Creating the best of both underworlds, underground rap legend Aceyalone connects with super, off-kilter producer RJD2 for the album Magnificent City. Ace, who first turned heads with his debut alongside the critically acclaimed Freestyle Fellowship, has been keeping himself busy with the cultural commonplace Project Blowed. He’s also continued sharpening his lyrical spear with solo albums All Balls Don’t Bounce, The Book of Human Language, and his first collaborations with RJ, Love and Hate.
Having connected, the two decided it was just a matter of time before they did a full length collabo and Magnificent City definitely delivers the goods. RJ’s mind bending production and need to experiment compliments Acey’s rhymes from top to bottom. Covering the myriad moods of any common metropolis, City has Acey riding inner-city blues-style basslines (“Junior”), rawkus horns (“All For You”), rock-influenced guitars and moving keys (“Heaven”), cinematic soundtracks (“A Beautiful Mine”), and all the while painting tales of the urban landscape with rocking-the-dope rhymes that he’s become known for.
Highlights include the aforementioned “Heaven,” where the hook goes: “Heaven ain’t got no stairs / Heaven ain’t got no ghetto / Heaven ain’t got nothing to do with you, cause you a devil…” The other picks arrive in“Here and Now,” the orchestral backed autobiography made notable for its poignancy and features RJD2 on vocals, and “Supahero,” where Acey addresses the idea of perfection.
If you are a fan of RJD2’s, then you would do well to cop this ambitious recording. If you are a fan of Aceyelone—or just like your rap without any hints of commercialism—then this is the record for you. The independent spirit is still alive and this recording is an embodiment of that idea while being quite enjoyable to listen to at the same time. D2 steps out of the box to keep things interesting and Acey steps up to the plate to deliver the goods, which makes for a shining Magnificent City.