Over the years, Aceyalone (pronounced Ace-ee-alone) has released enough smart, meandering rhymes that his collection could have driven even the most dedicated hip-hop heads to boredom — maybe even himself, if his last two albums are any indication. After a sensible collaboration with RJD2 on the critically acclaimed Magnificent City (2006), he released Lightning Strikes and Aceyalone & the Lonely Ones. The former was made up entirely of dancehall beats, and the latter is an ode to swing and big band music. Both were a change from Aceyalone's socially conscious raps and his past as a nurturer of new, open-flow MCs. But for hip-hop's lyrical scholars, Aceyalone is still a deity of sorts. He's got far-reaching influence, a versatile flow, and longevity in a game defined by turnover. He's an MC's MC. If many of the lyrically conscious rappers from California that proceeded Aceyalone sound like him, it's probably because he played a hand in their development. In the early 1990s, the Los Angeles rapper founded Project Blowed, the world's longest-running open mic freestyle night. He was also a founding member of legendary underground groups Freestyle Fellowship, Haiku D'Etat, and The A-Team with Abstract Rude. Today, Aceyalone remains a cornerstone of underground West Coast hip-hop — more influential than widely rotated.
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