Ace Hood is a special, unique and exceptionally talented artist. He has officially taken over the reins of his career by way of his Lifestyle brand and label, Hood Nation. He has created a lane for himself after leaving his mentor, DJ Khaled. Ace is not resting on the hits he created with Rick Ross, Wayne or Future. His vision is grounded yet highly spiritual and he speaks with a clarity that may escape many of his peers. We spoke to Ace at the Dana hotel during the Chicago stop of his Trust the Process tour. We touched on life as an independent artist and his latest project Trust the Process.
How has the transition been since you have become a free artist? What is different?
It’s been interesting. The workload and decision making has changed the most. I’m a decision maker. There are a lot more moving pieces, that people don’t realize exist when you are an independent artist. It’s a longer route, but it’s a route that I am happy that I chose. I get to steer my career in the direction I want it to go. I’m happy about that.
Talk about your single “3Bless,” what inspired it?
I feel like I’m over blessed. Triple 7’s are the significance of the title “3Bless.” It’s me being blessed man walking in the highest light. Walking in God’s light. 3Bless is an abundance. I shot the video from a perspective of being who you are with the madness around you. It’s kind of like being centered which is why I didn’t wear any jewelry. I’m just being plain but still representing the lifestyle if that makes sense. I feel like I in abundance when it comes to my mind space, fatherhood and the relationship with my woman. All of these are blessings to my career.
You say a few words in your response that automatically raise the vibration. Words like blessed and abundance. This brings me to a verse in the song when you say “aligning my chakras third eye monster” I’m curious as to what you are saying here. What are you building on?
I’m really opening up about my spiritual side. I’m really touching base with that, it’s really from that world and I am merging the two. I am a man of faith. I am a man who believes in a higher power. I carry that on me and I carry that inside me. I meditate and I believe many things and it helps.
Talk about how the meditation helps.
I meditate and it helps me be centered. It helps me think through things in the midst of times when things are most dysfunctional for me. It keeps me at ease. It helps me see clearly. It opens me up. I feel the energy. I know when scenarios are bad. It gives me intuition and feelings on people who are around me. It keeps me mindful of what’s around me. You are more in tune.
I can feel the energy in your music. Talk about your creative process. How do you go about creating a song?
I do it different ways. Sometimes I can build on an idea or a word. Mainly I never want to tap into too much of the “artist lifestyle”. I feel like its so vain to talk about my lifestyle as an artist because like so many other artists we talk about the cars and wealth. I choose to talk about what’s really real in my life, or what’s really real with the people that are in my life. I’m very much connected to my sisters and family and I’m always creating from that space. That’s the truest space for me. I think this is why all of my projects represent a moment. Life happens in moments so I want my projects to feel like that.
Let’s talk about your latest project Trust the Process. What does it mean to trust the process?
For me it means trust what’s happening to you, trust what’s happening around you. Be responsive to the signs. Often times we don’t like to respond to the signs. Life always gives us signs. Now if we want to pay attention or listen to them is your choice and life is based on a series of decisions. It’s about understanding what life is asking you and being able to pull through it and understand that things are going to work out for the greater good. If I vow to put my best foot forward I believe that things are going to work out for the greater good. I’m going to put my best foot forward so that it does and do everything I can to make sure it does. If you tell that truth to yourself and you live that out there is no real problem that you can’t handle. So it’s like trust that process. Trust the Process is like my reintroduction to the game.
At 28, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
I would say ask questions and be vocal. I wasn’t vocal when I was younger. I was never this vocal, this has happened over the last couple of years. I would tell him to be vocal and to have ideas because you are allowed to have ideas. You are allowed to have opinions and ask questions about everything if you don’t know. Never assume, always go to the source and figure it out. Go to the source have a conversation. Life is communication. That’s what I would tell my 18-year-old self.
You are part of a generation that finds itself in a conversation about what is real rap and what is not. What is rap to you?
Rap to me is hip-hop. That’s what I grew up on and I still study. I still watch the legends. I still watch basement rap battles. I’m very much connected to hip-hop.
Who did you come up listening to in Broward County?
I came up listening to Twista, Wayne, Soldier Slim, Juvenile. I listened to a lot of Canibus growing up. I used to love Bone Thugs back in the day.
What’s next for Ace Hood?
I owe my fans content. I owe them music. My main thing is to give that to the fans. I’m putting tours together, expanding my brand and expand my label Hood Nation the lifestyle brand. I’m continuing to build this infrastructure.
What encouraging words do you have for anyone pursuing their dreams?
Believe in yourself. It’s never a loss anytime you can invest in yourself and really seek the legacy of it.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I just want people to be able to say he was one of the dopest alive. I want people to say I was a man of integrity and stayed true and I affected the world.