“Aceyalone /you must strive…” – Mikah 9 from Inner City Griots’ “Bully of The Block”. Striving is what Aceyalone is all about. This is clearly evidenced in his latest work Love and Hate (on Decon/Project Blowed Recordings). Longtime fans of Freestyle Fellowship and Acey in particular have come to expect, no strike that demand a certain level of lyricism and production from him. Lyrically Aceyalone doesn’t disappoint.
After a somewhat lukewarm intro from the good Dr. EZ (sorry Drez, you’ve done better) Aceyalone rips through the PMG produced “Junkman” with the nice chops of what sounds like the intro to the theme from Sanford and Son. After hearing the “Big beat bangin’ on the stere-ah” (Acey inflection added), Casual makes a welcome return along with a guest spot from Big Arch on “Let Me Hear Sumn”.
The album really takes off (pardon the pun) with the first single “Lost Your Mind” produced by none other than…RJD2 of Def Jux fame. The results are explosive when RJD2 pops up on the production end again on “The Takeoff” where Acey’s verses are as potent as ever. “My greatest gift of all was the ability to fall/get back up and fall, get back up and fall/ get back up and fall and crawl and get back up and brawl…” You have to love lyricism that speaks of the resilience of the human spirit. If not, then take some worldly wisdom from the same song: “When all else fails on the trail to love/ hate becomes judge/happiness won’t budge. Wickedness does just as wickedness does…”
The Title track “Love and Hate” produced by PMG weaves in poignant sound clips from Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and showcases some more of the bounce that originated in the L.A. underground; word to Radio Raheem. Speaking of the styles, “In Stereo” also flaunts the styles of the brother with the golden mic.
The directions that Aceyalone takes on this album reflect a mature artist that seeks to make good music as opposed to just pleasing heads. “The Saga Continues” features fellow A-Team member Abstract Rude with Fatjack on the production and makes for one of the best moments on the album. Other notable moments are “Moonlit Skies” featuring Goapele (pronounced gwa-pellay) on another RJD2 production, “Ace Cowboy” featuring The Soul of John Black (good to hear you on the boards, KeyLou) “Find Out” featuring Riddlore on the production and the rhyme. There is also some classic El-P production on the collaborative effort on “City of Sh*t”.
The album ends with “Lights Out” featuring production and a guest appearance by Sayyid and Priest formerly of Anti-Pop Consortium and the bonus cut that truly is a bonus “Ms. Amerikkka”. Do yourself a favor and buy this album. This is music for the advancement of Hip Hop.