Ace Hood has been steadily putting out mixtape after mixtape since hitting the scene in 2007. For the Florida rapper, his tireless work ethic shows in the number of street hits such as “The Realist Living” and “B.L.A.B. (Ballin’ Like A Bitch).” More recently, Ace has reap the benefits of his most successful single of his career, the inescapable “Bugatti,” which is certified Gold and well on its way to Platinum status.
At the plush Gansevoort Park Hotel in New York City yesterday (June 18), the We The Best MC held a private listening for his fourth studio album, Trials & Tribulations, due out July 16. Taking the microphone and explaining in detail about putting his heart and passion into this album, he queued up nine tracks to preview for the gathering of friends (DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Vado) and industry insiders. Trials ran the gamut of emotions, from hood tales to personal records such as “Mama,” which features R&B/soul singer Betty Wright. There are also songs speaking on recent life events that translate into motivational anthems. Take, for instance, “For The Rollie” (featuring Meek Mill), which finds Ace reflecting on difficult times before he copped a nice watch.
Since Future dominated the radio with his hook on “Bugatti,” Ace rounded up R&B staples Chris Brown and Anthony Hamilton in hopes of smashing the airwaves once again. They appear on street-oriented tracks “Rider” (on which Brown sings a hook loosely based off Tupac’s “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”) and “The Come Up.” Ace ended the listening with “My Bible,” where this particular line stood out: “Lord knows it’s a cold world, but I ain’t apologetic.”
Though the crowd was receptive to his new songs, the biggest reactions came when he played both of his singles, “Bugatti” and the Lil Wayne-assisted “We Outchea.” It’s a sign that Ace has evolved into fully-fledged artist after years of hard work. As Ace was wrapping things up, XXL caught up with his closest collaborators to get their first reactions of Trials & Tribulations, and also heard from the man of the hour himself.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep) & Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)