The Official DiS Hip-Hop Listening Club


I was kind of late onto Aceyalone. After going in hard on everything Hiero related, someone suggested I check out Freestyle Fellowships Innercity Griots and the Saafir’s Boxcar Sessions. Hated both. I think they were just a step too far.

But around 2000 when I started delving into rap on the weirder end of the scale, ordering off Sandbox, downloading, and reading hip hop message boards (Hip Hop Infinity to be precise) I noticed loads of people banging on about Aceyalone. So I went back and checked out this, Book of Human Language, as well as stuff by The Nonce (lol). Also realised I loved Boxcar Sessions.

Great to revisit this as although I liked it, I don’t think I really got deep deep into it and I think it’s something that needs to be listened to carefully. Great headphones album. Lovely production. Just one of those albums that doesn’t really have a stand out track you’ll skip to - you need to listen to it front to back or it doesn’t really work as well (IMHO).

Another great pick. Feel like I hadn’t really exhausted YAGGFU Front TBH, but looking forward to moving on and spending time with this.


Often dig back through those old threads when picking albums for this thread.


this had slipped my mind…! I would’ve maybe gone for Dare Iz A Darkside if I hadn’t picked Erick Sermon last time, so at least I’m not fickle


definitely, the unravelling raps remind me of some of my favourite old Common joints


yeah, resurrection is exactly what I had in mind


This is fucking great. Been on a real Tribe tip myself the last week or so and this is scratching a very similar itch for me. Those basslines that are just so simple but so addictive and so clean sounding.


really glad if it’s a new discovery for some of you


I think is a great little tune


more ideas in 1 minute and 19 seconds than in the entire output of Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty and Playboi Carti combined. and he doesn’t rap for the first 30 seconds


hadn’t heard this before and am feeling it.
his flow is really jazz-y, all over the place but on point with the beats and delivers words with clarity.
faves are the ones produced by vic hop, he’s only got a handful of production credits and they’re all great- what a waste. love the slow, dry slap of the drums on ‘knownots’.
abstract rude, featuring on a couple of these really sounds like e-40, hey?


yeah the whole (early) freestyle fellowship sound revolved around sounding like jazz (no one has ever done it better then Myka 9).

Never heard the e40 / ab rude comparison, I’m kiiiiiiiiinda hearing it. Sounds more like a slowed down Del the Funkee to me.


The longer this thread goes on, the more I think that me and @CHAIRMAN_LMAO may actually be related. My experiences with this record are pretty much identical to his (for about the fifteenth time so far).

I remember reading a lot of stuff in various magazines and fanzines at the time about Freestyle Fellowship. I looked for their albums everywhere without any luck, until I found a copy of Innercity Griots in a Chicago record store in '96 when I was studying in the US (To Whom It May Concern was just impossible to find).

I remember being so excited to play it, but I just couldn’t get it. At all. I tried seriously listening through about ten times, but it just wouldn’t click. Even though I loved the jazz-sample based production of Tribe and early Premier, I wasn’t big into jazz at the time and found the production pretty alien. I also couldn’t get my head around how the MCs didn’t attack or even ride the beats, but instead seemed to float around them.

Fast forward a few years and I saw the CD reissue of To Whom It May Concern in the massive London HMV. Thinking it was kind of ridiculous that I’d looked everywhere for this record way back when and then found it sitting in a massive chain store, I bought it for old time’s sake as much as anything else. Had zero expectations when I put it on, but obviously, it blew me away. It is actually a bit more accessible (or ‘traditional’ I guess) than Griots, and I’d like to think that if I’d heard this first, things might have been different, but probably not. Obviously, then when on a massive Freestyle Fellowship bender. Liked Abstract Rude and Myka 9, but Acey was the one for me. (Also listened to Griots again, and this time it clicked. Even nearly ten years after it dropped, it still sounded ahead of its time).

Which, in a very long winded way, brings me to this record. It was the first of his albums that I got, and I still think it’s my favourite. Agree with what others have said about it rewarding deep listening - he’s such an amazing MC, it takes a few go arounds to pick up on everything he’s coming out with. He’s amazingly lyrical without wasting a single word. You can also tell he’s totally in love with language, and he never once sounds too pleased with himself, which can be a problem with a lot of ‘lyrical’ rappers. Hard to pick stand outs as this is definitely an album that works best as a whole, but Mic Check is worth a mention, if only because it shows that he can kill a straightforward beat as well as anyone out there; he just chooses to do the elevated, next level business.

Think that (a bit like me) the world, or at least the West Coast, is starting to catch up with Acey now. You can hear his style all over the current LA Beat scene rappers, and I’d include Kendrick in that. Might not be the most obvious influence, and I could be wrong, but I reckon that Kendrick’s probably spent a lot of time with FF records, and this one especially.

Another top pick. Like @nav, really happy for anyone this is a new discovery for. Kinda jealous of you too…


Not a stretch at all - Josef Leimberg (worked with Volume 10 from Project Blowed, produced the third FF LP) plays trumpet and helped produce two tracks off TBAP. There’s no way Kendrick isn’t at least familiar with the 'ship

Really interesting to hear your thoughts about the record and all of the artists. Definitely going to be revisiting Freestyle Fellowship off the back of all this chat. I too find Griots a bit too dense which is something I’ve very rarely been able to say about a rap record. I also discovered Haiku d’Etat and The A-Team (acey and abstract rude as a duo) off the back of my own reminder of Aceyalone. Never stop discovering gems.

This first Haiku d’Etat LP is well worth a listen for anyone enjoying Acey / FF


would like to have witnessed the laid back but joyous high five when one of them coined the name ‘Haiku d’etat’


Aceyalone isn’t on Spotify in my region. Will download it but think I’ll miss the deadline/have some catching up to do :sweat_smile:



cheers. throwing it on now


good stuff. i went backwards from a book of human language which was my first foray into FF (it’s still my favorite). aceyalone was always cool cos he could switch up styles, could be a straightforward rapper or mess around with his inflections and cadence to sound different. pretty much every project he’s been on has had at least a few tracks worth checking.

been enjoying going back through this and his catalog a bit, and even a little living legends stuff lol. headaches and woes is a really great track. mic check and anywhere you go have perfect hooks.


the Haiku Detat stuff is really hit and miss but there’s def some gems in there. still think its funny that one of their best songs is just them stuttering/repeating their first names. addictive flows on that one tho. they really shoulda got az and cormega to drop guest spots on built 2 last


this track is nuts