3 July, 2012@8:18 am
Let’s get something out of the way from the jump. The initial reaction to Masta Ace’s new album might go something like this: “I’ve heard all of these beats before. And what’s up with that album cover?”. It’s a good thing we don’t judge books by their covers; or albums, for that matter.
At surface value, sure, Masta Ace’s new album with MF Doom is simply Ace rhyming over several previously released instrumentals from the Metal Fingers Special Herbs series. Let’s face it, these beats are a little long-in-the-tooth; they’ve been freestyled over ad nauseum, sold to other rappers, and used as the backbone for Nastradoomus (ahem). But this is the first time they’ve been given life.
Like many other Ace album’s before it, MA_Doom: Son Of Yvonne is a concept album, which makes it a much more enjoyable listen, than if Ace was simply submitting baseless 16 bar verses for 15 tracks. The concept is a familiar one – one touched upon on his classic single “Crooklyn Dodgers” with Special Ed and Buckshot: “This is a 70′s thing from the days / When kids didn’t act so crazed…”
This is almost an autobiography of Ace’s early career, as he pays tribute to his mother, whom played a key role in his destiny, as he animates on “Nineteen Seventy Something”, which finds a childhood Ace digging through his mom’s crates, tempted to rhyme over the breaks. This continues on the heartfelt “Son of Yvonne”, where he recognizes the importance of his mom’s influence, again later touched upon on “Dedication”.
Ace’s ultra-visual, witty rhyme style paints beautiful pictures on tracks like “Me and My Gang”, “Fresh Fest Reggie B” and “Hoe-Tel Leftovers”, each of which explore the innocence of youth and the ignorance of being a young rapper in the game. Ace is such a seasoned vet, that after a few listens to this album, the dated beats become secondary to the rhymes.
All in all, we were set up for disappointment with MA_Doom, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. Masta Ace is one of the few emcees out there that could make something refreshingly new out of something that’s otherwise old. Furthermore, Doom’s classic beats lend the perfect backdrop for an album that relives the era they were sampled from. Think about it, when this pops up on your ISkull microchip playlist in 2043, are you still going to be mad that these beats were previously released?
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