Masta Ace Biography

Duval Clear, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Raised in Brooklyn, Masta Ace became a hip-hop DJ in the 70s before adjusting to MC status by 1983. He won a rapping competition two years later which earned him studio time with producer Marley Marl, before a collegiate interlude followed. He contributed to the In Control Volume 1 set by Marl, and the latter’s label, Cold Chillin’ Records, offered him a recording contract. His 1990 debut album, Take A Look Around, was fuelled by Marley Marl’s funk throb and included the hit duet, ‘Me And The Biz’. Songs like ‘Brooklyn Battles’ attempted to look through the blood and rage circus of urban decadent rap. Masta Ace had earlier contributed to the Brand New Heavies’ Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1. His second album, released under the Masta Ace Incorporated moniker, was better yet. The title-track, ‘Slaughtahouse’, a clever parody on the absurd machismo of gangsta rap: ‘99 rappers wanna kill to sound ill, You couldn’t find their brains with a drill’. However, the graphic presentation of the video failed to impress MTV who banned it. The album also included the radio hits ‘Jeep Ass Niguh’ and ‘Style Wars’. Masta Ace enjoyed more success with the Crooklyn Dodgers project (alongside Special Ed and Buckshot of Black Moon), scoring with the Spike Lee soundtrack single, ‘Crooklyn’. His third album featured the radio hit ‘Born To Roll’, but following its release little was heard of Masta Ace in the mainstream media. He remained busy on the underground scene, however, releasing a series of singles and collaborating with several artists. The rapper broke his album silence in 2001 with the release of Disposable Arts. Masta Ace describes himself as a hip-hop purist, and certainly his wordy, considered narratives owe a debt to Gil Scott-Heron. A Long Hot Summer was another critical success in 2004.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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