Masta Ace, arguably one of the most Underrated MC’s in the rap game turns 50 years old on December 4th, 2016. Happy Birthday Ace! Duval Clear was born on December 4th, 1966, and has been one of the most consistent rappers since he came on the scene. We spotlight some of Ace’s career hits from his first appearance up to his most recent album release.
Ace made his debut as the first to rhyme on the legendary Marley Marl produced posse-cut “The Symphony.” As the story goes, Masta Ace only made it on the track because MC Shan didn’t want to be on the song; and eventually went first as the remaining MC’s were reluctant to rhyme first. This would be the beginning of his Juice Crew affiliation.
Marley Marl “The Symphony” ft Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap & Big Daddy Kane
Take A Look Around
In 1990, Masta Ace released his debut album “Take A Look Around,” through Marley Marl’s Cold Chillin‘ label. Production was handled Marley Marl and DJ Mister Cee, and two singles “Music Man,” and “Me & The Biz” becoming minor hits. “Me & The Biz” is a track dedicated to fellow Juice Crew member Biz Markie where Ace does his best Biz impersonation.
Masta Ace “Me & The Biz”
Masta Ace INC
Masta Ace formed Masta Ace Incorporated in ’92 and went on to release two albums with the group. The members included Eyceurokk (also known as Uneek and featured on Ace’s debut), Lord Digga, Paula Perry and vocalist Leschea. They had moderate success with their first album “SlaughtaHouse,” released in ’93. The group had a west coast sound as Ace carried most rhymes. The subject matter was mostly based on the rise of violence, particularly black on black crime and police brutality against African-Americans.
Jeep Ass Niguh
Sittin’ On Chrome
In 1995, we saw the release of their second group album, “Sittin On Chrome,” and the Hip-Hop classic “Born To Roll.” The album was described by Ace as “Brooklyn Bass Music.” Two other singles were released, “The I.N.C. Ride” and “Sittin On Chrome.” Neither of their albums did well commercially and the group split up in ’96. It would be nearly five years before we would hear from Ace again.
Born To Roll
After a long hiatus, Masta Ace released the critically acclaimed “Disposable Arts” in 2001. This would be Ace’s first solo album since his debut in 1990. Fans and critics hailed the album for it’s “pure hip-hop” and album concept as Ace tells a story about his time at the “Institute of Disposable Arts.” The record featured Punch & Words, Greg Nice, Jean Grae, Strick, Rah Digga and West Coast vets King Tee & J-Ro. Production was handled by Domingo, Ayatollah, Deacon The Villain and others.
Take A Walk
A Long Hot Summer
Following his well received “Disposable Arts,” Masta Ace returned in 2004 with “A Long Hot Summer.” His third solo album again follows the formula of a conceptual story. Ace and friend Fats Belvedere travel through Brooklyn during a “long hot summer” while Ace narrates tales of the city streets. The album received favorable reviews but did not do well sales wise. Production was handled by Marco Polo, Khrysis, 9th Wonder and Xplicit, and featured Big Noyd, Jean Grae, Edo G, Beatnuts and Rahzel.
Masta Ace ft The Beatnuts & Rahzel “Oh My God”
Masta Ace would go on to release collaborative albums with MF Doom, “MA Doom: Son of Yvonne” and “Arts & Entertainment” with Boston legend Edo G. Check out the track “Little Young” where Ace & Ed (A&E) take issue with the amount of rappers that use Lil and Young in front of their names.
Ace & Edo (A&E) “Little Young”
While on tour, Masta Ace began collaborating with Punchline & Wordsworth and Wisconsin artist Stricklin as eMC. They released their first official track “Four Brothers” in 2006, and their debut album “The Show,” in 2008. The group would go on to release “The Turning Point EP” in 2014, and “The Tonite Show” in 2015. Punchline left the group in 2014 and has not returned.
The Falling Season
I had the pleasure of meeting Ace last year while performing in Boston. He is definitely one of the realest MC’s as he stayed to meet all the fans and sign autographs.
Can you name another MC in the game that’s had the career and consistency of Masta Ace?
Masta Ace Turns 50 Years Old – Happy Birthday Ace