Q&A with Masta Ace
From his 1990 debut solo LP Take A Look Around with production for the most part handled by Marley Marl to the 2012 release and his fourth solo record MA_Doom: Son of Yvonne that has all production from MF Doom, Masta Ace doesn’t only make hip hop, he is hip hop. His influence is wide spread in hip hop today with artists like Eminem and many other potent and lethal lyrical proponents sighting his lyrics as an important source of inspiration. The contribution Masta Ace has given to the community of hip hop and modern music is invaluable, proving that inferior styles of hip hop will never be the standard for someone who saw hip hop grow up right before his eyes. If you are finding your way to his past works, you are in for a big treat as his wordplay, choice of producers and overall vibe on every record is what hip hop stands for.
Masta Ace is on the move in the year 2012, making a presence felt within modern hip hop that is a beautiful reminder of where the art form came from and where it can still go within these foundations. We caught up with him via email and were given the chance to ask the man any five questions we wanted and below is the results of this exchange.
Sound Colour Vibration: Hello Masta Ace. We wanted to say thank you for your time and that your latest collab record with MF Doom is one of the greatest hip hop records we have heard all year. I love that the record is a concept album about your upbringing and how much your mother played a role in shaping who you are today. The album sticks to a very specific structure and is a fresh breath of the analog sound that created hip hop’s foundation. You have mentioned that the extensive record collection your mother owned was one of the first places you found what you loved in music, ultimately defining the creative artist you have become today. What were some of the first concept albums that really stuck with you and how important is it for you to release a concept record of this nature?
Masta Ace: I don’t know if it was necessarily a concept album but De La Soul’s 3 Feet High album introduced me to skits an’ interludes. They opened my mind to the possibilities of what you could do on an album. This album was important because it honors my mother. I wanted the listeners to be transformed back to the 1970′s and see me as a child growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
What type of response did you get from MF Doom when first approaching him about releasing this type of collaboration through a label and a proper pressing?
MA: Doom had heard about the project because I had been talking about it on Twitter for almost a year. He was very curious to see what I had put together. When he finally heard the album he was blown away and agreed to feature on one of the songs.
SCV: With an extensive insight into modern and older artists in the hip hop community, which individuals or groups have become your greatest sources of inspiration in the newer generations that create hip hop?
MA: I would say Kayne West is a source of inspiration of today’s artists and Nas has continued to inspire with his lyrical dexterity for many years now. There are many of course who keep me fueled.
SCV: What was the most challenging element to recording MA_DOOM: Son Of Yvonne?
MA: The most challenging element was waiting for Doom to do his verse. The album was done in September of 2011 and I didn’t hand it to Fat Beats until May of 2012. There were moments where I wanted to just hand it in without the verse but in the long run I am glad I waited.
SCV: Now that MA_DOOM: Son Of Yvonne is in the world, are you working on new material for release? What other projects or creative endeavors do you have in the works?
MA: I am re-releasing my Disposable Arts album this fall! It will be a special limited edition vinyl box set! Also, you can expect new music with DJ Premier and Marco Polo.
SCV: Thanks for your time again, we really appreciate it and wish you the best of luck this year with your latest record and with all your future projects. Cheers!