NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series keeps delivering great artists to their tiny fice. In their ongoing efforts to celebrate legacy artists, former Juice Crew member and lyricist Masta Ace was picked to rock the mic this week.
Back by a live band, the 51-year-old emcee delivers his mini-autobiography with performance. Beginning with his ode to his late mother “Son Yvonne,” Ace details his life growing up in Brooklyn enjoying Christmas with his mom and grandmother (aka Nana). “Life in the hood, Brooklyn / Good lookin’,” he raps, adding, “Son Yvonne from Brownsville born and bred / And like that quilt that Nana got on the bed / I’m a bunch things sewn together / To make one man that will be known forever.”
Ace then segued to his next song, the Slaughterhouse classic “Born to Roll" back with "Jeep Ass N----,” to remind his audience that at one time he had a hit song on heavy rotation on the radio.
Finally, Ace ended his set with a fantastic rendition his introspective song "Story Me." Through three verses, the veteran rhyme-slinger recalls his ups and downs in the rap spotlight.
"I almost had the '90s by the throat / I was just that close to getting money by the boat...load / Instead hoping what I wrote flowed / I could have said: "Whoop, there it is" / But it would have felt so wrong to do that song / Try to prove I belong in a crew that strong," he raps.
Overall, Masta Ace delivers a great performance...even without a symphony. Ironically, fellow Juice Crew member Big Daddy Kane rocked the mic for Tiny Desk and yes, he was a smooth operator. You can watch BDK's performance here.
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