When it became clear to me that I was going to get the
opportunity to review this album, I became rather giddy with excitement. Not
only because Masta Ace coined one of
the illest hooks and songs to come out in years [The INC Ride y'all - like you don't know], but because some of my
all time favorites tracks he took part in. Now after a near 5 year hiatus, he's
back; and as a fan, pleased to say that this is one of the nicest albums of the
year. No doubt.
The album follows the old school formula of storytelling and interludes [hilarious in some cases] between songs all related to one central story which I won't spoil. Most headz out there I'm sure are thinking same old, same old - but that's the triumph of this album. All my favorite MC's from back in the day appear to have sold out in some way or another. It's not necessary to mention names, y'all know the people I'm talking about. This album is refreshing because it stays true to, and close to, those original "back in the day" roots; When Hip Hop felt more "real" as opposed to being/feeling artificial. Masta is a craftsman at work in capturing that nostalgia.
This album is shock full of amazing tracks. Too Long a chronicle of his absence from the scene, Black Episode, with Punch and Words of Rawkus fame, Hold U with Jean Grae featuring a hypnotic hum as the background beat loop, and Take a Walk, a lyrical tour of Brooklyn in only a way that Masta Ace can tell you. Can't forget about the much talked about battle rhyme directed at Boogeyman: Acknowledge. It's almost tongue in cheek in nature, seems like Masta Ace thinks this guy is too much of a joke to bother sounding vindictive or angry. The rhymes are however, viciously condescending - very entertaining. One of my favorites is a track entitled Watching The Game. Ace sets up all the lyrics using football lingo, as well as Dear Yvette, where Ace is showing some respect to a lady friend. There is on the CD, what has become a pre-requisite for all albums released in the last few years: the reggae track - its not very good. As well, there is a track with Rah Digga which is pretty soft - the only complaints.
I love this album. 'Nuff said. Don't hate, appreciate. Cop this CD as soon as it's released. You won't be disappointed. As the last song on the album states, you'll have No Regrets.