Twelve years after releasing Disposable Arts, Masta Ace has rereleased his fourth album in a special CD and DVD combo pack.
Disposable Arts was released six years after Masta Ace’s third album, 1995’s Sittin’ On Chrome. The 1995 project featured the singles “The I.N.C. Ride,” “Born To Roll” and the title track. Although the set was the Brooklyn rapper’s most commercially successful album at the time, it was also met with backlash by some fans who did not appreciate the West Coast-leaning sound that Ace featured throughout the album and in the videos to support the project.
By the time Disposable Arts was released, Masta Ace’s popularity had dipped and even he wondered what was going to happen with his career. As he crafted Disposable Arts, which contains several interwoven storylines that include one in which Ace enrolls in IDA, the Institute of Disposable Arts, where he studies Hip Hop, Masta Ace was honest about his tenuous status in Rap. He also rapped about it.
“I think people really appreciated songs like ‘No Regrets’ and ‘Dear Diary’ because of the honesty and the approach that I took of, ‘Yo, it is what it is. I know what everybody is thinking. I’m just going to lay it all out for you,’” Masta Ace says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “People appreciated that. I think people appreciated it ’cause I had always done theme albums, but I really, really followed a story line, almost like a book or a movie. I tried to really follow a story line with the beginning, middle and end. I think I took the theme album thing for myself. I took it to another level in terms of how well you were able to follow the story and how it was interwoven with the songs and how the songs were in some ways attached to the skits and the whole entire story. I think this is like something I wanted to do or probably have tried to do before, but finally executed it the way I really wanted to.”
Masta Ace says that he got the idea for constructing Disposable Arts in such a manner in order to make the album better and more captivating.
“I just really thought it would be more entertaining,” he says. “I thought it would be more fun. I wanted to expand my writing and make it more interesting than the average album that I had heard. I just saw that there was a chance to go some place that I hadn’t really heard a record fully go. I mean, I know people had done skits and theme albums before, but to be almost literally word-for-word with the story line and the songs all being attached, I didn’t think that anybody tried that before and it’s something I wanted to try to do.”
Masta Ace Wanted Eminem On Disposable Arts Song “Something’s Wrong”
Even though Masta Ace was able to deliver Disposable Arts in the way in which he conceived it, not everything worked out according to his initial plan. On the DVD included in the Disposable Arts rerelease, Masta Ace and others discuss the making of the song “Something’s Wrong,” a cut that features Strick and Young Zee.
“A lot of people knew that pretty much Young Zee wasn’t actually the first choice to be on that record,” Masta Ace says. “It was Eminem. So I talk about that process of trying to get Em on the song and how it wound up being Young Zee. It was definitely one of those things that I felt would’ve been a great feature for the record, but on the DVD we kind of explain why it didn’t happen.”
Without the success and acclaim of Disposable Arts, Masta Ace says he doubts his career would have remained as robust as it has.
“This album pretty much extended my career for, going on now, 12 years,” Masta Ace says. “Had this record not come out and had this record been not well-received, I know I would’ve been long done with music touring, the whole nine yards because this record kind of caught people off-guard in terms of how well it came out. It really has extended my career. It created a whole new batch of fans that didn’t know anything about me before this album and those fans that found out about me from Disposable Arts have grown up with me from that point.”