Since the mid 80s, Juice Crew alumni and Brooklyn native Masta Ace has been a symbol of durability in the rap world and is still well respected amongst the current generation of MCs as he continues to put out music that doesn't conform to what is presently popular, but rather sets his own mark within Hip Hop. Brokencool.com had a chance to catch up with Masta Ace at S.O.B.'s in NYC to chop it up about the trends in today's music, the future of the game, as well as his current endeavors.
Masta Ace on Auto-Tune:
"It's just one of those trendy things that will disappear in probably the next year. It ain't gonna be here that long. It'll be here and gone."
Brokencool.com: How do you see the difference in the music now in the digital age as compared to the music made during the Golden Era and its level of popularity?
Masta Ace: It's a little bit different in terms of the sound of the music. Back in the analog days, I think that the beats were a little bit harder and warmer and hit you a little harder. The digital age, the sound of the music is a little bit thinner. There are still artists that work hard to make sure that the beats still sound heavy and got that weight to it. ProTools is great for what it can do, but you have to work extra hard to get the music to sound like it used to sound back in the day.
BC: How do you feel about the popularity of Auto-Tune now in Hip Hop?
MA: It's really more R&B to me. I know it's a couple of cats that's rhymin' with Auto-Tune. It's just one of those trendy things that will disappear in probably the next year. It ain't gonna be here that long. It'll be here and gone.
BC: How do you feel about the future of Hip Hop in general?
MA: I'm optimistic about it. There's still cats out there trying to do it on that pure level of hard beats, hard rhymes, and entertaining people with their live stage shows. That's what I'm about. That's what my crew is about, so we continue to try to bring that type of music to the forefront.
BC: What's going on with Masta Ace Inc., Paula Perry and the crew?
MA: Well, I've branched off since then. I haven't done music with that title since the late 90s. We have a label called M3. I have a group called EMC which is Wordsworth, my man Punchline, and my man Strickland from the Midwest. Along with that I'm still putting out solo projects. I'm putting out two records on M3. In addition to that, me and Ed O.G. are doing a duo album that's coming out later this year.
BC: What can we expect in the near future from Masta Ace?
MA: The only thing close to a solo project is going to be a documentary about my life and career from beginning to present day. Everything that I've went through in my career and packaged in that DVD is going to be a CD with new music.
BC: How do you feel about how the Hip Hop audience has received you now in comparison to your popularity during the days of "The Symphony"?
MA: I think that I'm still received pretty well. Thanks to my last two albums which opened me up to a whole new audience of people that didn't know who I was. When I put out the "Sports Bars" in 2001, it was a whole new collection of fans that had no clue who I was. They didn't know about the three albums before that and they've rocked with me from '01 to present day. I still get that same respect from the underground, still do a lot of shows in Canada and overseas. People come out to the shows and they pack the house and I keep doing joints.