Monday, April 18, 2005

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues: Maintain

Ain't u da masta?

Masta Ace feat. Lord Digga: "Maintain"
Masta Ace: "Ya' Hardcore (Trip 2 Albee Sq.)"
from Sittin on Chrome 12", Delicious Vinyl, 1995
"I'm surrounded by psychopathic little fellas
Ghetto dwellas with ammunition in their cellars
And no remorse in their hearts, when the shit starts
It don't end...until somebody's Gone With the Wind"
Thus begins perhaps my personal favorite Masta Ace joint, "Maintain," which shared b-side privileges with "Ya' Hardcore" on "Sittin' on Chrome," from 1995's similarily-titled jeep beat classic. Ace's reflective, sorrow-filled verses remind us of the power of blues in hip-hop, a sub-genre that's not been well-explored in recent years since rap found its road to the riches. Recent releases by Beanie Sigel, One.Be.Lo, and even Ace himself are proving that blues weren't dead in rap, they were only sleeping.

Masta Ace produced the majority of "Sittin on Chrome" (and should continue producing) including this b-side, to great effect: the slow tempo, descending bassline, and subtle use of strings emphasize the pensive lyrics. Ace describes the mental weight borne beneath the strain and pressure of daily life, and is given encouragement by Inspectah Deck's voice "workin hard may help you maintain" on the chorus. The conclusion of the song finds optimism and hope in the future of his young son.

For those that missed this the first time around, preview it here (link above), or even better buy it at Ace's new online store, it's appropriately the album closer on "Hits U Missed," a compilation of Masta Ace's 12"-only releases.

I'll let the lyrics deliver the outro to this post:
"There's too much pressure and stress on my chest
Life's a mess and I feel so depressed
Seems so hard to survive and stay alive
Jump in my ride and I drive, doin' 95
With my system blastin' I'm passin'
Cars in the right lane, light change I'm gassin'
No, destination...but I'm racin'
With my lights on, I got my brights on
Play the right song...and the sweat beads my face
Drive past 5-0 and now they givin' chase
They'll probably want to know where the fire's at
Or where the drug buyer's at, fuck, my tire's flat
I guess I'm pullin' over, to take a loss
But it won't be the loss of my life from drivin' off course
God knows I need to be here to shape my son's brain
So I gotta maintain"


Post a Comment

<< Home