Masta Ace Releases A Song Filled With Positivity
In 2018, Masta Ace and Marco Polo released their first album as a unit. A Breukelen Story was a concept album—something the Brooklyn, New York MC has done for much his 35-year career. That LP was named by Ambrosia For Heads among the best of ’18, and it featured Smif-n-Wessun, Pharoahe Monch, Styles P, Marlon Craft, Lil Fame, Elzhi, and others.
Over the last five years, Masta Ace had held to feature work and loosies. Marco Polo produced for others, including reuniting with Torae for 2023’s Midnight Run album. However, in the closing weeks of the year, M-A and M-P release a new video single, and word that another collabo’ album is coming soon.
For those drowning in the negative of life and art right now, Masta Ace and Marco deliberately made “Life Music” as an antidote. The last album had “The Fight Song,” a brilliant Pharoahe Monch-assisted song that touched on Masta Ace’s daily battle with Multiple Sclerosis—a diagnosis he revealed to fans around that time. Currently atop AFH‘s playlist, “Life Music” embraces the battles we all face, but highlights how attitude equates to latitude. “This is a magnificent / Testament to different s__t / Death in the air, raise your hands if you’re sick of it / Poisoning the Kool-Aid, everybody’s sippin’ it / Life’s what I hit you with / Now you’re in the mix with it,” begins Ace, whole explicitly says he wants to shift the paradigm. “Health equals wealth, and we tryin’ to get you fit with it / I want you to live long, I want you to picture it.”
Notably, Arrested Development’s Speech adds melody to the chorus, alongside E. Smitty. Ace’s longtime affiliate and The eMC band-mate Stricklin raps about a near-death experience that happened while touring. The two MCs exude joy at a time when there is so much negativity. That message transfers to a new music video too:
“I wrote ‘Life Music’ while riding on a local bus to town in Barbados,” Masta Ace said in a press statement. “Listening to that beat and looking at the masked faces of the working class passengers sitting around me combined with seeing the many impoverished residents in the neighborhoods the bus rolled through, I was inspired to write a song that celebrated life. There are so many songs on the charts that glorify and celebrate death, I felt it was important to rail against those themes which we have somewhat normalized in our culture. I’m challenging the listener to embrace life and reject the negative messages we are constantly being fed in music.”
“Life Music” is the first single from Richmond Hill, an album named after Marco Polo’s Ontario homeland—just outside Toronto. This album flips from Ace’s place of origin to his longtime collaborator’s. Guests on the January 26, 2024 Fat Beats Records LP include Inspectah Deck, Blu, Coast Contra, Wordsworth, and Che Noir. The MC/producer are currently amid a European tour.
Earlier this year, Speech and Arrested Development released a compilation mixtape, On The Cutting Room Floor. In addition to “Life Music,” the AFH playlist features selections from Marco’s new project with Torae, as well as new music by Statik Selektah, M.O.P., and Cormega, along with recent tracks by Little Brother, and Joell Ortiz & Apollo Brown.
Press photo courtesy of Audible Treats.
#BonusBeat: AFH‘s 2018 interview with Masta Ace and Marco Polo, filmed in Brooklyn: