Masta Ace & A Band Rock The House In A Personal & Emotional Tiny Desk Concert (Video)

NPR’s Tiny Desk is not only an intimate performance space, but the video segment has also become an apparent stamp of approval from National Public Radio that identifies an artist as high caliber and culturally significant. Following his Juice Crew band-mate Big Daddy Kane’s February performance, Masta Ace hits the Washington, D.C. stop with a dynamic display of rhymes from the last 25 years.

On this edition of Tiny Desk, Ace is accompanied by the Lee Hogans & Pursuance band. The group masterfully recreate three of the Brownsville, Brooklyn MC’s fan-favorites, throwing in solos and embellishments in all the right places. The lyricist born Duval Clear gives a confident performance, but his raps prove he is willing to be vulnerable on the mic.

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He starts with “Son Of Yvonne,” the title track off his 2012 collabo album with MF DOOM, MA_DOOM: Son of Yvonne. The song is a touching tribute to his late mother, full of things he didn’t get to tell her before she passed. He follows this with his most commercially successful cut of all time, “Born To Roll.” The song is actually a remix of “Jeep Ass Ni*uh,” a single off his SlaughtaHouse album. This remix marked an artistic transition in sound for the MC that he would build upon with his critically-acclaimed Sittin’ On Chrome album. Ace performs two verses from the original as well.

The esteemed Hip-Hop veteran closes out with “Story Of Me,” a highlight from his 2016 project, The Falling Season. Mid-song Ace starts to choke up as he passionately recounts his life in rhyme, including almost being signed to Def Jam and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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Masta Ace may be perceived as an underdog, but given his consistency and creativity, he is a fixture at the top of the Rap pack.