Not Much Action
Nowadays music comes out at such a quick rate, rappers become irrelevant once their singles stop dominating the airwaves or their tours end. This does not play favorably for older rappers, their huge discographies may be available for streaming, but there’s little incentive for new listeners to dig in. Aceyalone falls into this category. He has been in the hip-hop game since the early 90’s, first as a member of the Freestyle Fellowship and then later as a solo artist, but has remained strictly underground all this time.
Aceyalone’s first few solo releases were critical hits, combining jazzy productions with intelligent wordplay. Unfortunately, his latest work, Action, is a shell of his former talents. Like many legacy rappers, time has not been kind to Aceyalone. It’s not for lack of trying though. Action is actually a collaboration with producer Bionik to create a dancehall and hip-hop fusion album.
While the duo may aspire to create a fresh sound with their collaboration, the result is much more lackluster. Bionik’s production varies from dull to distracting. This pairs poorly with the aging Aceyalone, his raps lacking the punch or cleverness that he once displayed.
There are traces of Aceyalone’s former glory that sporadically appears. Some have credited Freestyle Fellowship for pioneering the double-time rapping that Busta Rhymes and Twista, among many others, are known for. Aceyalone demonstrates some validity to that claim, delivering rapid-fire verses on “Handlin My Bidniss” and “Almost There.”
Props also have to go to Aceyalone’s constant critique of the violence and commercialization of hip-hop. This stance has heavily influenced his music and is an important stance in the face of many rappers that are unwilling to acknowledge the weight behind their words. However, this can only take a performer so far. Eleven albums in and it seems like Aceyalone may be overstaying his welcome. Action is a humdrum dancehall rap album that lacks the style to be distinct nor the content that made Cali native popular in the first place.