Ace Hood Talks Personal Struggle Projected on ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’
Ace Hood is by no means a newbie in the hip-hop world. And, with his third studio release 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' recently debuting at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart, the 'Body to Body' emcee just might be finally getting the recognition he always deserved.
'Blood, Sweat & Tears' is his most personal record yet, as evidenced in such tracks as 'Lord Knows,' 'Bitter World' and 'Letter to My Ex's.' PopCrush got the chance to chat with Hood, who not only projected his humility and empathy through these records, but also in his telling relationships with "brother" DJ Khaled, collaborators Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, and his two lovely daughters.
"Thank you, love," he says at the end of the interview. Not only does Ace 'Hustle Hard,' but he sure knows how to win our hearts!
How is 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' different conceptually from your two previous albums?
'Blood, Sweat & Tears' has a different direction than my previous projects. It’s more personal, more about my grind, more of my struggle. It’s me. I put it all on the line on this album, speaking on my financials and everything else. It represents the struggle. It’s blue-collar music.
You also mentioned this blue-collar type music at your album release party. Can you talk a bit more about it?
Basically what really goes on. My music … I give it to you from my point of view. I show you what I’ve been through. My grind is no different than anyone else's grind -- everyone has their struggles. A lot of times artists will talk about miscellaneous things; but it really is a struggle out here and that’s what this represents. The blood, sweat and tears it took me to get here.
Tell me about your relationship with Khaled, who signed you onto his label We the Best a few years back. How did he help you get into the rap world?
My relationship with Khaled is tremendous. Besides the business, we are kin to one another. He’s my brother ... Beyond a brother. He’s been there when the criticism was its highest. He introduced me to this huge music scene, brought me around these big time artists and helped mold me into who I am today.
What's your favorite track on the album?
'Lord Knows.' Just because it’s things that I went through. Tough nights, tough times. Only the Lord knows the things that I’ve endured from trying to get back on in this industry, creating the album, and providing for family.
Listen to 'Lord Knows'
Can you talk about working and writing with Chris Brown on 'Body 2 Body'?
It was dope. We weren’t actually able to be in the studio together since we’re both on the road all the time. My homie Kevin Cossom wrote the reference, I laid my verses down and sent it to Chris. He loved it, he called me and said "don’t give this to nobody. I’ma cut it ASAP," and he did. The next week we were shooting the video.
The song 'Body 2 Body' is climbing the charts, Did you expect that?
I expected that. We felt like it was a No. 1 record when we created it. So I wasn’t surprised at all.
What track(s) will your fans be most surprised by and why?
'Bitter World' or 'Lord Knows.' 'Letter to My Ex’s' too. They all show a totally different side of me. A more emotional side, showing what I’ve been through.
Can you talk about 'Bitter World' and how it relates to you?
It’s a very factual record. Being that I didn’t know my real father and now I’m raising children and looking around at what they have to grow up in ... It’s definitely a bitter world. A lot of kids dying young, young women getting pregnant early.
Tell me about some of the references you make in the Kevin Cossom featured track 'Memory Lane'?
[The] references were two of my homies that I lost. The song's about taking the ride, and is for people who lost somebody close to them. It’s about reliving the good times -- not just the bad moment when you've lost someone. [It's about] reminiscing on the good times.
Listen to 'Memory Lane'
What do you hope to be the fourth single?
I’m gonna let the people pick it! I'll let people run with it. Hit me on twitter and tell me what you want.
Can you talk about working with Lil Wayne on the remix of 'Hustle Hard'?
A pleasure man. Wayne's a guy I’ve always wanted to work with. I’m a big fan. To actually work with him was huge, it’s major. He's a genius, a very energetic and very fun guy.
Some fans have expressed that both of your singles 'Go N Get It' and 'Hustle Hard' are very similar in sound -- do you see it that way, and if not, what would you say to them?
Both are hustler records [and] both have the same message. You gotta do both every day. It's good music, that’s what they have in common.
Who are your biggest inspirations musically?
Grew up listening to Lil Wayne, the Hot Boyz, Canibus and Trick Daddy. Those are my influences.
What songs are you a huge fan of right now?
Definitely a big fan of the 'John' [Lil Wayne] record ... The Miguel 'Quickie' record -- I like that joint. Definitely like the 'How to Love' [Lil Wayne] record.
How has your approach to music changed since your daughters came into the world?
It's changed drastically. I would say I’ve always been on the pattern of that "go-getter" mentality, I’m always on the mind frame of providing for my loved ones but now that they are here I’m going even harder. Gotta go double, gotta go triple.
Watch the 'Body 2 Body' Video Feat. Chris Brown