Interview: Masta Ace
Published on August 10th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker was really rather taken with Masta Ace’s recent MF Doom collaboration album MA_Doom: Son of Yvonne, so we fired some questions over to Ace to find out a little bit more about the project, and indeed what he has in store for his next one…
Congratulations on an excellent new album. Was it always in your mind to theme it in the way you did, or did that happen more by accident?
Definitely was on purpose and not an accident. When I recorded the title track, that gave me the full idea of the album theme.
Who voices the 12-year-old you on the record, and who else features in the various skits?
The kid who plays me on the album is Juwan Slater, a friend of the family. It was his first time in a studio and he did a great job. My boy Pav Bundy of the group The Bundies, plays my uncle Marvin and also the security guard later in the album. Among the guys in front of the store are artists Wordsworth and Torae.
Did you scratch one of your mother’s records as a kid, and if so which record was it? Were you suitably punished?
I did damage a few records from trying to DJ but she had so many records she never knew. Occasionally she would notice one was missing but my uncle usually got blamed.
Are all the characters in “Me and My Gang” based on real people, and if so are they accurate portrayals? I’d worry for Bud’s health if they are!
They are absolutely based on real people. Some are bits and pieces of different friends mixed with a little imagination.
How many different beats did Doom give you to choose from? Did you talk about making new beats at any stage, or were you satisfied that what he already had in his locker would work?
We never spoke about beats. He had no idea I was doing this project until it was nearly done. He did send out a batch of unreleased joints but I didn’t choose any.
Have you started thinking yet about your next project, or is it way too early to ask?
I been thinking about my next project before this one was even done. It’s slated to be the soundtrack to the documentary about my life and career. It will be an extension of Son of Yvonne but the full story.
Are there any plans for you to be in the UK at any point in the near future?
I was there in May and look forward to going back. We did Leeds, Edinburgh, Derby, London and Manchester which was one of the best crowds on the tour!
What do you think about the current state of hip hop? Do you encounter much scepticism about the fact that your rhymes aren’t full of bling and gangsta stuff? What do you say to these people?
I think hip hop is headed towards a renaissance of sorts. I think there will be a shift in the balance of power very soon. My music has always been against the grain and a bit atypical compared to what was popular to the masses.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life with the back catalogues of just five different musical artists, whose would you choose?
Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, Dr Dre both Chronics.
Masta Ace, thank you.