Ace HoodBeing the first artist to blast off of DJ Khaled’s We the Best Records (through Island Def Jam) means responsibility. It means hard work and dedication in order to make the dream of many come true. Coming from Florida bears pressure as well. Following acts of Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Pitbull, and Flo Rida isn’t a task you would deem simple. There’s no “by the book” way of achieving anything. However, Ace Hood manages to ring bells in the minds of more people with each passing day and every verse he lays.

Utilizing an aggressive vocal style that southern rap historians would call “textbook Florida,” Ace looms with a presence that can’t be overlooked for long. His first album, Gutta, produced such singles as “Ride” and “Cash Flow” marking territory as someone who has the ability to make strong and versatile hits. With DJ Khaled behind the scenes of his music, Ace has an energy to compete, leads to him making the “big” record.

Since his appearance in the cypher of BET Hip Hop Awards with the likes of Jadakiss and Fabolous, among other well regarded MCs, Ace surprises people with his ambitious attitude. That attitude and translates into new singles like “Overtime” and “Champion.” In addition to pushing his second album, Ruthless, Ace Hood covers many topics and explains why he approaches everything like he’s underground. When someone describes an MC’s voice as having “starvation” in it, you have to at least hear what that person has say. Accordingly, Ace is more than willing to take over from there. “Cash Flow” was your first single on the debut album, but “Ride” was your strongest song. What’s the approach this time?

Ace Hood: I just want to make something that’s more versatile, more of my life and more of what I’ve been through. The first album was introducing me as Gutta: going hard, going hard, going hard. This time, I’m Ruthless and I showing you why I’m ruthless. It’s my grind and how I work. Besides the single “Overtime,” what else are you looking at as potential singles?

Ace Hood: I got “Champion out as my second single. It’s blowing up big and definitely going to be a huge record. Then I’ll drop another record with Jeremih. On “Champion,” you have a line about speaking with your mom about being famous and on TV because your dad was a poet. Can you discuss your family a little bit for me?

Ace HoodAce Hood: I remember one day we were on the couch eating breakfast and I just said, “One day that’s going to be me on that TV screen walking on that red carpet.” My stepfather was actually into music and that’s what I was describing. How did you end up as DJ Khaled’s first artist?

Ace Hood: He has this annual birthday party bash and I went down there just trying to perform. We linked up, got my demo recording ready, and a few months later I proved myself to L.A. Reid at Def Jam. Khaled said something that was interesting to me. He said, “Ace has a starvation in his voice.” Can you breakdown what he meant?

Ace Hood: It’s just my hunger and my grind. I work harder than the next man in the game. We weren’t handed anything on silver platter with a silver spoon. I worked hard to get where I am. I’m on my second LP and people may not know it. I’m still going hard like I don’t have a deal. I see a lot of guys trying to be stars just as they get into the game, and I don’t act like that. While you sipping yo bubbly, I’m going hard. When you partying, I’m going hard. You see me at a club, I’m there to perform. If you don’t have a stage, where your bar at? You don’t have a bar, where your couch at? That’s the mind frame I’m in. You have a very ambitious sound in your music that has a very big sound behind it. Is this something you formulated to match DJ Khaled’s personality?

Ace Hood: I’ve always had that. We make hit records and I just go hard. I come from a city where we’ve never had anyone come out of. I’m the first representative of my city right now aka Billville. Will the album’s sound be fairly consistent of the production of “Champion?”

Ace Hood: It’s very diverse. The Runners did that song as well as most of my album, but we have records targeting the ladies and the streets. The “big” record is just the records that we make. If you didn’t sign with DJ Khaled, how different would Ace Hood’s music sound?

Ace Hood: Khaled has a big presence and a lot of energy, but I think my music would sound the same. I haven’t really thought about it that much because I go hard. I know it would still be great. How much creative input does he have on the process?

Ace Hood: Pretty much he says, “Go in!” That’s it. I just know to keep that hunger to be great. What was your approach going into the BET Hip Hop Awards show cipher not too long ago?

Ace Hood: I knew coming in that I was the underdog and I just kept that in mind. I knew that the elite were going to be there, such as Jadakiss and Fabolous, so I just did my thing and went hard. It opened up cats eyes about me lyrically and was a big look for me. Did it gain you more respect or feature money?

Ace HoodAce Hood: I got more respect and features from that. Can you tell me about the concept of the “Champion” video?

Ace Hood: I wanted people to be inspired by the song and not just give the everyday approach to the video. I showed a student that went to school and pursued education, a girl with the drive to play football on a male team, a basketball player trying to make varsity even though he was undersized, and of course, me and my ambition to be an MC. In the video it depicted you as working in fast food and pushing CDs. Was that based on something factual?

Ace Hood: Nah, I just wanted to show a different grind other than a street hustler. Rick Ross and 50’s beef has included DJ Khaled and threatened families. Do you feel it’s necessary to address anything in that?

Ace Hood: Nah, DJ Khaled is his own man and I don’t really know what’s going on in that situation. I know we’re getting money and that’s more important than talking.