March 03, 2018

Aceyalone - All Balls Don't Bounce (1995)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1995 Capitol Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
The breakout MC from the woefully underappreciated Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone emerged as the godfather of the L.A. underground scene with his 1995 solo debut, All Balls Don't Bounce. A spectacular lyrical milestone, All Balls was overlooked at the time, and later slipped quietly out of print. Which is extremely unfortunate, since Aceyalone is one of the greatest lyricists the West Coast has ever produced, twisting his fluid rhymes around and off the beat with the improvisational assurance of Rakim. What's more, his subject matter goes beyond the battle rhymes that most mike virtuosos hone their technique with. He's cerebral and philosophical, yet bursting with confidence at the same time, which lends a definite sense of excitement to his literate wordplay. His lyrics aren't just long strings of ten-cent words -- they're an important part of the songs' rhythmic drive, and he knows when to leave empty space in his lines to keep the groove flowing smoothly. The production on All Balls Don't Bounce is solid if unspectacular, usually spare and jazzy, with lots of piano/keyboard samples and some fitting nods to the abstract side of hard bop. If it's occasionally geared to spotlight the lyrics, that's only logical, especially when the results are as daring as "Arythamaticulas." Lead single "Mic Check" and "All Balls" are textbook MC showcases, as is "Knownots," a tag-team track with future Haiku d'Etat cohorts Mikah 9 and Abstract Rude. On the vibraphone-driven jazz-rap cuts "The Greatest Show on Earth" and "Headaches & Woes," Acey lays down some of the most rhythmically sophisticated, complex rhymes since the Native Tongues. His positive attitude toward women is more than just political correctness; he's nothing less than enraptured by them. In "Annalillia," he can't resist being shot down repeatedly by a fascinating and independent woman, and in "Makeba," he tries to win back a favorite ex-girlfriend who left without warning. It all adds up to a singular debut from a major talent.

tags: aceyalone, all balls dont bounce, 1995, flac,


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