by Umar Hassan
Trust the process is Ace hood’s first album since leaving DJ Khaled’s We The Best Music and whether he severed ties with Khaled because he wasn’t getting due respect or because he wanted to ‘do his own thing’ like he claims, what is for sure is that he had a point to prove.
Between the guy that made one of the best albums of the decade thus far in Trials and Tribulations and the guy who tried toning down to a ‘gangster drake’ level just afterwards, he had to find a winning combo somewhere.
Ace doesn’t quite live up to expectation on this project and more astonishing, is how he plays like there is nothing to lose. In the plainest terms, he needed to play at scoring a hit in the mould of Hustle Hard or Bugatti and the bravest go at that was Ego trip. Decent as it may sound, it lacks some real taste and is just too loose to hold the intended catchiness.
He opens with To whom it may concern, a soul baring message to the listener. Ace tells a contradictory story of strength with a chorus that starts by asking-“If I give you all of me, would you give me all of you?/If I told you I was anointed, would you see the proof?”. In as much as its a mere letter to his fans, worrying what anyone thinks of him chunks out what we are supposed to relate to-strength. With verses containing only occasional glimpses of lyrical class, the only thing you are bound to remember is that he’s left Khaled and critics want beef but he’s not feeding them.
At a time Ace had to win like his life depended on it, the industry’s finest hands were expected to handle production for this project.
No metro boomin, no murda beatz, no london on da track, he had Foreign Teck produce his entire album and that didn’t seem an entirely good decision.Passion was the closest reminder to the hard hitting delivery Ace hood was noted for in his hey day but he sounded like he was doing the right thing on the wrong beat.His hook sits well on the flutes but the drabby base takes the sting off some tight verses.
Life after tells better Ace’s sad predicament- an artiste, not at the top of his game having to contend with production even his contemporaries who are would struggle to make anything meaningful out of. It’s a ridiculously shallow effort with Ace spitting nothing out of the ordinary on a beat dead-on-arrival for what he had in mind.
Get to me is, however, a perfect pointer to just how the bulk of the blame lies with the artiste. He exudes some class with the laid back delivery and even lets you in how much he understands whats at stake with the lines-“Gotta find my grooving again, gotta get back moving again/Gotta get that half in again, step on they neck for the win/Gotta add that ace to the end”. But if you could excuse the repetitive hook at the beginning, it gets harder to do that later on. It’s a 15 line hook with just 11 words and whatever sing-along bite it has wanes out before mid-way.
This album will get a couple more knocks than usual from critics largely due to the disparity between the good songs and the bad ones.Not forgetting also the part played by the sudden buzz built round his We the best departure.A lot was expected from him.But for emphasis, he did make some really good songs.
Blessed and Came wit the posse are tight cuts though not quite reflective of the urgency involved.He gets set up to wax righteous with that all too familiar key pattern on Blessed and he does that quite well albeit with a hook that seemed more the first take of a ‘fooling around in the studio’ session.A little more work on depth would have done much good.Foreign made a good beat for Came wit the posse but its as monotonic as having a virtually inconspicuous divide between hook and verse.Would have been just perfect for verses laced with that reputed fast and hard delivery.
He gives us a dose of that though, win .in the breath-taking Play to win. Ace somehow always manages to keep you hoping for a return to his best with a song or two on all projects since Trials and Tribulations. His singing works on the catchy hook and he fires on all cylinders in the verses.”Me and the gang gang lit/Pull up in a new thing with a new thing let the Lu-Kang kick”. Definitely one for the archives.
In Top, he made perhaps the best work of this project. It’s pretty much copacetic stuff as everything combines perfectly to spawn off this awesome track. He drops some really sick lines-“Made our way from Broward/Grippin so much sauce, I might need a towel/I can’t hold my bowels,shittin on you cowards/You can still be p***y with all that money and power”.And hows this for some wit-“If she got some jelly, this a muthaf**kin jam!!!”.
Overall, Ace hood made an album you wouldn’t call bad, it just falls below the levels set for it.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano. He tweets @alaye26