Album Review: Ace Hood – Blood, Sweat & Tears
Despite having released two prior albums, rapper Ace Hood remains one of hip-hop’s greatest secrets. The Florida native was signed to We the Best Music Group after being discovered by DJ Khaled, but although appealing to the hardcore rap fans, and being met with fairly good reviews from the critics, he has yet to resonate with a broader audience.
With Ace Hood’s third major label album, Blood, Sweat & Tears, he is finally starting to get the recognition that he deserves, largely thanks to the smash hit Hustle Hard. The track sees Ace Hood rapping over the top of a heavy, industrial influenced beat composed by Lex Luger. With a beat that will pump you up, and a hook that is bound to get stuck in your head, this is a true street anthem in the vein of Rick Ross’ Hustlin or Lil Wayne’s A Milli.
Ace Hood comes out hard on King Of The Streets, showing off his traditional aggressiveness and sublime flow. The chorus is pretty standard fair for T-Pain, but the track is really carried by a pair of strong verses by Ace, with lyrics such as: “I’m a mother fucking problem, y’all still in pyjamas, sleep on the hottest, while I’m out here chasing commas”. Ace Hood has clearly stepped things up lyrically with this album, and it shows right from the beginning.
Go Get It, the album’s second single, isn’t a bad track by any means, but is a bit too similar to Hustle Hard for my liking. The beat, not surprisingly also produced by Luger, is very close to that of Hustle Hard, and even the stop-start flow and lyrical content seems to mimic the song, leaving it sounding almost like another remix of the track. Considering there is already a Hustle Hard (Remix) on the album, featuring Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, it does become a bit much.
Despite the repetition of the Hustle Hard theme, Ace Hood actually shows a lot of diversity on the album, showing off his versatility on songs such as Body To Body with Chris Brown; Memory Lane, where Ace bears his heart to the fans, rapping about a lost friend; and Letter To My Ex’s, which sees him looking back bitterly at a past relationship that he had.
Kevin Cossom lends his vocals for the chorus of Beautiful, accompanied by a soft beat and couple of verses by Ace. The track, which is as sweet and heartfelt as the name suggests, stands alongside Body To Body as one of the two tracks aimed at the females in the audience.
However, it’s hard to deny that Ace remains at his best when he’s rapping about the harshness of the streets and the struggle. Proof of this is Lord Knows, one of the standout songs on the album. You can really hear the emotion in his voice throughout the track, as he raps about how he and his family at times have struggled to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table. The sense of desperation and vulnerability that he manages to convey through his lyrics and the tone of his voice reminds me of some of Scarface’s best material, and is definitely one of Ace’s strengths.
Similarly, Bitter World, is about the cold realities of the world, and this time sees Ace turn his gaze to teen pregnancies, those who die before their time, as well as how he never knew his father. Ace once again delivers with strong lyrical content on the track, which matches one of the best beats on the album. Ace then goes on to rap about his mother on Spoke To My Momma, a piano infused track which rounds out the album nicely.
Although somewhat repetitive at times, Ace Hoods newest album never stagnates thanks to some hard hitting beats and the strongest lyrical content we have seen from him so far. Ace made a conscious decision to cut down on the number of featured artists, instead relying almost entirely on the strength of his own verses. The result is Ace’s most personal, mature, and arguably best, album to date.
Standout Tracks: “Hustle Hard”, “Lord Knows”, “Beautiful, Bitter World”
1. King of the Streets ft. T-Pain
2. Go N’ Get It
3. ErrryThang ft. Yo Gotti
4. Hustle Hard
5. Body 2 Body ft. Chris Brown
6. Memory Lane ft. Kevin Cossom
7. Letter To My Ex’s
8. Beautiful ft. Kevin Cossom
9. Lord Knows
10. Bitter World
11. Spoke To My Momma
12. Hustle Hard (Remix) ft. Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
Review by Marcus Hannah for YR