Some rappers are comets. They blow up and burn brilliantly for a few moments before...
DJBooth Album Review
At least one person thinks Ace Hood is a star, and lucky for Ace he’s a very powerful man. (I’ll give you a clue: his beard game is incredibly on point and he’s prone to bouts of pointless yelling). Of course I’m referring to DJ Khaled, who was so impressed by the Florida native’s flow that he made Hood his protégé. So now, faster than you can scream “We the best!” Ace Hood finds himself with a debut album titled Gutta, a fitting title considering Ace’s rags to riches story. There’s no doubt that Gutta is the work of a man with talent and drive, but is it enough to establish him as a star, at least in a minor constellation?
I hope you like this comet/star metaphor, cause I’m not even close to done. Check it. Aspiring hip-hop stars have figured out that the best way to get noticed is to get on a track with a real star, a plan that often backfires because the other rapper outshines them so drastically they might as well be invisible (Duffel Bag Boyz anyone?). That’s exactly the gamble Ace is taking on his break-through single Cash Flow, a banger that brings on the awe-inspiring line-up of a Runners beat, a Ricky Ross guest verse, a T-Pain hook and some patented Khaled yelling. As far as Ace is concerned, Cash Flow is a mixed-bag, establishing him as a rapper with a fluid flow who’s prone to some questionable lyrical decisions; unless you enjoy back-to-back Tampax and Aflac references. But we can’t really adequately judge Ace on a track that likely would have been a hit without him. Let’s try out Can’t Stop instead. In comparison to Cash Flow, Can’t Stop has the relatively sparse assistance of only Akon, allowing Ace to show us more of what first caught Khaled’s ear: his never-failing cadence and high-energy flow. Lyrically it’s the usual get money fare, but the imagination with which Ace delivers his verses elevate them from tired to distinctly alive.
Luckily Can’t Stop makes its appearance early on, because listening to it prepared me for Gutta as a whole. One minute I was ready to write Ace off as nothing special, the next he was demanding respect. On Guns High Ace makes a royal entrance to horn-laden production, taking advantage of the slower-paced track to give us a glimpse into his life while still dripping with Southern style. And then something like Get Em’ Up rolls across my speakers. I had to listen to Get Em’ a couple times before I figured out what bothered me so much...Ace completely ripped off Jeezy’s flow from Put On (listen to em both and tell me I’m wrong). It’s a forgivable transgression for a mixtape, but on an album it should get Ace charged in hip-hop court. Ace is too good not to come original every time.
It’s the same story when Ace turns his attention to the ladies. Ride uses the popular rap/r&b/pop hybrid to full effect, creating a hit single that’s seamlessly combines the smoothed-out vocals of Trey Songz with a flow that will have the ladies’ swooning. By contrast, Call Me Ace pulls his lady close, moves in for some sweet nothings, and then inexplicably proceeds to scream in her ear for a solid three minutes. All this means is that I really can’t accurately predict Ace’s future based on Gutta alone. He could easily turn out to be a skinier version of Flo-Rida (who was a comet), or a more melodic Plies (who’s surprisingly turned into a star). What does the future hold for Ace Hood? That’s completely up to him.
DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Nov 19, 2008
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