Masta Ace: A Long Hot Summer

In the “bling bling” era of hip-hop, where it seems the only way for a hip-hop artist to make a living is to sell out, certain MC’s stay true to their art. Masta Ace is one of these MC’s. Ace’s new concept album, A Long Hot Summer is a prequel to his classic Disposable Arts and it is every bit as good. It follows Ace as a struggling underground rapper trying to make it without compromising his artistic integrity. In H.O.O.D. Ace tells of the mean streets of Brooklyn, “They got wild and rough blocks where it’s hard to trust cops, get shot on your way to school at the bus stop. Damn, that kid was a fine scholar, hear his momma whine and holler he died for nine dollars.” In the very next song, Beautiful, he finds the beauty of those same streets, “This ain’t huggin’ the block with a gat in your hand, this is Boca Raton on the catamaran.” You have to love the local shout out.

Ace is well known for his concept songs and clever word play. In Soda & Soap Ace weaves names of well known soda and soap into a story seamlessly, “We talk about the Ivory Coast, how one day we gonna sail on the tide and get whisked away. Look up at the stars till the crack of dawn.” While listening you have to wonder if the whole song is a metaphor for (soda) Pop music, “No matter where you from or which way you leanin’, not goin pop got a whole new meaning.”

A Long Hot Summer is full of gems. Listening to it you realize the album is the ‘bling’. Good ol Love tells of Ace’s struggle to find success despite all of the haters. Do it Man is a dark story about the reality of living in a violent world, “I hope I don’t get shot today cause…it’s like walkin’ through Vietnam surrounded by Americans and dressed like the Viet Cong.” The morbid beat alone stirs up visions of sirens and chaos. In Revelations, Ace tells us about the self doubt he goes through writing every song over a beat of smooth drums and singing guitars.

Masta Ace is the poster child for everything that is right about hip-hop. All his albums have one consistent message and though this is a review of A Long Hot Summer, Disposable Arts says it best, “Next time you have a minute pull out that Eric B and Rakim album, that Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, EPMD and MC Lyte. Take a listen to that Queen Latifah, Special Ed and Gang Starr. Break out that King Tee, Ice-T, Geto Boys and NWA and listen to where you’ve been. Preserve the music.”