Love & Hate

Aceyalone

Red Urban, 2003

http://www.myspace.com/aceyalone

REVIEW BY: Ben Ehrenreich

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/19/2008

Aceyalone is undoubtedly one of, if not the most, underrated rapper of our generation. With three albums that most consider classics, not to mention his work with the Freestyle Fellowship and the fact that pretty much none of his solo work is bad, it is quite concerning how relatively unknown Ace is. It once again brings up the question of why some of the best artists fail to make it in the mainstream.

Love & Hate is widely considered Ace’s third classic, so naturally, being a huge fan of A Book Of Human Language, I was eagerly anticipating giving Love & Hate numerous spins.

The album starts out with the very rambunctious “Junkman” that is just overflowing with charisma. Ace describes himself enthusiastically over a hard-hitting beat made to be cranked up on the freeway (Dare I say …MTV?). Ace returns to his charismatic flow just two songs later with “Lost Your Mind,” another example of how he can switch up his flows with the best of ‘em. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Once I hit the title track of Love & Hate, I realized how surprisingly up-tempo and loud this album is. Even the title track is extremely bass heavy and features prominent brass, and it also has an interesting concept, something many Ace songs are known for. But as soon as I think I have this album figured out, he hits me with “The Saga Continues,” an extremely laidback track that stands out amongst the much harder previous tracks. The downbeat mood continues with the abstract “Moonlit Skies,” which works well only to be out-classed by the even more abstract “Ace Cowboy.” “Ace Cowboy” starts off like the beginning of this album, with relatively hard, in-your-face production that quickly evaporates once the simple but effective guitar riff sneaks in. And once the smooth hook comes in, the pungent piano keys of the intro are a distant memory.

“So Much Pain” is a posse joint (Riddlore, Self-Jupiter) which provides further proof that Ace is a man amongst boys. “City Of Shit” is another great abstract song that has El-P handling the production as well as some of the lyrics. “Lights Out” brings the album full circle with a full bass reminiscent of the beginning of Love & Hate.

Ace saves his best for last on “Ms. Amerikkka,” a truly amazing and intelligent hip-hop song that is still as relevant in 2008 as it was in 2003, and will probably be for years to come. “Ms. Amerikkka” provides great insight to the troubles of our country, and although this song structure is nothing groundbreaking, Ace makes it his own with a laidback delivery that makes the listener feel like they are on that plane with him.

Overall this is a very good album with many great songs. The problem is that I feel it lacks overall unity. The term Love & Hate just seems to be a great title and nothing more. I kept looking for some link between the tracks and the title, or just the tracks amongst themselves, only to find a loose connection at best. I thought that someone who made A Book Of Human Language would most likely have some sort of theme throughout the album, especially with a title like Love & Hate. I do anticipate that many will be mad with the rating; I still think it’s a very good album, just not his best.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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