Masta Ace is the most underappreciated emcee to ever do it. He was always overshadowed as a member of the Juice Crew by Kane, G Rap and the Biz. His well thought-out and wonderfully executed concept albums were always ahead of their time. When even the best emcees have struggled to deliver consistent albums, Ace has come correct time after time. His linear rhyme style aids his astonishing versatility; story-telling, battling, extended metaphors, conscious, raw street shit, conceptual, women-praising, women-criticizing, odes to hip-hop, critiques of hip-hop…Ace can do it all, and has done it all. Very well. Oh, and he has got pretty good fucking taste in beats to boot.

So I was talking with fellow scribe Andreas Hale on AIM about this legend’s album. Here is how it went down:

HALEJACKSON: That joint “Travelocity” with Punch and Words is ill

J2T3R: yeah, the three of them killed it on Disposable Arts too. I love Words

HALEJACKSON: his flow is so effortless, can’t wait for mirror music

J2T3R: word to words, so what are your standout tracks?

HALEJACKSON: “Beautiful,” that joint just kills, “Good Ol’ Love,” “Revelations,” “H.O.O.D.” and the Dug Infinite joint “Big City.”

J2T3R: yeah, all so dope.

HALEJACKSON: the album flows so well

J2T3R: yeah, which is particularly impressive within the concept of it. Do you think the skits break it up?

HALEJACKSON: nah the skits flowed well, weren’t useless at all

HALEJACKSON: wish Jean Grae’s sexy ass woulda spit tho, on “Soda and Soap”

J2T3R: haha, word…nice hook though

HALEJACKSON: Ace spits it so slick though, you gotta dig into it to catch all the name drops…they run into each other

J2T3R: Ace always has some clever shit… yeah I didn’t catch the drops until about my third listen. You know I really can’t pick my favorites, I really dig every track on here. I think if I had to it would be Good Ol Love and Revelations


J2T3R: any complaints?

HALEJACKSON: nah, I was talkin about it with a few other cats and think this may be the best album this year

J2T3R: it is def one of my favs this year, I have been playing the shit out of it

HALEJACKSON: me too, I can’t pay attention to the other shit I’ve got to listen to. I keep goin’ back to it

J2T3R: I hear that, I am surprised how well it flows considering how many different producers there are

HALEJACKSON: yeah, they keep it cohesive

J2T3R: a tribute to Ace’s ear

HALEJACKSON: it’s a shame that a man such a veteran in the game makes the kids look like shit

J2T3R: he has aged like a fine wine, who said that?

HALEJACKSON: haha, me….it’s like Jordan coming back tomorrow and killing everybody…hasn’t lost a damn step

J2T3R: can you believe The Beatnuts didn’t produce Oh My God?

HALEJACKSON: yeah them fools are lying

J2T3R: Xplicit did a hell of an impression

HALEJACKSON: amazing how it is dope to listen to on random, it’s like a concept album that isn’t a forced concept album

J2T3R: word, he tells a story with the entire album but doesn’t need to have each song as a story

HALEJACKSON: like the songs stand on their own regardless

J2T3R: but when he does tell stories he is so slick, like that “Brooklyn Masala”

J2T3R: such an effortless story…Ricky D’ish

HALEJACKSON: effortless, that’s the key word here

HALEJACKSON: wish it was longer though

HALEJACKSON: “Strick tellin’ me quit playa hating/fuck it I’m not a quitter” …Strick ripped “F.A.Y.”

J2T3R: great line. yeah man, I really like that cat

HALEJACKSON: me too, where the fuck is his album…”Ace I got a cherokee/Bow wow got an aston martin”…lol

J2T3R: ya that shit is hilarious

J2T3R: where does this rank among his catalog for you?

HALEJACKSON: damn I dunno, I gotta listen to disposable arts again,

just listened to slaughtahouse…it may actually be better.

J2T3R: especially compared to the competition


J2T3R: I think Slaugtahouse is still my fav, but it has had 10 plus years to marinate

HALEJACKSON: exactly, holla at me in 5 years then I’ll have an answer I

J2T3R: I’m marking it down on my calendar

HALEJACKSON: Gotta be the sleeper album of the year at this point. Dope beats, ill rhymes and nothing wasted. proves that Ace ages like that fine wine and makes all the youngsters race back to the lab. nuthin but heat

J2T3R: Definitely on the short list of 2004’s best.