Artist: Ace Hood
Mixtape: Ace Won't Fold
411: Ace Hood says his name means he's a force to be reckoned with. "Every time you think of 'ace,' you think of 'one.' I always took myself as an army within itself.
"This whole mixtape, I gave them a series of different looks," he added about his new release, Ace Won't Fold. "I can swag it either way, not just giving them one perspective of me."
Ace is the lead artist from DJ Khaled's We the Best Records and has the stupidly hot "Cash Flow" song out with T-Pain and Rick Ross. He got along with Khaled by being a professional. The charismatic spinner had already heard of Ace's reputation through the underground circuit, but Hood met the DJ at a Miami radio station and brought him a package with a demo, picture and bio — none of that "Put me on, son!" crap.
"The music I provided him with and the bio was an extra boost," Hood said. "When he heard it, he was like, 'Yeah,' and hit my manager back.' He was like, 'I like his swag. I wanna hear him on a bigger record.' "
Khaled sent him "I'm So Hood" just to see how he would sound over that, and Ace served the track. A couple of weeks later, he was signed to Khaled's label. A couple of weeks after that, he was inked to Def Jam.
"When I seen him, I seen that star glow in him," Khaled said. "He made me stop. I heard the music, and I was like, 'He's gonna be one of the best.' When I vibed with him, he fits in with the family immediately. It feels good to bring the future to life."
Ace's Gutter LP comes out August 26.
"That's just a representation of me. The bottom," Ace explained of the album. "It represents [Florida's] Dade County, Broward County. We can be fly at moments in that Louis V, but we can kick it in the white tee. I felt that way right out the womb: gutter."
Rick Ross, T-Pain, Plies, DJ Nasty, Justice League and Flo Rida are all onboard. Ace's second single is the title track, which features Trick Daddy. DJ Khaled is dropping his next album, We Global Now, this summer as well. The first single, "Out Here Grinding, " features Ace, Lil Boosie, Lil Wayne, Akon, Rick Ross, Plies and Trick Daddy.
Joints To Check For
» "Collection Plate." "That's a big cut," Hood said. "It's relevant. It kind of throws them off. If you have a pile of money, that's your collection plate. It's an offering song. It's relevant to what's going on. Like 'Cash Flow,' we're coming to see you. This is our collection plate: Put your offerings in."
» "400 Degrees." "It was just a ride-out record," Ace said. "It was just how I was feeling. I was feeling fly at that moment. We was just swaggin'. I felt so proper in the booth that day. 'First off, it's a rich n---a that you lookin' at/ Ace Hood making movies like Cinemax.' I went in the booth, no pad, no pen. Let me get 'em."
» "We Here." "That's the introduction to you nonbelievers," Ace said. "Just in case they didn't know who I was, that 'Dunn Dunn' beat goes hard. It's the type of record that everything you say is heard clear because it's not too much going on with the beat. The beat is big. Shouts out to Shawty Lo. He's doing his thing.
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» CNN (featuring the Clipse, Tha Dogg Pound, Maino and Uncle Murda) - "My Hood" remix
» Dame Grease - "9's Out"
» Maino - "Getaway Driver"
» N.E.R.D. - "Spazz"
» Ne-Yo - "Nobody"
» Uncle Murda - "Anybody Can Get It"
At least Ne-Yo isn't trying to gas us up. Unlike a lot of other celebs who have hyped up huge collaboration LPs and not delivered (a Lil Wayne/ T-Pain LP is a big rumor floating around), he's talking realistically about the Best of Both Worlds-type LP that he and his good friend Fabolous have been thinking about.
"We've been talking about doing some stuff," Ne-Yo explained. "For whatever reason, me and Fab, our energies together make a lot of sense. Our voices sound good together, and it works out. So who knows? Jay and R. tried it. For whatever reason, it didn't exactly go the way it was supposed to go. Maybe we will try it. We have been definitely talking about it, but nothing is set in stone. So don't hold your breath waiting on that album, but don't assume it's just not gonna happen. It's possible."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» DJ P Exclusivez and Young Buck - My Interview
» DJ Diggz and DJ Rated R - The Most Infamous
» DJ Spinatik and Lil Wayne - Got What U Need Pt. 2
» P Cutta - Street Wars 21
» Superstar Jay - My Award Speech
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Well, now that the elephant in the room has been addressed, everyone can move to the next phase. No, this has nothing to do with Fat Joe and his feud with the G-Unit — we're talking about the long-brewing back-and-forth between T.I. and Shawty Lo.
T.I. recently told MTV News that he was calling out Lo on "No Matter What." Then, when Tip had a phone interview with an Atlanta radio station recently, he compared the D4L founder to a canine. "It's like a dog barking and howling at the moon," T.I. told radio station 92Q Jamz. "That dog don't even know why he's barking and howling at the moon. The moon don't care. The moon is so far away. The dog can't touch the moon. The dog can't shut the moon off. He just sits there. Eventually, the dog will get tired of barking, and he, too, has to admire the moon as it shines. Just let the moon shine, dog."
"He ain't no moon," Lo responded. "I feel like he ain't no Jay-Z or nobody like that. He's the clouds, but I ride through clouds every day. He gotta meet me eye to eye. I can't beat him at arguing. He's like a girl. A girl will win an argument every time.
"His name ain't Tip, it's 'T. Lie,' " Lo continued via cell from Atlanta. "Yeah, T. Lie. That's his name."
While Lo rapped on "Dunn Dunn" that Tip should acknowledge him, he didn't mean like this. "We ain't finnin' to hint no more. We ain't gotta hint no more," Shawty said about the subliminal bantering between the two.
Lo said it all started around the time Tip dropped his "King" song. Lo had another song with "king" in the title and even tried to collaborate with T.I. He says Tip turned him down and made reference to it on "Big Sh-- Poppin' " with the line: "I said it on 'King,' and them lames started laughin'/ And same suckers now want the King on a track with 'em."
Still, Lo insisted that he wasn't really sweating it too tough. He said he even enjoyed T.I. as a rapper. "He did put Bankhead [the rappers' shared Atlanta neighborhood] on the map. I can't take that away from him," Shawty added. "But he ain't from Bankhead. It wasn't no problem. He was screaming our 'hood. I liked him. ... We ain't have no rapper repping for our 'hood. You had Jermaine [Dupri] and Ludacris from the south side, and then you had people repping for the east side, but nobody for us. He had a pass."
Lo said he's calling T.I. out now because of his lines on "No Matter What." "He disrespected me on a song," Lo said. "Pass over with. Time to tell the truth. He ain't no real street n---a. We been letting him get away with it for a long time. Tell him to come to Bankhead like he went to [Houston neighborhood] Cloverland with [Lil] Flip."
For the record, Tip has brought the MTV News cameras down to Bankhead before, and people did acknowledge him as being from around there.
Lo just released a "Foolish" remix, which features DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Jim Jones and Baby and he raps, "Cross your T's and dot your I's/ I'm the real Bankhead man, that no lie/ ... I said it before, I'm a real D-boy/ You can't be me, folk."
"I ain't gotta respond," Lo said about his records that go after Tip. "I ain't trying to get in no battle rap with T. Lie. That's what he do; he's a rapper. I'm a street n---a. I'm a trapper. I really lived it. I got 28 arrests, four convictions. My name is Carlo Walker — look it up."
Meanwhile, Tip's street and artistic credibility look to remain intact. Fans and DJs are clamoring to get some of his music. This weekend, a couple of his tracks leaked, including, "Life of the Party," featuring R. Kelly. The song — sans the Pied Piper — was originally recorded during the making of T.I. vs T.I.P.
While Rocko's claim that he's "the best thing since electricity" is still up for debate, the Atlanta thoroughbred is staying committed to his grassroots game plan of gaining plans. He's hitting several markets in promotion of his debut album, Self-Made, performing twice a day sometimes.
His "Tomorrow" video was recently released and "Umma Do Me" is getting regular spins, as if it weren't almost a year old ("Dis Morning" is working out well for him on Southern radio as well). And while he's letting fans marinate on his current album, Rocko has begun working on a second LP. He tells us he's dropping another mixtape in June called Swag School.
"My next mixtape comes out on June 14. I got a release date. I got a whole campaign around it," Rocko said. "Like how my single started off in Atlanta, I'm using that same formula. I got this mixtape called Swag School. I start it off, first song I take them to school. Anytime somebody mentions the South and swag, my name comes up in the same sentence. I said I'mma capitalize off that. ... My new mixtape, it'll have a few exclusives from my upcoming project, and I'm dropping more records for the ladies. ... I'm really a ladies' man, and at the same time, I represent the streets and the struggle, 'cause I'm a new artist. But I can't shake these ladies, and I know that."
Rocko said the ladies outnumber the men 10-to-1 at his shows. ...
Will "Thanksgiving" drop somewhere around Turkey Day? Mr. Thanksgiving, DJ Drama, is in the midst of putting together a follow-up to his official Gangsta Grillz album that was released last year. Barack O'Drama has the end of 2008 as his tentative due date for the next one. Prior to that, though, his Aphilliate Music Group will be releasing solo album by brothers La the Darkman and Willie the Kid.
"When you look at the success of my album and the numbers I did compared to the mainstream exposure I may have had, I did good," Drama told us in Atlanta. "My album, from beginning to end, is quality hip-hop music. I'm very excited about it. It's only right that I'mma go back in. I already started working on the new one. I'mma put an album out, try to get it done before the end of the year. You're gonna see everybody on there, of course. The Aphilliate movement is crazy. We just put the La the Darkman mixtape out, The Notorious L.A.D. La and Will, the two of them as a duo is crazy. You don't see that a lot in hip-hop."
Let the games begin again. The MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust recently sat down and devised a new list of the top 10 "Hottest MCs in the Game." To see how the 2008 roundtable panned out, tune in to MTV on Friday at 10 p.m. ET, then go to MTVNews.com directly after the special to see an in-depth analysis of the elite class of MCs who made the cut. You can also head over to Newsroom.MTV.com to cast your own vote. Those results won't have any bearing on the roundtable but will be included in the coverage.