Thursday, April 1, 2010

Masta Ace - Disposable Arts (2001)

Masta Ace's flow is one of the best in the game; he's easily forgotten because he doesn't rap about Nikes and gold and gats and all that bullshit- he's real. As real as real can get. Here's what some writer had to say about this record:
Instant classic; a modern-day hip-hopera, a ghetto concept album if you will. How this album isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Madvillainy and Stankonia I’ll never know- but Ace made a stunna here; it follows the story of a man released from jail and his return to Brooklyn. After realizing how tough it is on the streets, he decides to go back to school, but not any school- he enrolls in The Institute Of Disposable Arts; a hip-hop academy of sorts. It’s based on the shadiness of the music industry, the whackness of “thug life”, all that rap-poseurism shit and how to transcend it to stay true to yourself and just make good music; what’s in your heart and how to tap into that. Deep and introspective without being preachy, the beats and samples are some of the best collected on one record- choosing to work with virtual unknowns (producers from the New York underground) as well as some emcees also not known above ground. And since it’s a concept album, the skits are not only integral for the story but actually funny. Ace’s wordplay and lyrical prowess are a sight to behold, every other line induces an “oh shit, did he just say that?”, it’s like watching a rap battle and everyone’s getting slayed. You may recognize his flow, it’s the one Eminem stole (don’t worry; Em’s given Masta Ace mad props and the favor’s returned here- witnessed by the opening lines from Don’t Understand: I don’t do white music, I don’t do black music / I make rap music, for Hip-Hop kids…”) This is a triumphant return to form- Masta Ace had more or less dropped out of music for almost five years at the end of the century. I’m glad he made it back to drop this gem. (from The Musicologists)


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