Master Ace

  • Master Ace
  • Take a Look Around (Cold Chillin'/Reprise) 1990 

Decent enough to single out an eighth-grade English teacher as a positive influence, Brooklyn rapper Master Ace uses a set of fine Marley Marl tracks to deliver an optimistic uplift-the-race middle-class message on his highly impressive debut. Educational without being didactic, the imaginative young MC runs down a new program that shrugs off crass materialism and self-indulgent boasting without sounding sappy. Take a Look Around mixes things up effectively, partying with a better-known labelmate on “Me and the Biz” while innovatively adopting a fictional persona to convey a powerful sense of African-American despair in “The Other Side of Town” and ruing the B-boy errors of his youth in “Movin’ On.” With talent to spare, Master Ace is a man to watch.

[Ira Robbins]