Ace Hood has been grinding for over a decade. The 28 year old Florida native started rapping in the 11th grade after injuring himself playing football – he started releasing mixtapes in the street at the age of 17, and recorded a song called “M.O.E.” that created a huge buzz in South Florida. This gave him the opportunity book several shows, gaining even more exposure.
In 2007, Ace Hood met DJ Khaled outside of WECR 99 Jamz and gave him his demo tape – Khaled was impressed with Ace Hood’s image and set up a meeting. Ace then went on to be featured on “I’m so Hood”, and DJ Khaled signed him to his We The Best Label which is distributed by Def Jam Records. In 2009, the Florida native was named as one of the 10 XXL Freshmen alongside Wale, Kid Cudi, and Curren$y.
Today, though he has had some impact on the game, it feels like Ace Hood hasn’t really blown up and reached his maximum potential.
Some might argue that he did pretty well for himself, which isn’t false. But with such a big team, including DJ Khaled and Rick Ross, many others would have thought that he would’ve seriously blown up.
In 2013, speaking to MTV News, DJ Khaled said: “Ace Hood is gonna be the best in the game. He got a following, he got fans, he’s making hits, and he got a classic under his belt.” However, he hasn’t been involved in a hit single since the huge “Bugatti” in 2013, the same year that he released his last studio album.
Where did it go wrong for Ace Hood? Why hasn’t his buzz grown bigger? It’s interesting to try and find out a little more why that is.
The most fascinating and appealing aspect of Ace Hood’s rapping is definitely his flow. Many would argue that this flow has been stolen by many rappers – including some that have taken it and been more successful with it, like MMG rapper Meek Mill.
Meek Mill and Ace Hood came up around the same time, in 2007-2008, and anybody that has ever listened to them would say that their flows are incredibly similar. On top of that, their beat choice and lyrics are nearly indistinguishable from each other. The industry doesn’t really have the place for two massive stars with the same exact style.
Meek Mill wasn’t the only one to bite his flow. Other rappers also took his flow and ran with it. Listen to Big Sean’s flow on RWT, for example:
Definitely some major similarities there.
Even more established rappers have used his flow. Listen to Jim Jones on “Paper”:
That’s Ace Hood’s flow. Facts.
This blatant flow jacking started after Ace’s massive hit “Hustle Hard”, which peaked at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another issue with this is that other rappers can take his flow and make it sound even better. Take Lil Wayne on the “Hustle Hard” remix, for example:
Of course, this is down to personal opinion, but Lil Wayne definitely killed that flow and made it sound like his.
Skepta has taken a dig at other grime artists as he felt they were losing their roots, and that they were all stealing Ace Hood’s flow and rapping on American beats. In his song, which is actually titled “Ace Hood Flow”, he says: “I’ve been keeping my ear to the streets, the UK ran out of ideas, everybody doing covers of American beats, If it ain’t the Ace Hood “Hustle Hard” flow then it all sounds like Rick Ross to me.”
Speaking to DJ Kay Slay on Street Sweeper Radio, Ace Hood didn’t seem too concerned about this. In fact, he finds it flattering that his flow has been reused so many times by so many artists.
Unfortunately for both parties, there has been a rift between Ace Hood and We The Best CEO DJ Khaled. Speaking to The Breakfast Club in July 2016, DJ Khaled mentioned that Ace Hood was his brother, that he was still signed but was doing his own thing. However, Ace Hood had a different view on the whole situation. He tweeted the following:
It isn’t very clear what is going on between the two, but it doesn’t look good.
It was later confirmed that Ace Hood had left MMG, and would release his next album through Def Jam and his own label “Hood Nation”. Ace Hood reportedly felt like Khaled was solely focused on himself and therefore not promoting Ace Hood’s music well enough.
It feels like Ace Hood has never been able to create a long lasting image for himself. Take Wiz Khalifa, for example, who is far from the most technically gifted rapper ever. However, he has created a lane for himself by establishing himself as the “weed rapper” and has coined in on this.
When one thinks to himself: “Who is Ace Hood?” This is a difficult question to answer. This might be due to the fact that he is quite a generic rapper. Now don’t get me wrong – I fuck with Ace Hood. However, it seems like he lacks subject matter. He has a small pool of topics to talk about, like “taking your bitch” (an overdone/overused cliché in the rap game), being underrated, people stealing his flow, etc… He does sound good while doing it, but in this industry, it is very difficult to be a major star when you never switch your style up. Take Future, a major superstar today, and his newest album HNDRXX. Future, who has also been accused of always doing the same “trap” thing, has brought something new and original and it has been generally well received by critics and fans alike.
Ace Hood should consider doing something similar – the industry is very unforgiving, and without bringing something different, he risks to fade away completely, which would really be a shame.