The artist who on his third album, asked to be Accepted Eclectic, really meant it, as he has constantly rewritten the script for what is to be expected with each release. His classic debut, All Balls Don’t Bounce, was a slept on magnum opus, followed by the ethereal concept album Book Of Human Language with producer Mumbles. He later went on to record with RJD2 for a couple of releases (Love & Hate, Magnificent City), and with his last album, Lightning Strikes, flipped the script completely, releasing a dancehall record with producer Bionik. Now, he’s defied expectations again with Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones, a tribute to early Motown soul and doo wop.
With the emergence of artists like Amy Winehouse and Gnarls Barkley, it’s easy to see why Acey took this route for his latest LP. As an indie rapper without many crossover hits, you have to imagine it’s probably hard to perform songs like “The Grandfather Clock”, as even the most rabid Project Blowed fan would be caught nodding off in the audience. Like Lightning Strikes before it, Acey taps an outside genre to make more “performance friendly” tracks, as pretty much anyone can latch on to a reggae beat or funky soul music. Teaming again with producer Bionik, Aceyalone and The Lonely Ones reinvent the hip-hop concept album.
It’s hard to say how this album will go over with the audience, however. Longtime fans of the Freestyle Fellowship frontman that have Mear One murals in their homes might be scratching their heads as to what Acey’s motivations are behind this record. B-Boys and girls however will have no problem adapting to the uptempo, skull snapping drums of “Can’t Hold Back” or “One On One”, as these tracks would mix right in with any classic 115 BPM hip-hop set (or classic breaks set, for that matter). Yet Acey goes beyond that, by emulating the more poppy aspects of the genre, channeling the early foundations of black rock & roll of the 1950′s, on songs like sock-hopish “What It Is” and the boot camp inspired “Take It To The Top”. Both are very catchy and easy to dance to, but also evoke memories of Will Smith’s “Switch”, which is probably not the comparison Acey was looking for.
But Acey makes no apologies for the brand of music found on this album, going in full force, without holding back. This statement couldn’t be more truthful when he decides to take it back to the barbershop quartet sound on songs like the opener, “Lonely Ones” or “Step Up”, with out-of-time vocalist Treasure Davis, who plays her part perfectly as a sort of Chi-Lites’-esque singer.
While this project doesn’t quite hit it out of the park, it’s different and interesting enough to check out and enjoy. Some fans will absolutely love the end result, but others may receive it with a collective “ho-hum”. It’s obvious he is having a great time, mixing the two genres together, and fans can rest assured that this isn’t a permanent change (shit, unless it goes platinum), as Acey is just exploring different musical genres, much like he did on his last album. Producer Bionik captures the sound perfectly, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with next time around. But please, no country. – D.T. Swinga
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