Ace Hood “Ruthless” (2009)

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From the July 6, 2009 issue of The Miami Herald (web / print)

On his sophomore release, Broward County rapper Ace Hood faces the task of trying to strike it big in a hip-hop scene already flooded with Floridians. Coming less than eight months since his debut album, Ruthless does little to distinguish Ace Hood’s content from that of  Rick Ross, Flo Rida, DJ Khaled and T-Pain.

With a raspy voice reminiscent of Pastor Troy, Ace manages to squeeze in a smattering of witty wordplay amidst typical braggadocio rhymes about girls, guns and wealth.

First single “Overtime,” with a chorus from Akon and guest verse by T-Pain, preaches the benefits of working hard (lots of money) over a disapointingly generic club beat courtesy of The Runners, the Orlando-based production duo that usually makes much bigger backdrops.

“Champion” is a surprisingly soulful song, with Ace Hood and Rick Ross trading verses about finding success, with singer Jazmine Sullivan re-purposing lyrics from Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” for the hook.

Otherwise, Ruthlessis a disconnected hodge-podge of what’s popular (but not necessarily good) in hip-hop at the moment. And with an overabundance of guest spots (Ludacris, The-Dream, Lloyd, Birdman, and Miami rapper Ballgreezy also appear), it’s hard to make a connection with Ace Hood on a disc that often feels more like a compilation than a coherent album from one artist.

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