Ace Hood Talks Protesting & New Album "Mr. Hood"
Ace Hood deserves all his flowers. If you were going out in the year 2013, his hit single “Bugatti” was unavoidable. The smash-hit featuring Future and Rick Ross was a moment in time, ensuing instant nostalgia upon hearing. Now the 32-year-old returns after a 2-year hiatus, splitting with his previous situation with DJ Khaled’s We The Best imprint.
The newfound independent rapper has consistently released high-quality records since he started over a decade ago. Fast forward to 2020, fans are thrilled to receive his highly-anticipated new project Mr. Hood. The 14-track project speaks volumes to this new chapter of his life, which includes marriage and a strong passion for fitness.
AllHipHop caught up with Ace Hood to discuss the recent protests, transitioning to being independent, linking with Jacquees on Mr. Hood, artists out of Broward County, and more!
AllHipHop: How was it protesting in your hometown alongside your wife?
Ace Hood: It was beautiful, honestly. I always like being out there with the people. I like being in the field, that’s always going to be my thing. It’s interesting to see how many people are supporting. Coming from a place where at one point, it was all black people protesting. A few allies from white people who were actually supporting but now to see a world full of multi-cultures from all over — from white people, Spanish people, Asian people, all types of people in the streets fighting for us. For black people, for equal rights. That's news to me. As adamant as I am or black people are about it, people out there believe the same things. We’re all the same skin color and I appreciate it.
AllHipHop: What do you think needs to happen in the world? Hip-hop has been vocal of this since it started.
Ace Hood: We need to be pushing the agenda. We need to continue to push the change. I like the fact it’s forcing people to start taking accountability, forcing people to look at others and take accountability. As a person who’s always thinking about self-awareness, artists need to step up and take accountability. People and brands aren’t taking accountability, that's why we have to continue pushing this narrative forward for black people. Yes, we got a step. We got some type of justice with these cops, but there’s still much work to be done to feel there’s an even playing field for us. Figuring out a way to continue pushing and not letting this fall to the backburner.
AllHipHop: “We Ball” speaks volumes to the current state of the world. What does it mean to have a record during a time like this?
Ace Hood: Grateful, honestly. What I do, what I love, to travel the world, to inspire people, to have people even take the time out to listen to my music. I’m grateful I can give music that contributes to the time and help people begin to move forward. Find hope during this time, or some sense of light. “We Ball” is a record that didn’t necessarily have a place. I wanted it to have an actual place on a project, a project that’s well-versed. Initially, I was attaching it to one of my freestyle projects I put out, the Body Bag series. I decided man, I want this to have a bigger light to help more people. This record has so much more to do.
AllHipHop: Your new project Mr. Hood marks a new chapter for you. Does this include being a newfound independent artist?
Ace Hood: I feel free, yes. I am free. I’m more collected, I’m more grounded. I’m so grateful for my independence, to embark on a journey of the unknown. From that space, I can always create something new. Create something that’s never been done before. For me, I took the stairs. I’m a patient being, no real rush to do things. It’s taking the right steps, nurturing things the way I need to nurture. The independent journey had its ups and downs, but I’ve learned the lessons. There’s lessons in everything. I appreciate the ups and downs throughout the process. Learning those lessons from each step helps me become grateful over time. I feel freer. I own everything that I have, I can do whatever I want to do. That's a special place to be, especially in this day and age. Ownership especially as a black man and as a musician is important to have.
AllHipHop: What are the lessons you learned from becoming independent?
Ace Hood: Being independent, the lesson I learned is to take myself outside of the system. I came from a system where I was used to having so many team players, all I had to do was create the music. Cycle it down, you got a whole network and team. As an independent artist, you decide to take that step and you have to make things happen. It's going to be difficult, but going through tough steps helped me realize I could do it. Being signed under a major label, I was young man. I didn't know a lot about the business, about the industry. I just knew that I wanted to take care of my family, take care of my moms and put myself in a better state living-wise. That’s the only focus until you get older. You’re becoming a man, you start to really think about things from a more complex place.
AllHipHop: How’s it feel to have Mr. Hood be your 20th project? That’s amazing.
Ace Hood: Blessed, honored, grateful, abundant. Al those amazing things: to be in the industry, to be current, to be around. I jumped in young, I’m still young. It’s a blessing. I’m so grateful, I can’t thank my fans and supporters enough for helping me throughout this time. For listening, that’s amazing honestly.
AllHipHop: How was working on Jacquees on “12 O’clock”?
Ace Hood: Jacquees my dawg man, shout out to him. I seen Jacquees throughout the time I’ve been in the music industry. First 5 or 6 years when I was in, past that period point I’d see him in the industry trying to build his base and do his thing. I thought it was dope. I knew once it came time, we’d do some work together. I ended up recording the record, having fun with it. Sent it to him, he loved the record. Recorded it in 2 days. Called me back on FaceTime and said “bro, this the one.” We laughed and smiled about it, we had fun.
AllHipHop: How’s married life treating you?
Ace Hood: Big lit! That s##t’s lit man. When I meet people in general, I don't try to change people. It’s all about finding their place and where we stand without trying to change my wife. In return, I get the very best of her. We have our disagreements, we speak openly and honestly about things. Sometimes it’s a little tough, but that’s my dawg regardless. At the end of the day, I am who I am. Same person who still has the hood in them. She knows different versions of me, she respects all of them. Me respecting all of her beings, knowing that it’s going to continue to change and become and change. As long as you get used to and learn to do that, allow your partner to rock, marriage is beautiful.
AllHipHop: Being from Broward, you have Kodak, XXXTentacion, Ski Mask, Smokepurpp. How does it feel to have so many artists come out of your city?
Ace Hood: Yep, I feel proud. This is amazing, something I always knew would be. It’s life, things change and grow. I’m happy with the fact all these young guys get the opportunity to feed their family, to take care of those around them. It’s so crazy because people from your city always want you to beef and have issues with other people. I might have had slight run-ins, some things outside I’ve had to pull up on, but I’m always pulling the love card with artists and people in our city. I want to push that agenda, especially being the first artist to emerge out of the city.
Honestly there’s a lot of hate, especially from people who didn’t know me. Didn’t understand, didn’t know my story, wanted to outcast me. Regardless, I rather be the sacrificial lamb so other people could come in and have opportunities that weren’t necessarily on the table when I was an artist at that time. Bless all them artists man. Free Kodak, I hope he gets his life right and comes out even stronger. Jackboy’s doing his thing. I want my city to thrive, I want everybody to thrive.
AllHipHop: What are your thoughts on people saying how underrated you are?
Ace Hood: In due time. The truth is I know how great I am. I can’t place that in anybody else. I can’t wait till somebody else feels like I’m worthy, I already am. I’m not underrated man. In terms of making people’s eyes or to the larger majority, I know who I am. I create from a true place and if people accept it, great. If people don’t, great.