The Freestyle Fellowship was one of the first underground, progressive hip-hop groups that sprung up on the West Coast in the 1990s as an alternative to the “gangsta” rap that began to dominate the mainstream. Using jazzy backing tracks and focusing on the improvisational art of the freestyle, the Fellowship brought audiences music with smarts and swagger.
Aceyalone is one of the veterans of that group, and he’s been releasing solo albums since 1995. On this track off the Freestyle Fellowships's upcoming October release The Promise, he’s the first one rapping after the hook -- the one who says, “Minds move mountains and madness is beautiful” a few seconds into his verse, which just about sums up the kind of hip-hop artist that Aceyalone is.
On Monday, Aceyalone tops a bill chock full of underground rap gods from the upper echelons at the Mercury Lounge.