stars)
7. Sittin On Chrome (4 stars) 

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