By: Shamus Hill
Every now and then, you stumble upon a gem in the crowd of an artist that possesses a phenomenal catalog of music. It didn’t take much time at all for me to realize that ace. was that artist. Since getting put onto his hit single “Big Fact” and subsequently diving into the remainder of his discography, there hasn’t been any turning back.
That being said, Graduation Music is proud to present an interview with ace., discussing his entrance to music, some of his influences/interests outside of music, and an announcement that he’s dropping a short project on April 13th (a week from this upcoming Friday). With his recent string of exceptional records, ace. is here to prove why NYC is still a major playmaker in the rap game, so be sure to read about him below:
How old are you, and where are you from?
I’m 20 years old, out of Queens, NY.
For how long now have you been releasing music?
I started recording music in the 9th grade, so like six years now. I started off recording songs myself on Garageband, using the built-in microphone on my laptop. I would say I started taking music more seriously when I bought an actual microphone about 4 years ago.
If you could describe your music in your own words, how would you do so?
That’s always been difficult for me, finding a way to label it. I’ve had conversations with my manager about it, just so we could kind of know who we’re marketing to. But yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to label it because it’s so varied. Really, I’ll make whatever conveys what I’m feeling. I’d probably release a deep, house track if it’s what I felt at that moment.
Which of your tracks would you list as your favorite thus far?
It’s definitely hard for me to pick just one, but I’d say two tracks stand out to me. “Big Fact” connected for me instantly. As soon as I had recorded it, I sent it to a few of my friends before releasing it, and I told them, this is the one that people are going to connect with. It’s something I’ve never said about any other song, but I knew with that one immediately. But besides that, “They Whisper” would have to be a personal favorite of mine. It’s my favorite because it’s the most experimental track, sonically, to me, and I had wanted to do an Alternative-Rock-influenced track for a while. I wrote and recorded that song while watching the Blair Witch Project with the sound off, because that’s the image that came to mind when I heard that beat.
Looking through your discography, I’ve noticed that the majority of your music falls under the Hip-Hop/Rap genre, however you do have two Alternative-Rock tracks under your belt. Do you see your sound remaining within these categories in the future, or do you plan on exploring new genres as time progresses?
Honestly, like I said, I don’t know if those labels accurately represent the music I’ve made either. I feel like very few songs I make would be traditional to any genre. But I’d say yeah, I’ll always be expanding my range musically. That’s the fun part about making my own music, I can take from all the different sounds I love and put them together.
Who are some of your influences, both musically and personally?
I’m influenced by A LOT of people, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d probably say Kanye West and Childish Gambino are two of my biggest influences. Beyond just musically-speaking though. I feel like I can relate to those two especially, just based on the way their minds work. They’re true creatives to me. True creatives because they see no boundaries in their creativity. Even when making music, to them it’s about more than just the music. The process doesn’t end for them when an album’s finished, they have a complete vision. From art to tour designs, merchandise, etc.
Another big influence I’ll never forget to mention is the entire A$AP Mob, they influenced all the people around me in every way. Plus, they came out of NY doing it.
What’s the music scene like in Queens? Is there anyone from your area that people should really be listening to?
The music scene is bubbling, and not just in Queens, but New York in general. I feel like New York has a chip on its shoulder after years of being disregarded in Hip-Hop, while places like Atlanta thrive. It’s definitely a movement coming though, we can thank A$AP Mob for paving the way for us. They dont get the credit they deserve, especially Rocky as far as being a NY artist. I feel like his name is never mentioned when people debate over who’s the hottest NY has had to offer over the last few years. He’s the one without question. He’s a megastar and he’s from Harlem. As far as up-and-comers from NY, I see a lot of talent in the people around me. Friends, people I’m working with currently. Zoe Cartier, Adamaneven (Angelnumber 8, Lotto, Justine, Slakapat), Sensei Idai, Tommy Revenge. Soundcloud any of those names, I promise you’ll find something new you’ll love.
“When I was a freshman in high school we all wanted Pyrex shorts, now Virgil’s working at Louis Vuitton. That’s the type of shit that really inspires me. Growth and process. Everyone has their own process.”
What are you into besides music?
Everything. I really believe in that true creative concept, and I have ideas for just about everything. Somewhere on the internet there’s a Donda chart that Kanye drew up with different fields he wanted to impact using Donda. I’ll probably draw up my own (just as long) soon. One of the main things I want to get into in the future though is writing, specifically screenwriting. TV Shows & Movies, I have well drawn out ideas for both already. I believe it’ll all come together when it’s supposed to, don’t be surprised if you see one of my ideas as a Netflix-original one day.
Fashion is mentioned throughout your music, which leads me to ask, how much of a role does fashion play in your life, and subsequently the music you put out to the world?
Fashion is definitely a big influence, but I’m not the fashion guy in my collective of creative friends. Marvin (@m6rvin on social) is really the fashion guy, and he’s already working on his own thing, with a foot in the fashion industry. I’d say all of us are fashion-forward, but if I’m in 2020 with it, he’s definitely in the year 3000. A few of my biggest influences I didn’t really mention come from the fashion world. When I was a freshman in high school we all wanted Pyrex shorts, now Virgil’s working at Louis Vuitton. That’s the type of shit that really inspires me, growth and process. Everyone has their own process.
What can we expect next from ace. ?
Next for me is more music and more music. Really I’m just getting started. Currently, I’m working on a short project that I plan on dropping April 13th. I haven’t officially announced that anywhere yet, but yeah that’s what I’m working on. I hope to have a few friends on there, and they will definitely be people you should be looking out for too.
Connect with ace. on: