Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Masta Ace Wax

With "Nostalgia" by Marco Polo and that killer song on Top Shelf 8/8/88, Masta Ace is exciting again. I mean a lot of MCs who were great at one time keep putting out records or guest appearances that are OK. But they're nothing like their heydays, and you can't help thinking somebody needs to give these guys a serious shot in the arm or put them out of their misery, because this endless succession of half-ass material where they're just cashing in on the last few remnants of their name are depressing. Well, either somebody gave Ace that shot in the arm, or being a master of constantly re-inventing himself and staying well ahead of the curve, he never needed it. Whichever way, Ace has still got it, and this is his new 12" single.

"Let It Be" comes to us from producer Ras Beats, a Danish producer who lives in Queens. He's put out several other releases like this one - that is, on his own label, Worldwyde; but this is his first release with big name MCs.

And while Ace has clearly taken the time to craft lyrics more substantial than just the quick throwaway guest spot freestyle - this is a proper song with a concept that matches the chorus - one of the biggest reasons Ace stays exciting this time around is that he's got production worthy of him. I'd love to know what's being sampled hear, ha ha. It's got a deep, slow, bassy feel crisp drums and a sung/ sampled hook. I love the decision to reverse the vocals on the last go 'round of each hook.

And this 12" would be impressive enough if it was left as just that; but it's also got a dope B-side, by Ras and Sadat X. It's called "Survive" and it's pretty interesting, because at first it sounds like just a lot of thoughtful but typical, non sequitur stream of consciousness-type rhymes. But it all ties back to the theme/hook - "how you can survive this year?" - of it getting harder and harder to stay in the game.

Both songs come in Vocal, Clean Vocal and Instrumental versions. And both sides also have a Bonus Beat. These aren't your typical Bonus Beats entry on a 12"; they're actually completely different breakbeats Ras also produced. I actually thought the Bonus Beat on side B might've been a more suitable beat for Sadat to spit over than the one they use for the song; but it's all solid production all around.

This is limited to 300 hand-numbered copies... plus, apparently, a couple extra for promo purposes; because in my case, I won my copy in a contest (see, kids, it pays to pay attention to those things), and my copy is numbered "COMP." It comes in a sticker cover, pictured above, and if you were lucky/quick enough to score one of the first 25 copies, you got it signed by Ace and Beats.

"Let It Be" also comes with a colored promo sheet, a la DWG, with a few notes on each song from Ras. More impressively, it also features a download code and password, so everyone who purchases the vinyl gets a free digital copy. I really appreciate it when labels do this... it's not so important for CDs, but for vinyl it's really handy. Unfortunately, as of this writing, the link no longer seems to be working - I guess it was more a bonus for pre-orderers **UPDATE 10/26/11 - it's back! Worldwyde hit me up and said they re-activated the link, so if you get the vinyl now, you can still get the free download. :) ** Regardless, it's a first class release suitable for anyone who wants to get their grown man rap on. It's not available too widely, but you can still order it directly from his website, There's also a digital-only release for the kids.

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