Interview: The Time Ace Hood Got Evicted

The We The Best rapper talks about how he struggled to get by and how he hustled to get back.

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Complex Original

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At times, Ace Hood’s career seemed like a punchline. Back in 2009, his most memorable moment was arguably #uknowuAceHoodwhen—a Twitter hashtag which everyone and their mother used to make fun of his shortcomings as a rapper. As mean-spirited as it was, there was no denying that he had shortcomings. His first two albums, 2008’s Gutta and 2009’s Ruthless, didn’t spawn any major hits and didn’t sell particularly well.

What fans who were quick to crack wise didn’t know was that after his second album, the 23-year-old rapper was struggling financially, professionally, and personally. But as a firm believer in positive thinking, he didn’t let it get him down. He cut himself off from the world and hit the studio. After about a year, he came back with “Hustle Hard”—the biggest song of his career and one of the best songs of this year so far.

With what he promises will be his most personal album to date, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, dropping on August 9, we got on the horn with Ace and had him tell the story of how he made it back and how he’s living proof that closed mouths don't get fed on this boulevard.

As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)

The low point


Taking time away

“I took off time so I could find my sound and my niche. I didn’t want to come back with a third project unless it was nothing less than huge. I took time off, stayed in the lab, and recorded. I didn’t travel anywhere, wasn’t going to any clubs, or anything like that. All I wanted to do was record and get my sound right.

“That was totally me [putting myself in the studio]. The label wasn’t calling me or nothing. I would just wake up every day and be like, ‘I need to do this for myself, I have to find that sound.’ I knew what my circumstances was. I felt like, ‘I’ve gotta get my shit together.’

“I’m not saying I was doing anything wrong but it’s a business and if you’re not producing the right amount numbers...I knew that things for me at that point were on the edge. It wasn’t no secret about that. A lot of people may have counted me out.

The turning point

“The turning point for me was when I started putting out mixtapes. I put out like maybe six mixtapes within like five or six months. My mixtapes started growing on people. The turning point for me was when I put out my official mixtape, The Statement—that’s the one that had ‘Hustle Hard’ on it.

“I shot a video that I did a freestyle to and people responded so well that I dropped the mixtape right after that. As soon as I dropped the mixtape, that had to be the turning point in which I was like, ‘This could be my reinvention of myself. This could be my time to come back into the game.’"

The making of “Hustle Hard”


The making of “Hustle Hard (Remix)”


The future for Ace Hood


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