Masta Ace Saves His Career: October 16 in Hip-Hop History
On this day in history, veteran rapper Masta Ace saved a career even he thought was over with a revered concept album. Meanwhile, Angie Stone dropped the extremely mature Mahogany Soul, and Black Dynamite exploded in theaters. Check it out below.
2001 - Masta Ace Saves His Ass With Disposable Arts
Masta Ace's Disposable Arts is a great concept album that was released on this day in 2001. The project is loosely autobiographical, narrating the story of a young man who returns home from prison and tries to adjust to his newfound freedom while attending the fictional school Institute of Disposable Arts.
The project came at a turning point for the veteran rapper, who was battling both his relevancy in the rap game and his health after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"Disposable Arts is my number one album that I've made, because it singlehandedly rejuvenated my career and extended my career going on 14 years," Ace told NPR's Microphone Check in 2015. "There's no way that I should still be making records because I was really really done for real."
"I actually made up a resumé," he continued. "So to go from that point to dropping Disposable and finding this whole new generation of fans that's followed since '01 — many of whom didn't know anything about the first three albums, bought Disposable Arts, and became fans from that day — that album, hands down, is the most important album of my career."
"I was diagnosed [with multiple sclerosis] in 2000, so it kind of put things into perspective, career-wise, life-wise," he added. "I just decided with that diagnosis that I wanted to go out on my own terms. I re-dedicated myself to the craft in a different way, and I made my best music, I feel, after that diagnosis."
2001 - Angie Stone Displays a New Maturity on Mahogany Soul
After taking a two-year hiatus following the release of her 1999 debut album Diamond Soul, Angie Stone returned with her second effort, Mahogany Soul. The collection boasts production assists Raphael Saadiq, Swizz Beatz, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and others with vocal contributions from Calvin Richardson, Musiq Soulchild, Alicia Keys and Eve.
The album is an emotional rollercoaster ride of her life's pain, relationship turmoils and the joys of love. On the set’s lead single, “Brotha,” she salutes the black man and on “The Ingredients of Love,” Stone and Musiq offer their recipe for the perfect relationship. The centerpiece is the orchestral soul ballad "Wish I Didn't Miss You," where Stone yearns for the warm embrace of her ex-lover.
"Mahogany Soul means a lot to me. I became comfortable with the fact that I was comfortable with the music business," she told MOBO in 2014. "I put so much hard work into the album without anyone trying to control me. Mahogany Soul was definitely a learning process. It was the epitome of me coming into my own."
2009 - Black Dynamite Explodes Into Movie Theaters
On this day, Black Dynamite was released in movie theaters for a limited run. The film stars Michael Jai White as the titular character, an ex-CIA agent, part-time ladies man and all-around badass.
In the film, Black Dynamite wages war against “the Man,” who killed his beloved brother and stumbles upon a conspiracy to poison the black community with tainted malt liquor.
Directed by filmmaker Scott Sanders, the film pays homage to the Blaxploitation era. From the slang-filled dialogue, hammy kung-fu fight scenes, outrageous car explosions, and musician Adrian Younge’s funky wah-wah original score, Black Dynamite will remind you of those exaggerated black films that came out of the bygone era. The movie also stars Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson, Arsenio Hall, Brian McKnight and Byron Minns (who co-wrote the screenplay).
“I was working with my friends, so it was kind of a dream come true,” said White about the film (via Flavorwire). “We had so much fun, it was almost a guilty pleasure. It’s been a joyous endeavor from the very start to the very finish.”