When I first was told that I was supposed to review the new Aceyaone album I was excited since I had been a fan of him since the days of Freestyle Fellowship. As I pressed play to start the first track I understood what my friend had been talking about when he said „It’s not gonna be what you expect“. It was a million miles far from what I had expected. As dancehall tunes blasted from my headphones I wondered if I had uploaded the right album to my iPod. Aceys voice proved me wrong and I was shoked as I skipped through the rest of the songs only to find out that every single song on this album was as far from Hip Hop as the music industry is. So I stepped back from writing this review for a couple weeks. I had no idea what I was going to write or if I even wanted to listen to this album one more time. But I guess this is where the professional in you needs to step up. So I allowed it access to my, until that day dancehall free, play list and tried to listen to it with an open ear, which I always tell my readers to have. So here goes my more the most part unbiased review for Aceyalones “Lightning Strikes”.
At some point throughout the last months Eddie Hayes aka Aceyalone must have realized that it can’t go on like this. That the classic westcoast-underground-dogmas have lead into a one-way-street within the last years. That there’s a need for alternation. So instead of continuing to walk on worn-out paths, he’s taking a different route with his new album “Lightning strikes”. With assistance by producer Bionik he created a rough, slightly electrified dancehall sound, which at times reminds of “Mixed Blessings”, the album that Lotek Hifi were able to score lots of points with two years ago. And as fresh as on these 15 tracks Aceyalones verses haven’t sounded in a while. Although there are dispensable tracks like “Master” or “To the top”, you find songs like “Shango”, “Easy” which is joined by Chali 2na or “Sound gun” that besides the usual high technical level also convey the spirit of change. Dancehall fans will enjoy this and even though you might not like what he did on this album, you can’t deny that he did it well. So it’s good to hear that Aceyalone is planning to make a trip into the land of Jazz, Funk and World Music within the next months. If he puts the same effort into those projects as into “Lightning strikes” we sure are up for a treat.