20Aces is a member of local collective Rebel Soul (Watley, Real McCoy). He is a producer and artist who is really starting to buckle down and get serious as it pertains to both talents. He came to the attention of The Illixer via Twitter when he shared the link to his latest project Black Heart. Since the site has such a good rapport with Rebel Soul, decided to give the mixtape an ear and share a few words about the result of the listening experience with readers. So click the break and check out the review.
The production here is good. The stable base, old school soul style instrumentation, peppy rhythm, and optimistic vibe make for an extremely likeable combination. The single falls just shy of being a full three minutes in length, so there is no hook present. It works out well though as the content is executed in an easy to follow conversational style. The extended verse is adequate. 20Aces exhibits a friendly flow, quality wordplay, and kosher rhymes. He basically takes the time to introduce himself to the listener and explain a bit about how he gets down. Some lines of interest are: “I’m taking you back to basics. Whose this? Oh 20Aces. I’m killing this flow, no cases. I mean the court, no cases. And it’s game six. Tell the truth. Only time that he shoot is when he shoot at hoops. If you ain’t real throw up the deuce. Get in trouble. Yo lips loose. Non-violent, don’t believe in shooting. No crimes, don’t believe in looting. Never was I into jewelry. Money and cars don’t really enthuse me.” The carefree nature of those bars right there sets an awesome tone as a whole. The track ends on a comedic note. Overall, this is an entertaining selection and a great way to get to know 20Aces.
“Victories” F/ Nakeyla Umeda
The production here is worthy of two thumbs up. The polished foundation, atmospheric secondary details, gradual tempo, and low-spirited vibe match up graciously together. The hook is solid. The vocals are commendable and the lyrics are expressive. The verses are legitimate. 20Aces presents an individualized flow, personalized wordplay, and revealing rhymes. And it should be mentioned that he flexes his melodic abilities in the beginning as well. He’s got some impressive chords. He opens up in depth about experiencing betrayal at the hands of those who were supposed to care for him the most. A snippet from his misfortune includes: “Cause after all of that I don’t trust y’all. Never wanna take blame for it all. Never wanna say names just complain. And think I’m just gone buy it all. You ruthless, I’m threw with it. Forget all the memories. Hanging out at a movie. Sushi bar on the repeat. You left me when I needed you. (…) Didn’t come or comprehend that we were the best of friends. When I think about it, I might as well let it end.” The pain and emotion within those words right there definitely leaves one feeling some kind of way. All in all, this is a very stirring number.
This the last full length cut on the tape. The production here is satisfactory. The subtle bass, complimentary musical elements, laid-back pace, and nonchalant vibe are a fine pairing. There is no hook on this song. However, having one may have been helpful. Or implementing some kind of break would have been alright too. This tune falls on the extensive side, so there is a lot of content to absorb. It coming at the ears nonstop is a bit overwhelming. Not a huge deal but some suspension here and there would make a difference. The continuous verse is orthodox. 20Aces brings an orderly flow, intermediate wordplay, and purposeful rhymes. He proceeds to get some things off his chest as well as volunteer some tidbits of advice and encouragement. He spits: “To those insecure, I was there too. Only want approval. Someone to care too. I put myself in a box when I needed a room. Gave myself a knife when I needed a spoon. Tried to play pretend and someone I knew I wasn’t. And wondered why it never felt right all of a sudden. I lied to somebody by trying to gain approval. And hurt them in the end upon my heart’s removal. It’s sick, all you think is that you’re hurting yourself. Til you realize relationship is shared with someone else.” There is definitely a lesson to be taken away from those lines. In the end, this is an honorable record.
**My Two Cents: Black Heart is a sufficient effort. The production is accomplished. The content is promising but could have been just a tad stronger. If 20Aces alternated his flow a little more and added further depth to his lyrics, he’d be on a great path. He has a lot going for him as is, just needs to spruce things up here & there. I enjoyed the tape though and believe readers will too. So peep the above player or head on over to Audio Mack and dig in. -MinM