Although the most salient attribute of hip-hop is the words, the production behind it is equally important. It turns rhymes into song, into something you can feel. And while ACE certainly has the lyrical aspect down, often his mix-tape - and to be fair, those of other so-called conscious MCs tend to suffer from a dearth of good beats. ACE released on his own mix-tape which, despite its production never quite seems to take off to claim the beat and make it his own.
Being a big fan of his previous release “Sweet Pain” I listened to the new mix-tape right away, and even picked “voicemail” to be my track of the month in October – before getting caught up in other music. I listened to 'Swag' and 'Like a star' and I was so impressed with them that I gave the mixtape another listen – and I’ve been bumping it nonstop ever since.
Why I Like This Mixtape? It’s very personalized – In the Mixtapes’s intro, ACE tells us that he is liable inside the booth to make complex contents simple as tying shoes. I got that statement more and more as I worked my way through this mixtape, because several tracks tackle serious topics by explaining them in the light of everyday stories and personal experiences. Which turns the struggles of a starving artist into a series of amusing personalized stories.
He is talented – You’ll find in hip-hop that a lot of emcees who start out as raw underground lyricists eventually polish their flows to make them more mainstream accessible. And following his last album, I guess I expected the ruggedness to disappear over time as ACE polished his flow. But it hasn’t. While ACE has obviously improved his skills as an emcee and producer, he has also managed to maintain the raw style that makes him who he is. ACE just has this crazy raw in-your-face flow that doesn’t sound like anyone else. And it worked out brilliantly on this mixtape.
Overall: Ace the Godfather’s “off the record” combines hard-hitting beats, raw underground lyricism, interesting subject matter, and ACE’s unique way of viewing his surroundings to provide a great mix-tape. It’s one of those mix-tapes that I find a new favorite song on every day. Pick up a copy and check it out for yourself.