MIXTAPE REVIEW: Ace Hood – ‘Starvation 3’

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Artist: Ace Hood
Album: Starvation 3
Genre: Hip-Hop

Ace Hood has spent the past several years on the cusp of being the next megastar in hip-hop, and by all accounts 2013 was his biggest year to date. “Bugatti” paved the way to a national audience unlike any of his previous efforts, but his album, Trials And Tribulation, failed to leave the lasting impression made by similarly timed releases from many of his peers. Fall followed soon after, and though Hood had a few headlines in the final months of 2013 he remained largely quiet while focusing on his plans for the new year.

Last week, Hood let the world know he’s not letting the lukewarm response to his fourth studio album slow him down by releasing the third installment in his popular Starvation mixtape series. I spent the weekend with the release, and can say beyond the shadow of a doubt it’s a vast improvement over Trials. It may even be the best Starvation entry yet.

It takes roughly thirty seconds for Ace Hood to reassure fans on Starvation 3 that he’s the same voice they’ve grown to love over the last decade. “Fear” picks up right where Trials And Tribulations left off, boasting a story of Hood’s continued rise in spite of obstacles he faced earlier in life and the haters he now encounters on a regular basis. It’s half ego overflow and half autobiographical catchup, but it blends together well thanks to crazy production from Reazy Renegade. “Everyday” follows with something far more radio friendly, which is typical sequencing for Hood. This tells casual rap fans there is something for them, but not before Hood reminds genre diehards he still knows how to spit (aka the reason “Fear” is the intro).

What makes Ace Hood so captivating is the ernest, raw intensity he brings to every track. Whether he’s channeling his rage over politics and problems with the music industry (“FYFR”), or sharing heartbreaking insight into his youth (“Tears”), Hood keeps listeners deeply engaged with his wordplay. Even when the lyrics are not all that complex, like the entirety of the song “Everyday,” there is something about the ferocity in his voice that demands your full attention. You vibe with Ace even though you cannot relate to him, or even take him all that seriously. That’s a rare feat for any artist to pull off, and he’s done that yet again with Starvation 3.

Hood is not for everyone, of course, and anyone who was turned away by his previous releases will find few new ideas explored on Starvation 3. Depending on who you are, this could be good or bad. It could prove Hood’s focus on building a rep in a certain realm of the industry while simultaneously promoting his culture over cashing in on popular trends in urban music, but it could also make him appear incapable of evolving as an artist. I tend to believe the former, but I would be lying if I claim to have never considered the latter as a possibility.

It’s hard to tell what future holds for Ace Hood, but for the time being he will remain on the cusp of being as big as his talent says he should be. Starvation 3 is further proof he has the talent needed to be one of the biggest names in hip-hop. If he can find the ability within himself to channel the same intensity he put into this release into another studio album, or even a string of singles throughout 2014 this year could very quickly become the year Ace Hood finally breaks through to the echelon of rap celebrity reserved for people like Rick Ross, French Montana, and Juicy J.

Written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • finisherz

    Best mixtape street album of 2014 unless he or someone else can top it!!!!

  • AceTakinOva

    Ace hood spit his heart out!
    wasn’t really a fan, but I am now