After taking stock of his past, Ace Hood is rebuilding his name and himself. The Broward County native has been reflecting on what he really wants while here on Earth and how to find his true self. On Trust The Process II: Undefeated, he’s all about balance in life. He’s become rap’s Tony Robbins (minus the ignorant #MeToo comments), full of motivation and aspiration, unconcerned with the petty things in society and rap.

With 29 long tracks of dense and personal verses, it’s a lot to ask of any listener, but he offers lessons and inspiration in exchange. It’s the type of thing you want on repeat in your head because it might do you some good. Besides, the man celebrated his 30th birthday, so let him do him.

The whole project flows together as a whole, and Hood is consistent with his rhymes and subject matter. There’s quality production and subtle difference in the style and flow throughout. The broiling title track “Undefeated” sets the narrative arc, sounding like he’s ready to burst out the gate: “I’m gon stand up face to face to anything in my way/ Mama told me never let my feelings get in the way/ I’m waking up like how the hell can I get better today?/ I gave myself that confirmation, ‘boy, you already great.’”

While he’s on the self-improvement tip, unconcerned about your opinions, he hasn’t forgotten to keep his eyes on the snakes. “Never get way too low, I never get way too high/ Looking outside my fears that really made me rise/ Please don’t kill my vibe, please don’t kill my vibe/ Everything cool with a nigga like me until you cross that line,” he reminds people who might think things have gotten sweet on “Live Love Shine.”

Overall, it doesn’t take huge risks or offer too grand a vision, it’s more like he’s just enjoying his relatively newfound independence from major labels and having fun in the studio. But this is part of the plan, part of the process. He’s plotting his moves, repurposing himself as he builds towards an official album. Think of it as training. Hood lays it all out in verse: he’s about family, visualizing goals, and learning from mistakes; he still enjoys some smoke and some brown, but he’s more interested in meditation, hot yoga, and eating vegan (yup).

“I don’t wanna fuck with people, just this business of mine/ You can’t come into my space with all them negative vibes/ Ain’t no intoxicating my circle, we gon sever them ties,” he confidently spits on “80s Baby.”

Trust The Process II: Undefeated is a rewarding listen, it just might take a few sittings. It can be difficult to make it through the entire thing and takes some effort to parse, it doesn’t really command your attention for more than a few cuts at a time. And it’s full of surprises buried in the beats to keep things fresh.

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