(AllHipHop Features) Washington, DC is set to host the annual Broccoli City Festival this Saturday at the St. Elizabeth East Gateway Pavilion. Among the acts sharing their talents that day will be rapper-on-the-rise Ace Cosgrove.
The DMV representative will hit the stage in front of his home crowd with his band BobMoeKill. The musicians made up of mostly George Washington University students are set to assist Ace as he runs through songs from his well received projects Us Vs Robots, Egos, Potential & Halos, and Baby Need Food.
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Before he was putting rhymes together for his own work, Ace took on the task of trying to put his friends on. However, a tragedy five years ago led to the Gaithersburg, Maryland native to step behind the microphone.
“My homie ‘Gino’ Cosgrove passed in 2011. He was doing the whole rap thing, and I would try to manage him – you know, set him up with producers and studio time, sh-t like that,” Ace explains to AllHipHop.com. “When he passed, I started to live at my homie Shane’s house where he had a studio set up. I would just see a bunch of rappers come by, and I kind of just started rapping myself.”
While Washington’s Hip Hop scene has been building its reputation over the last several years, at the time Ace began rapping, the city was mostly getting national press for political battles and the controversy over the football team’s mascot. A young Cosgrove initially had to travel outside of The District to locations like New York and Philadelphia in order to gather fans for his growing brand.
DC is now demanding the attention of the Hip Hop industry. Ace is a member of a collective of local artists known as Hostile Youth, a unit helping to raise awareness about the talent surging in the nation’s capital.
“My homie Hassani Kwess had the whole Hostile Youth thing already going. I met him, Vaunfe, and Black Diamond through Uno Hype. We just started connecting and making music together,” Cosgrove states.
Besides DC, the DMV region is also composed of another major city in Baltimore, Maryland. Forty miles to the north of Washington is the site where Freddie Gray fell into a coma while in police custody and later died as a result of the questionable treatment by BPD officers. The 25-year-old’s death led to a youth driven uprising and the State’s Attorney charging six officers with various crimes.
Beatles legend John Lennon is quoted saying, “I think the music reflects the state that the society is in.” The current state of American society involves necessary public conversations about police brutality and social justice.
Cosgrove personifies Lennon’s declaration by using his music to confront the relevant issues his generation has had to face. In particular, the song “Freddies Dead” addresses the anger many young people felt after learning of the circumstances of Gray’s killing.
“I think what happened in the Freddie Gray case is sad as f-ck. I think music is the most powerful thing in the world,” says Ace. “So as a Hip Hop artist, I think it’s my job to express with my music what other people are feeling but are scared to say.”
The 24-year-old performer is not afraid to speak on the subject of spirituality either. His catalog features cuts like “Lost Of Faith” and “Lord Have Mercy.” The latter song has a hook where Ace announces “the devil couldn’t stop me.” Those are not just inconsequential lyrics. The words represent a personal mentality that drives the man who recites them.
“Religion plays a big role. I’m not a super-religious person, meaning I don’t go to church every Sunday, but to me I feel like I made it this far because of my guardian angels and hard work,” responds Cosgrove when asked about the role of religion in his creative process. “I think sometimes when we as humans reach a low point we tend to lose our faith, so I talk a lot about that in my music.”
Like any person walking this Earth, Ace Cosgrove experiences moments of dejection and disappointment. On his song “Burning Slums,” he opens up about having to deal with individuals around him being jealous of the productive moves happening in his life. However, the ascending rhymer is attempting to avoid those resentful cynics in his outer circle.
“I’m a pretty distant person to begin with, so I deal with envious people by just saying, ‘F-ck it, f-ck them. I’m going to make the music even better and see if they are more envious when I drop this new sh-t.’ I’ve always been the type to not need people in my life anyways. If they stick around, cool. If not, f-ck em. They can eat a d-ck,” Cosgrove declares.
The number of haters surely rose when Ace’s 2014 song “Making Moves” was featured during a recent episode of House Of Lies. The popular Showtime series starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell selected the track for the season five premiere which aired earlier this month.
“Making Moves” has currently totaled over 24,000 plays on SoundCloud. Going by the user comments on SC or the top search suggestions on Google, House Of Lies sent a large number of listeners in Cosgrove’s direction.
“I got connected to House Of Lies through ‘the plug’ [laughs],” says Ace.
He continues, “My reaction [to the song’s placement on the show] was just like, ‘Yes, I’m doing something right here.’ I think the song started picking up a lot because of House Of Lies. The song is almost two years old. Before the House Of Lies placement, the views were much lower than that, so shout out to the plug.”
More tunes from A.C. are on the way. Just this week he dropped his Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz inspired single “Bia-Bia” produced by Super Miles. A follow-up effort to Baby Need Food is inevitable, and other festival appearances such as the one at Broccoli City is likely in the future as well.
As his fan base expands, Ace Cosgrove is ready to take on the position as one of the musical leaders of the DMV. But don’t look for the creator to become part of the paparazzi culture that dominates entertainment news at the moment. His focus is the artistry not the fame.
He conveys, “I never want to get super-duper famous to where I’m in TMZ every other day. I just want to make really epic music that inspires people, move to London, and get paid well because of it.”
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Read other installments of AllHipHop’s #DMVOnTheMove series here.
Follow Ace Cosgrove on Twitter @ace_cosgrove.
Purchase Ace Cosgrove’s Baby Need Food on iTunes. Stream the album below.