Masta Ace stays on The Grind

Masta Ace’s last project was together with Edo G, the album called A&E. Together with Edo G he was booked to perform at the Boogiedown Breda Festival in The Netherlands. Due to last minute circumstances Edo G couldn’t make it so Masta Ace ended up doing a solo show.


You’ve been at this festival before, together with EMC.
Yes that’s right.

How is it to do a solo show?
It’s hard, it’s a lot of work. You have to make sure you have your breath for every line pretty much. I’m so used to at least having one other MC backing me up. I kinda have to adjust my energy so that my voice and my breath stay on point. I usually jump around a lot more, but I didn’t really do that because I knew I had to be on stage for an hour and do all those records.

You did a good job, the crowd was going crazy.
Thanks, the goal was to try to represent even though I didn’t have the show that I was trying to bring here. The goal was to still give people their entertainment, that’s what I was trying to do.

We knew you were supposed to do this together with Edo G so for you doing this by yourself, mad respect for that.
I wouldn’t feel right sitting at home, knowing that people were expecting us to be on stage and people would go home like “ Damn I didn’t get to see everything that I came to see”. I knew that I was coming. I had the determination to get here and I got here.

What is Masta Ace up to? What are you doing right now?
With EMC, the group, we are figuring out what’s coming next. Picking out beats and trying to see what the album is gonna sound like. I am also now just beginning the process of shooting the DVD, the documentary about my life, my career, which is in the early stages. There’s a lot coming up.

I’m definitely looking forward to that.
It’s going to be a package with new music as well. It’s going to be a double CD/DVD set so it’s going to be cool. I want the CD to kind of score the DVD so the music from the DVD is gonna be the album,

What are you doing different musically now, than what you’ve been doing before?
I don’t know if I’m doing anything different. I’m keeping my mind open to new projects. The Edo G collaboration project was one special project that I did. Now I have my eyes set on another special project which is the DVD project. And I’m opening my sights up to other possibilities, other collaborations projects. I’m gonna be in Australia in a couple of days with DJ Premier. I’m gonna try and corner him, get him down at the dinner table and see if we can talk about some things.

That would be dope a collaboration between you and Premier.
Yeah it’s been a long time coming. Me and him have been friends since the very first Gang Starr album. That’s how long we’ve known eachother. I was rollin’ with him when he was playing the demo’s or the rough mixes of the first album and trying to figure out what they wanted to do with the first album. So I was there as a friend from the very beginning. We just never worked together like that, we just kept it was friends. But now I wanna see if we can do some work.

How do you combine all the projects you got going with family life and every day life?
You just find time. There is time for everything if you make time for it. I don’t overwhelm myself. I keep a certain amount of things in front of me that I wanna do and I don’t try to do too much at the same time.

What is your outlook on Hip Hop nowadays?
I’m optimistic about it. I would say I’m more optimistic about it than I was 5 or 6 years ago. I feel like good music is starting to make its way back to the forefront. The fact that the major labels are now struggling is actually a blessing for underground artists like myself. The internet is opening up avenues for us to promote and get our music out there and you don’t have to rely on major backing. Really, the game has been changed so much in the last 10 years. There’s no more record stores in the States pretty much, only a few places to get music. Its really about the digital age and that to me benefits the artists that don’t have a lot of money behind them.

Do you feel that you’re taking advantage of that as well in comparison to when you first started out?
Definitely. When I first started out I was a typical artist. I wanted a record deal, I wanted to get signed to a major label, get a big check, let them do all the work. But now the formula is different. Now I wanna do all the work, I wanna do the legwork, get the record promoted. Figure out how I wanna market and promote it. Put it out myself and then go on tour and reap the benefits of the sales.

Doesnt that get in the way of your creativity? A lot of artists just wanna be creative and have other people take care of the business side.
Nah it doesnt. When i was signed to a major, that’s when my creativity was really compromised, because the majors want you to do certain type of records. They want you to collaborate with this artist and that artist. They want music that’s gonna sell a million copiess or else they’re not gonna make their money. So I have more influence on how my music sounds now than when I was signed to a major. Now I can do exactly what I want and make it sound like I want it to sound and I can put it out.

So this time, is the best time for you to do what you wanna do.
Yes. For where I am in my career, it’s the perfect time for me. It’s not gonna work for an artist who was platinum and was signed to a major and got so comfortable with that way of doing things. Those artists are going to have difficulties adjusting to what I’m doing now. Alot of them don’t wanna grind the way I grind. They are used to being taken care of and everything being laid out for them. I’ve become used to the grind and I know what the grind is and I just go ahead and do it.

I’m hearing your song “The Grind” in my head now. Is there anything you wanna say to people, a life motto or anything?
I don’t have a motto but I love coming to Holland. I would love to come back. I hope the next time I come here, I can have a couple of days just to chill and walk around and enjoy the people, the city and the life here cause I like it here.

When you drop the album/DVD, you should definitely come back here.
When I do that, when that comes out, I wanna do a tour where I kind of premiere the DVD and show it. That kinda thing. It’s a year and change away. It’s gonna take a year to shoot and we really just starting to shoot so don’t look out for that for a minute. That EMC will be out before that comes out. I’m gonna do my best to make it all happen. Stay with me.