I interviewed the homie Ace Hood for AllHipHop.com. Read it in full below, via AHH!
Florida-based music artist Ace Hood recently dropped Ruthless, his second album within a year’s time. The flagship artist on DJ Khaled‘s We The Best Music imprint and one of the highly-buzzed about talents in rap, he’s obviously doing something right.
AllHipHop caught up with Ace on the heels of his latest release, Ruthless, and got the word about how he feels about his first week numbers, his position on the 50 Cent vs. Rick Ross beef and what’s next for the 21-year-old rapper.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people don’t know too much about your past. All people see is suddenly this rapper is with Khaled, and he has 2 albums out in under a year. What’s the story behind Ace Hood?
Ace Hood: I’m a flat out grinder. One thing I try to tell people more than anything is my grind was no different than any other person’s grind. Of course to make it in this whole game, in this whole situation, you always need somebody to back you, you know what I mean? But honestly, I’ve truly just been grinding for some time. At first I was with a label, Dollaz N Deals Entertainment – that was my first label before I actually got put on. I basically was just in the streets grinding man, doing what I was doing. I was playing ball and ended up in the hospital due to an injury and up having to give up balling. After that, I just turned to the music full-time. It was always a part of my life, though. Music was a part of my stepfather’s life; music was a part of my original father’s life. At the end of the day, I was always incorporated with music, so I just started doing my thing. I built a buzz in my city first; I had dropped a single called “M.O.E.” and we dropped compilation albums for the streets with Dollaz N Deals. Then just by me going hard and being at the right place at the right time led me to meet with Khaled, you know what I’m saying?
AllHipHop.com: I’ve heard people sometimes say that they think you had it easy because you have a major DJ behind you, and so they feel you don’t have to try as hard as others. What do you say to that?
Ace Hood: I mean people gonna say what they gonna say. At the end of the day, every artist got to be backed by somebody. Whether it’s a major record label or whatever it may be, everybody has backing. And like I said, my grind was truly no different than anyone else’s. I still had to come from no backing, had to build my own buzz, I got my own self hot in my city. Because of my talent and a chance meeting, that linked me with Khaled and I got the extra push to be known outside of my city now; all over. It’s a blessing. I don’t take any of it for granted. But to say I don’t work as hard – never that!
AllHipHop.com: What made you put out a second album so quickly?
Ace Hood: Relevance, just staying relevant – you know what I’m saying? Out of sight, out of mind. If you not heard about and nobody doesn’t know about you, you got to pursue it all because people will forget your name. Me being a new artist, I got to stay in the peoples’ eye as much as possible, just because artists come and go. We just here for the longevity and we desperate to hit the stage, so at the end of the day, an album is always needed. Something fresh, something new – people are always open to get new music.
AllHipHop.com: You were one of ten up-and -coming rappers featured on XXL‘s Freshmen cover last year. If the cover is going to be done again this year, who do you feel should be on it?
Ace Hood: I would say Drake, Jeremih. I don’t really know who else jumping into it like that.
AllHipHop.com: Now every region has its time and they’re known for their unique sound. New York has that gritty feel, ATL with the crunk scene, Texas and chopped and screwed music. With Florida on the map now from artists like yourself, T-Pain, Rick Ross – what sound do you think, if any, is unique to Florida?
Ace Hood: We all got talent, obviously. But I think typically Florida has that more laid-back, chill vibe to the music, you feel me? With me, though, I don’t feel I fit in to the typical Florida sound. I feel like I’m more of a grittier rapper, more of a hardcore rapper, you know what I mean? That’s just what I feel my sound is, because when you hear me on records, I’m aggressive. I definitely feel like my sound is just that hardcore rap, you know? I’m very passionate with my music and very passionate with my lyrics and whatnot, so I feel like that’s what I am more than anything, you feel me? I am a little more gritty, more grimy than the typical laid-back Florida sound.
AllHipHop.com: What was your take on the beef between 50 Cent and Ross? Did you feel inclined to jump in at any point because of your relationship with Ross, and even Khaled who was brought into the situation as well?
Ace Hood: Not at all, just because I know at the end of the day that Ross could hold his own, you know what I mean? And my brother Khaled, he’s more positive than negative. I got my own situation going on and I got things I need to do as far as establish myself as an artist and working on albums and mixtapes and stuff like that, so at the end of the day, it’s too much money out here to be worrying about what another dude like him doing. I knew my brother Ross could make it do what it do. At the end of the day, I’m always ready to ride because that’s the movement. That’s family since the moment I jumped into this game; Ross, Khaled – they always been there for me. But I knew that was just between them, so at the end of the day, I was more worried about getting me than getting at him, you know what I mean?
AllHipHop.com: You and Maino went head to head dropping albums the same day. Did you feel any kind of North versus South vibes, or was it more just friendly competition?
Ace Hood: Nah never man. Maino, that’s my homie. Shout out to Maino. He’s a hard worker, he’s a hustler and I respect his grind, man. I hit him up a few days ago to congratulate him on his whole situation, regardless of what it is or what it was. At the end of the day, I support him. We both grind. It’s only the beginning, safe to say, so we gonna keep getting it. Of course when you in the music industry, there’s always a little slight competition, but as far as beef – it ain’t none of that. It’s definitely all love, you feel me?
AllHipHop.com: The first week numbers have obviously rolled in. How do you feel about yours? [Editor’s note: Ace pushed about 19,700, first week sales according to Soundscan.] Do you think the media frenzy around Michael Jackson had any effect on it, or that maybe it was under-promoted?
Ace Hood: As far as Michael Jackson goes, I actually do feel it had a little something to do with it in a way, just because I was looking at like iTunes and ratings and stuff like that. But I’m humble, I’m thankful for the numbers I did. It’s hard out there selling records, so just to have a second album out is a blessing. Most artists don’t get there in five years, let alone in under one. It was rated well so, I ain’t mad. Just gonna keep grinding.
AllHipHop.com: So to the people who haven’t picked up Ruthless yet, why should they? What’s on there that the people would want?
Ace Hood: Ruthless is a classic album, man. It’s my second album, it’s Ace Hood. At the end of the day, Ace Hood is the future of this music right now, you understand me? The single is buzzing; I know my whole situation with the sales and everything. But the whole album is just a good album. I’m young, so there’s still a lot of opportunity for growth. But I’m giving the people good music. The difference between this and the first album is that my first album was the introduction of me – it was Gutta. I was fresh and I was ready to go hard, being happy about having a deal and it showed. Actually, on a lot of records I did on the album it showed; that’s why I went as hard as I did. But now with this new album, it’s more about Ace Hood, more personal. I did a lot of things on my own this album. I just wanted to make it more about my grind and if I could describe my grind in one word, I would say ruthless. I came from nothing to something.
AllHipHop.com: Are there any moves you’ve made in your music career thus far that you would want to change or wish you could have done differently with the knowledge you have now, two albums in?
Ace Hood: Nah man, just because I don’t want to live with any regrets. Everything happens for a reason, you know what I mean? At the end of the day, you live and you learn. I don’t regret anything I’ve done and if I could do it all over again, most likely I would do it the same exact way. Some things you need to go through in your life to learn from.
AllHipHop.com: So what’s next from here?
Ace Hood: Right now we’re solidifying the dates for touring. I’m all over the world right now; I’m doing a bunch of shows. I’m booked solid for a minute, which is real cool. I got the Street Certified mixtape. I got like 5 or 6 volumes of that coming into the streets. I’m working on my own clothing line, getting that situated. I got a lot of endorsements we’re working on as well. I’m just building a brand that’s bigger than Ace Hood you know? I’m just out here grinding.