Aceyalone - Accepted Eclectic      
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written by Andrew Lunny    
Aceyalones are rare in underground hip-hop circles. He's held it down for at least a decade; he was a key member of the near-legendary Freestyle Fellowship; both of his solo albums are held in high regard; his Project Blowed crew gain many props by association. In a scene where a tight 12" can earn you a reputation, Acey deserves props for his longevity alone. With his latest two projects (namely the A-Team and Haiku De'Tat) gaining acclaim from all who hear them, Acey hooked up with to drop his third LP, 'Accepted Eclectic,' on MP3.

But even the greatest artists have trouble following great work, and that 'A Book of Human Language' surely is. This conceptual masterpiece showed a thoughtful man philosophically dropping it over some ill Mumbles production, and a similar album would no doubt falter in its shadow. This is not the case with 'Accepted Eclectic.' The first track, 'Rappers Rappers Rappers,' has a bouncy beat and some battle hungry lyrics which go out to "all you ugly rappers, pretty rappers, big city rappers, country rappers, gritty rappers, itty bitty rappers, witty rappers, 2 for 50 rappers, frank nitty rappers and shitty rappers.' As he has done previously, Acey messes with conventional song structures and spends more time on the different varieties than the actual lyrics. This looks unacceptable; it sounds awesome.

This is the key to 'Accepted Eclectic': Acey rarely goes to the conceptual debts of his last record but instead balances his ideas with conventional beats and battle-styled lyrics. 'Master Your High,' a diss track to kids that can't handle the drugs they take, is a humorous joint and thematically reminds me of De La's classic 'My Brothers A Basehead.' This detached, amused perspective is where Acey stays for the majority, even when his lyrics seem more personal. 'I Neva Knew' repeats the title, stating what Acey never knew, but he takes it in his stride and has fun with the music.

Playing the comfortable MC to a tee, Acey rarely changes up his flow. The most notable change is on 'Golden Mic,' which ups the tempo without getting past the man's lyricism. There's another increase of enthusiasm on 'I Got To Have It Too.' The relaxed, comfortable feel goes surprisingly well with a varied selection of beats. The MP3 release had no production credit, but stand-outs include the title track, 'Bounce,' and collabo with Fellowship alum P.E.A.C.E. 'Microphones.' But my favourite track on 'Accepted Eclectic' is 'Five Feet,' a gem from last year's Fat Jack album where Acey breaks down how we all need personal space.

'Accepted Eclectic' is a difficult album to rate: it's far removed from his previous work, and the nonchalant feel of the music almost suggests a lack of effort. But despite the conventional sound, the tracks are just damn good. On a side note, the MP3 release system works well as the emusic site lets you buy individual tracks for 99c a piece, which will be nice for anyone who owns some of the 4 or so previously released joints. With 'Accepted Eclectic,' Acey deftly side-steps the issue of following a poetical classic and just drops a fresh bunch of tracks.

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