The making of “Hustle Hard”
“‘Hustle Hard’ is definitely the biggest record of my career. It felt good to see that on the charts. It was produced by Lex Luger. I reached out to him, he sent me the beat and I sat on it for three months. I had all the verses, but I didn’t have a hook.
“The hook was truly my circumstances. Anybody who knows me, knows I’m a family-oriented guy. I always speak about my mother because she’s definitely part of my motivation and I always had dreams of putting her in a house. And at that time, my girl was pregnant with twins. So I decided to incorporate my life into that hook. It came out phenomenal. I put it on the mixtape and it ended up being a fucking smash.
“If I didn’t come back and make a statement with a record such as ‘Hustle Hard,’ there maybe wouldn’t have been an album. Even when I came back there wasn’t even talk of an album. At the beginning, I just wanted to do a single deal. That’s what I was doing, just really trying to get a single to pop. But ‘Hustle Hard’ ended up being so big that the label was like, ‘You know what, we decided to do an album.’
“But it’s all about how you market everything and timing nowadays. I had the records before, but maybe the timing wasn’t perfect at that time. But for me to have my market sense like I do now, I’m kind of showing the people that Khaled was right.
“Dropping the record after being gone for like a year and then coming back into the game with my first Top 10 record was the highpoint of my career. That and being able to be back on the scene and get the respect that I truly feel I deserve for this music.
"[After ‘Hustle Hard’] a lot of people know that Ace Hood is on his own now. He created this record on his own. And look at the hunger and the starvation—that’s what ‘Hustle Hard’ is explaining.I never read any comments. I never listened to the outside criticisms. I always knew what I was capable of as an artist. I knew that regardless of maybe not being the hottest at that point in time, I knew that I was a force to be reckoned with.
“The music that I’ve been dropping lately has to do with me opening up people’s eyes. When I was coming into the game, a lot of people wondered what my story was, where did I come from? And it took people by storm because it’s hard to respect the situation where you don’t know the roots.
“I didn’t really expect to jump out in the game at the beginning and have everybody love me because I didn’t have the hugest streak going like other rappers. But now there’s more groundwork, so people respect it because they see that, ‘Okay, he dropped two previous albums, he’s been gone, and he came back with this record ‘Hustle Hard.’’ So people have definitely got their eyes on me.”
The making of “Hustle Hard (Remix)”
“For the remix, I went to his Rick Ross’ crib and I was just talking about the record. He hadn't previously heard it so I told about the record and that I wanted him to be a part of it. Ross has always supported me throughout my whole entire career, which is dope.
“I ended up seeing Wayne when he had recently got out of jail. Wayne would always be at club Liv and he would always be rapping the record for me. He would be in different cities, requesting the record. He told me one day, ‘Yo, I would really like to be a part of that record.’ And you know I’ve always been a big Wayne fan. So I felt like that was definitely an honor for me to work with him.
“I ended up sending it to him and he sent me back the record like three days later. Ross’ version leaked and that’s the only reason the remix came so soon. I was like, ‘Since Ross’ version leaked, I might as well leak the whole entire remix.’ So I ended up putting a whole new verse on it, attaching Wayne’s verse, got it mixed, and then we put it out.”
The future for Ace Hood
“My main thing is knowing where I want to be in life. Knowing there are people that are counting on me. I used to wake up every single day and just be like, ‘I can’t let the people around me down.’ Not only that, but also wanting to be back on the music scene. Every artist wants to be on top and have that record. That was mainly [my motivation]. I had little girls on the way so that was extra motivation.
“I never read any comments. I never listened to the outside criticisms. I always knew what I was capable of as an artist. I knew that regardless of maybe not being the hottest at that point in time, I knew that I was a force to be reckoned with. I kept that mentality and continued to stay humble. I let my music and my grind speak.
“It’s been a long road and it’s only going to get longer. Everything that I’ve been through, I don’t regret it. I love that I was able to drop two albums. I definitely feel good about my career, I had my ups and downs. I definitely have my share of bad criticism throughout it. That’s sort of like a gift and a curse, but I made it fuel.
“I’m a firm believer in God. That’s how I live my life. I believe without him nothing is possible. If I keep positive thoughts and keep moving, there’s no way I can lose. You have to always think of what’s a fact. If you’re hot you’re hot, if you’re not you’re not. That’s just really what it is.”