Masta Ace is one of the most respected MCs in hip-hop, but he’s far from a household name. He has several albums that are praised to the utmost by fans and critics alike, but they’ve never sold enough to catapult him to that next level. Therein lies Ace’s position in the hip-hop canon: the people in-the-know are aware of his skills. The rest? Not so much.
Well, in the interest of paying homage, let’s start off the work week by taking a trip back through Masta Ace‘s highlights.
In 1990, after debuting on the classic Juice Crew “Symphony” record, Masta Ace (then going by Master Ace) released Take a Look Around through Cold Chillin’. He would go on to release a few collaborative projects, as well as a sophomore album during that decade, but it was in 2001 that the Brooklyn MC crafted his opus.
Disposable Arts is a concept album in the highest form. The LP follows Ace’s release from prison as he enters the “Institute of Disposable Arts.” In classic Ace fashion, the album flows between conceptual records and relevant skits (remember those?). The album also features a wordplay record that makes Papoose’s “Alphabetical Slaughter” look amateurish. Pay attention to the story and stream it below in its entirety:
Ace’s follow-up, 2004’s A Long Hot Summer, is another conceptual album. This prequel to Disposable Arts and finds the rapper at home in Brooklyn during, yes, a long hot summer. Ace is continuously pulled down by his friend Fats, as the two are essentially ying and yang. The album, again, is intertwined with songs and skits that ultimately end in his incarceration. You can stream it all here:
Last year we interviewed Ace for his collaborative album with MF DOOM. Read the interview here.
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