If you found yourself in Los Angeles asking a real hip-hop head how the L.A. conscious hip-hop scene began there, said hip hopper would mention Project Blowed and its veteran founding affialiate Aceyalone.
Project Blowed is a hip-hop crew and open-mic workshop that began in the early ‘90s in South Central Los Angeles at a little spot called The Good Life Café. Aceyalone was the emcee who brought Project Blowed and conscious hip hop to the forefront of the West Coast backpacker psyche. Put it this way: without “Big Ace,” emcees like Busdriver, 2mex, Pigeon John and Medusa might not have encountered the atmosphere required to reach national notoriety. In an era when gangsta rap was taking over the commercial airwaves via Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Aceyalone was constructing masterful lyrics appreciated mostly by underground poets.
His breakout album, A Book of Human Language, is arguably the first of its kind. A hip-hop album that referenced Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (go YouTube the song “The Grandfather Clock”) and contained such a plethora of heady syntax that fools began dubbing it “nerd rap.”
It is quite the treat to have Aceyalone come through town, as it was something he used to do a lot more of. As an older gentleman who’s survived a lion’s share of tour life, Aceyalone is a veteran showman. It will be exciting to see both how the years have treated him and what new material he has in store. And, as though you need more reason to go check this show out, Living Legends co-founder Sunspot Jonz joins the bill.
Aceyalone plays with Sunspot Jonz
9 pm Friday, May 18, at John Henry’s; $10.