Ace A CAped CrusAder – Lonely A – Album Review
Interesting stuff for sure. Putting on Lonely A for the first time, it’s clear that Ace A CAped CrusAder has definitely been through some hard times – this entire album dives extremely deep into savagely heavy personal thoughts, observations, feelings, and emotions. Sure he’s rappin’ for a large portion of this record…but ultimately, you’ll hear a lot more of an artistic approach to the game from Ace A CAped CrusAder than you’d typically find in the genre overall. Being this real is always bound to connect with listeners out there…and believe me, whether it’s from the heartbreaking insights on life/love, the gut-wrenching suicidal thoughts spit or spoken into the mic, the SOUND of the music & haunting mix of eerie beauty hanging in the air – there’s no doubt at all that this ain’t the happiest record you’re going to hear this year, but you WILL feel it. Lonely A clings to your bones and shackles itself to your mind.
Sincere or story-time – that’s always the question right? You won’t have any doubt here – Ace A CAped CrusAder is puttin’ the pain on wax for all to hear, speakin’ & spittin’ his truth. The sound of his tone of voice & delivery on the material of Lonely A should be more than enough to convince you properly, let that be said; but – if you do need further insight on all this, you can probably get that from his social-media. You’ve never seen walls so bare! But I’d be willing to bet it’s all left nearly blank for a purpose – as far as I can see, it all supports the entire vibe I get from this record as perfectly as anyone could ever put it. On Instagram, there isn’t even a post yet – but there IS a description, which reads: “Very sad and very aware.” That’s as good as I could ever write a quick summary of Ace A CAped CrusAder’s music from the lyrics to the vibe itself, but that’s coming straight from the man himself. Twitter reveals just a bit more even…a tiny bit, through a retweet – the only message you’ll find on his wall, which reads: “Art is worth dedicating your life to.” Y’all already know I could possibly agree more with that. That being said – that ONE retweet might provide more of a clue than anything else…something that’s supremely required if you’re going to listen to this record and not end up curled up in a ball in the corner yourself – and that’s hope. A statement like “Art is worth dedicating your life to” suggests that no matter how heartbreaking a lot of these personal tales can be…no matter how bad Ace A CAped CrusAder might feel like he fucked up in life & love…that deep down, he knows there’s a lot out there still worth living for.
People just don’t make records this direct – and it’s seriously refreshing just as much as it is brutally sad.
Right from the DROP this dude got me completely interested on “This Is Not A Song But A Helping Hand” with the trembling piano melody guiding the music along – that’s texture in action right there, to the point where you can reach right out and touch each note. Ace A CAped CrusAder starts to explain his thoughts and detail the struggle from the very beginning, providing much insight into the way he’s processing his emotions dealing with suicidal thoughts, drug use, mental health & more. You get that cathartic sense from the main man on the mic here…that the music he’s making here has become a lifeline for Ace A CAped CrusAder and it’s a genuine way for him to deal with everything he’s going through, which by the sounds of things right from track one here, has been quite a lot for anyone to handle on their own. He’s rappin’ his thoughts direct and keepin’ it real & unfiltered, right down to the pauses in his words…he’s not editing things out that many might have been tempted to in a search for some kind of bizarre studio smoothness. Doing something like that would have sucked all the life out of a track like “This Is Not A Song But A Helping Hand” and he’s clearly making smart decisions with how he’s chosen to communicate with us all on this record, which is to give it to you as real as can possibly be done. So be ready…things don’t get easier content-wise from here whatsoever, Ace A CAped CrusAder is willing to ‘go there’ and put himself on the line like most artists would never even be close to brave enough to doing a tenth of – he’s got himself a heartbreaking but exceptional record here.
LISTEN to these BEATS will you? “Loving You Numbs The Pain” is a damn masterpiece musically – and the man on the mic makes no mistakes either. He’s diving deep into the pain here, going openly into his drug use – but also explaining his side of the story in an honest effort to have us understand WHY he’s takin’em. If you’ve ever been there, believe me, you can’t help but feel some empathy for what he’s going through on “Loving You Numbs The Pain” – and even if you haven’t somehow experienced the heartbreak of love & loss, Ace A CAped CrusAder will give you a clear picture through the imagery in his words. Solidly rhythmic approach to the m-i-c when he’s rappin’ full-on, and he’s got a killer way of communicating even more directly through more spoken-word based moments in the mix as well, which give that added sincerity and lost-in-thought sound to the tone of his voice. It’s all highly effective, both literally and figuratively speaking…and ultimately, he’s not wrong in what he’s laying down here; it might be a harsh solution for some, but that’s what that them drugs will do, they’ll numb that pain for a while.
“I Spent The Night With The Devil I Wish I Could Take It Back” is a brilliant example of the versatility & art he’s creating from his darkest moments in life – and truly, if that ain’t redemption in some form, I mean…what else could be? He’s dealing with his demons right here in the wide-open for all of us to bear witness…ain’t no doubt that’s some courageous shit right there, that’s exactly what that is. Poetry in motion here on “I Spent The Night With The Devil I Wish I Could Take It Back” – this is where you get that artistic design that truly stands out. Movement, pace, space…all this plays a huge role in what pulls us in to listen here; the piano is minimal, so is the beat and slight additions to the music in the atmosphere…the way he relates the details in the imagery of his words are like flashing thoughts in his mind…like memories on the mic that he’s recalling in real-time. Short, but all-killer – for as chill as it may appear to be, “I Spent The Night With The Devil I Wish I Could Take It Back” won’t have to fight for attention as much as you’d think such a subtle approach might have to – it’s a highlight on the art-side.
That trembling piano I was digging so much comes back to reverberate its magic once again at the beginning of “I Miss U And Hope UR Ok” – for me, that’s always an enticing sound. Enticing in the sense that it’s a sound that really draws you in closely, and thanks to the way that Ace A CAped CrusAder combines such a clever mix of genuine spoken-word along with his rhymes, and spits his thoughts so clearly, with such authenticity in his tone – you get the opportunity to catch each and every word. “Life’s a bitch then you die – slowly.” Again, he ain’t wrong. Ace A CAped CrusAder dances around the main message he wants to lay down on this cut like it takes him a minute or two to get to the heart of what he really wants to say…and that payoff is certainly there. Around the ninety-second mark, you can hear that shift towards the heart of the matter as the music spreads out a bit more and allows for that space for the man to spit his truth, which he does, right up to and including the “I love you” that you’ll find at the end of this song. It’s an important part of the overall story revealed early on into this record that starts to paint the picture more clearly than any so far by the time “I Miss U And Hope UR Ok” is finished.
“Naval” has an awesome far-away sound in the music and a wicked hazy mix of swagger, rhythm & flow on the mic and Ace A CAped CrusAder basically takes this cut on his shoulders alone with minimal help. I think he’s honestly been great or better on all these tracks so far, but he’s found a seriously addictive way to move through the bars of this particular cut and considering that the music has such a spectacular muted-style of beauty and delicate sound, it was awesome to hear him come out so confidently, even if the lyrics suggest he might be feeling otherwise. Very Kanye-esque in the combination of minimalism in the music and killer movement on the mic – he might be faded here and drifting into the dark in his thoughts, but he’s sharp when it comes to his words and owning this moment. Absolutely loving the distance in the music on this cut…it all sounds & feels so wide-open and spread out while the lyrics are about as isolated & in-his-head as they get, like the internal monologue he refers to on the opening cut “This Is Not A Song But A Helping Hand.” Love the way the…hmmm…I’m honestly not sure exactly what the sound is…it’s like a synth version of accordion or violin, viola maybe…I don’t know exactly what’s making that happen, but it’s completely effective in raising the tension & drama in the sound of “Naval.” The entire vibe has a curious & mysterious sound to it that really came out strong…I was stoked to find Ace A CAped CrusAder let that ride on its own a bit to give the music a lil’ more props at the end of this tune and give it a minute in the spotlight.
But I mean C’MON right? Who out there is rappin’ over a track that sounds like “I’m Too Drunk To Be Thinking About You In This Fucking Club, LOL” – who does that? Not too freakin’ many, that much I can say – it takes serious cajones to take such a minimalistic, haunting, and theatrical sound like this on. The music is DEADLY, straight-up, full-stop…it’s like…man…how do you even describe this? It’s like a twisted lullaby, complete with haunting vocal samples floating through the air…ain’t gonna lie, it’s just as creepy as it is cool. Bottom line for me is that it stands-out for all the right reasons…the music is amazing, the amount of personality and charisma that Ace A CAped CrusAder spits into the mic again speaks towards his versatility and capabilities…this is a strong cut on Lonely A for sure. He makes a huge point inside of this cut though, which speaks to the difference between how you treat someone you’re with for the night as opposed to hookin’ up with long term…and through a slick sample worked in, communicates that he gets the importance of recognizing that difference now by what he’s chosen to include there. “I’m Too Drunk To Be Thinking About You In This Fucking Club, LOL” is completely killer from concept to execution, music to mix to microphone…a track that’ll take you right out of your world and put you right into Ace A CAped CrusAder’s to experience the twists & turns of where life & love have taken him.
Love the acoustic guitar melody that creates the short break in the clouds on “I Am Very Grateful For You” – after the heaviness in the air of “I’m Too Drunk To Be Thinking About You In This Fucking Club, LOL,” I honestly felt like I needed something a little lighter, if only in sound & not in subject. I don’t expect the sunshine and rainbows to just start shooting out of the songs on this record from this point – you feel me? Against the softer-side of the music, Ace A CAped CrusAder has the opportunity to really express his thoughts with added edge to his emotion breaking through…you can hear he’s genuinely feeling these words he’s spittin’ and he attaches a powerful cadence to make these moments just as real to us as they are to him. There are a few jagged spots with the metering & pace, but as I’ve already mentioned, I think this adds a ton of personality & sincerity to the way things come out sounding – that’s a huge factor in WHY these songs come out feeling so real like we’ve experienced them ourselves. He’s not compromising what he wants to say – and again, there’s tremendous value in that kind of direct approach…you seriously hang on to & listen closely to every word on this record.
“Brooklyn Circa 2012” takes a moment to break from the harsh realities of his present situation and bring a lil’ nostalgia to the record through a late-night crusin’ vibe. Note the ultimate conclusion that this song comes to…cause it’s important and gives you even more insight into Ace A CAped CrusAder. Not the shout-out to Brooklyn…that’s cool and I’m sure they appreciate it – I’m talking about before that, where he raps about taking away the pain of others and making it his own. That’s a seriously altruistic trait in a person…and you really don’t even think these kinds of thoughts without being a good person, that’s just facts. So it’s revealing in that sense – Ace A CAped CrusAder basically beats the living shit out of himself throughout the majority of this record and certainly takes ownership of his role in what’s inspired these tales of love & loss, heartbreak & pain – but for what it’s worth, it sounds like he has actually come to grips with understanding the man that he’s been and the man he’s supposed to be. “Brooklyn Circa 2012” has a crisp beat and solid vibe that’s accessible and will definitely get people noddin’ their heads in approval as they turn it up…and I dig that when everyone does that, not just on this track but on ANY of these tracks, they’ll find so much more substance underneath the surface.
“All I’m Asking For Is Forgiveness” gives you a ton of insight into what this whole record is really all about in my opinion…he’s giving you full access to the entire events that have inspired these songs. The question becomes in knowing what we can pretty much pinpoint now…is whether or not this album is written for one person specifically more than anyone else in the world, perhaps even himself. Much of Lonely A is based on what’s essentially an apology for what Ace A CAped CrusAder feels like he’s fucked up – he’s lost someone truly special to him. Handing over the reins to Idealism for the production on this cut, “All I’m Asking For Is Forgiveness” works a slow but jazzy vibe in the music while the man on the mic keeps the flow coming at ya quickly and objectively. He’s clearly had some time to examine how he’s feelin’ and what he wants to say…he’s got that perspective that you can’t get from being in the situation, only when you’re out of it. There are moments that do come out a lil’ bit more choppy in the flow of his words on “All I’m Asking For Is Forgiveness” – but in my opinion, once again, that’s a large part of what communicates the honest sincerity in what he has to say…and I think there’s incredible value in that to both him as an artist and us as listeners. I don’t want something completely smooth when emotions like these are so rocky & rough…the music and vocals should reflect that, and that’s where you can hear that Ace A CAped CrusAder is actually in full-control still in there somewhere, wherever he is…he’s heartbroken but functional enough to perfectly tie together the meaning of his words with the genuine emotion that comes along with’em by keeping it real & raw & nothing but.
“I Feel Like Everything Happening Between Us Is Pointless LOL” – this is a tough cut to absorb for sure. Dude’s got a serious gift for communicating the pain he’s in, and right down to the sigh you’ll hear on the mic at the end of this cut, you’ll feel that weight come crushin’ down on him again here. Brilliant beat, pace, and flow once again…the dude really manages to put such impressive authenticity into every one of these tunes, you feel the weight of this record pretty much like no other I can think of. A combination of his own history and where he’s come from to where he’s at right now today, the powerful distance that can exist in love, and how we so often come to the conclusion that no matter what move we make, what we feel, or what we say can make any difference whatsoever to the people we need to hear our words the most. The hollow sound and vibe on “I Feel Like Everything Happening Between Us Is Pointless LOL” is stocked full of despair and the weight of pain bearing down on him – right to the point where even Ace A CAped CrusAder has to admit that he “is not okay.” He’s not making excuses though – he hasn’t at any point on this record – he’s owning his past and his mistakes and seeking that way forward while still recognizing that it might now be completely impossible to find one.
There are probably many of you out there that’ll definitely relate to “Do You Think Of Me?” – that wondering that comes along with separation…trying to understand or reconcile with the situation and/or breakup, hoping that somewhere over there wherever that other half of your heart has gone, that it’s spending just as much time thinking about ya too. This song sounds like the musical equivalent of being so destroyed and heartbroken that you can even get yourself off the couch, and you’re just laying there nearly catatonic and drifting into the random thoughts that occur in the aftermath of love. This is definitely a highlight cut for me personally, I think Ace A CAped CrusAder has done an exceptional job here without question – he’s able to communicate just as powerfully through the vibe in the atmosphere as he is in the words he uses…it’s relentlessly sad for sure, but tremendously well-structured to create music you can truly feel. This entire experience has certainly humbled our album’s main star, there’s no doubt about that…but to me, it sounds like he’s also learned some real lessons. “Do You Think Of Me?” spells out more of the apology he’s been creating throughout this record in-full, while also being unafraid to look inward and understand the mechanics of what caused the breakdown.
“I Luv Pain” asks probably the most important question on the entire album – and that’s whether or not he truly still loves this girl he’s missing, or if he’s just sad without her. Because there certainly is a difference – and only time itself is going to provide the answer to that question. He knows that – and what I think I might have appreciated about this cut the most right from that moment forward was that, Ace A CAped CrusAder doesn’t front here – he’s honest in the response to that question and he’ll tell ya direct, it’s not really something he wants to examine too closely. Again, I think a lot of people out there will relate to that – I know I can. The man is extremely poetic when he wants to be…and while he’ll even tell you himself that emotions were often seen as a weakness to him within the lines on this record, this is what I’m talking about when I say that perspective and personal growth have certainly occurred within this artist. He’s baring his full thoughts and soul to the world with this record, straight-up – and the fact that he’s embraced such a beautiful way of expressing himself in so many ways from the music to the microphone on Lonely A certainly speaks to the fact that he’s acknowledging those emotions & feelings he used to push down before. “I Luv Pain” examines the breakdown of a relationship up close, and much like everything we’ve experienced so far on this album, is unafraid to look at the gritty details of what causes the events to occur by looking at his past and diving deep inwards to get to the real.
The acoustic guitar-led tracks really break through when you listen to this record – just like on “I Am Very Grateful For You,” you feel the vibe lighten-up just enough on “Tasnim’s Interlude” to let you breathe a little and catch up with the heavy thoughts & emotions that line the walls of this album. Make sure to listen CLOSELY to the vocal-samples that you’ll find in this cut too…because as I’ve often said, they can speak louder towards the ultimate theme or what an artist really wants to get across more than their own words at times…and that’s definitely in-play here on “Tasnim’s Interlude.” Hypnotic, mesmerizing…there’s a seriously fascinating vibe that runs fluidly through the music and creates a gentle backdrop for Ace A CAped CrusAder to work his own magic, pacing out his thoughts poetically and reflecting on more peaceful surroundings. Perfectly dreamy vibe to the sound of this cut and it matches the sentiment of the lyrics incredibly well… Ace A CAped CrusAder’s bars are awesome and the use of samples to spell out the rest for us was a smart twist in the end of this song that brought it all home.
“For You I’d Bleed Myself Dry” in my opinion…I mean…I LOVE this. The delivery is breathtaking, straight-up…it’s so rare that an emcee can break away from the metering and wander into his thoughts so successfully and keep us locked onto every single second like this. There’s so much honesty on this final cut it’s mind-blowing…so much real heart & sincerity…it’s devastating in multiple ways from the lyrics to the meanings to the music itself, but damn is this a beautiful song. Don’t get me wrong – he’s been real from moment one on this album…but in terms of really expressing where he’s at right now, “For You I’d Bleed Myself Dry” is just that 10% realer than the rest. Could be the incredible music that comes along with the emotional piano vibe, could be the way he goes from rappin’ bars to the way he drifts into his thoughts, could be the powerful meaning behind every word he’s written brought to life through his performance – this whole combination hits the mark like Robin Hood splittin’ the arrow yo. There’s literally no possible way that Ace A CAped CrusAder could have ended this album any more conclusively, powerfully, hopefully, and insightfully than he has here – you won’t be able to take your ears off of this final cut…and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t potentially bring a tear or two to all of your eyes out there. It’s sad, it’s sincere, it’s real, it’s raw…it’s the ultimate acknowledgement of the mistakes he’s made and the blueprint for the way he wants to live his life today…and perhaps most importantly, hints at that possibility for him to continue to EXIST at all. It’s the harshest form of acceptance in the most sweet & serene sounds you’ll hear on the record – “For You I’d Bleed Myself Dry” is an absolute masterpiece and contains the most important messages he’s looking to send on this entire album. For the honest effort and sincerity he’s put forth in this apologetic record, I can only hope that these messages he’s sending out are heard by the two ears that need to hear them the most. For better or for worse, he’s put himself on the line with Lonely A, I believe every word he’s spit on this record is the straight-up truth.
Follow Ace A CAped CrusAder at his official Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/aceacapedcrusader
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