From STACE’s website

Many artists go through stages of doubting their greatness and ability to carry forth their art in an impactful way. New York City’s STACE is not that artist. He believes in himself in such a fashion, he’s created a screenplay scored by his own lyrics, his own beats and a borrowed concept. The Talented Mr. Ridgeway is an incredibly polished project of epic musical proportions. At times, STACE has so much to say, he lets the instruments in his beats and the diversity in his voice carry on and on. Not to say it’s not an enjoyable piece, the album contains some of the most melodic beats over descriptive rhymes you’ll hear this year.

The issue becomes how great can one be at such an early stage in his career? It’s a good problem to have, if you’re STACE who has been a musician almost since birth. The album opens with “The Introduction,” an interlude with a woman’s voice in a faux British accent who describes the MC as a creative genius right out of the gate. Again, STACE shines musically when he lets the music speak for him and with “My Name is STACE,” he spares no pomp or circumstance in telling us who he is and why we should listen to him. He drops lines questioning “who got vision like me?” with ease.

It’s convincing, impressive and, at over 14 tracks including skits and interludes, there’s no room not to believe that we’re listening to the second coming of hip-hop since Rakim. “Get High” is the resident smoke song and is one of the best performances on the album. Here, STACE may as well be at a podium as he accepts no words from naysayers and flips metaphors about “throwing salt in the game” like a true wordsmith.  The bass line is excellent and surely a feat to spit lyrics about  how his semen “gives new faces.”

It’s crass in ways that are surprising but will keep you on your toes as a listener. “Hold Up I’m Ready” shows off the beat diversity as the album ambles on for a few more tracks. Here’s the thing, it’s not that the music is excellent, because there are some really incredible parts to the album (check for “Movie Poster” and “Star” in particular). The Talented Mr. Ridgeway is a bit too long in the tooth, though. By song nine, we’ve gotten the point but, like many good writers know, sometimes it can be too easy to go on being verbose instead of laconic.

The final curtain call could have been more creative in terms of content and for the next go around, STACE should lose the British accent antics but The Talented Mr. Ridgeway is an incredibly solid project. A bit too heavy on the “I’m the best” rhetoric but hey, it’s not bragging if it’s true, right?

10 Responses

  1. Mobbin'InCali

    Great write up! I love this album. I have listened to it from beginning to end multiple times. And just like watching a movie — everytime I listen, I catch something new. STACE is bringing realness and relevance back to not just hip-hop, but music in general. I have followed him for quite some time and the real listeners and fans can see/hear his progress.
    Thanks for this article!

  2. Kevin Taylor

    Very solid write up. I have the album, and I must say, it's an interesting twist on music, and a direct contrast from what's out today. From YoLamarra to Star, to me, it's nice contribution to music!

  3. Shari Foster

    I agree. This is an incredibly solid album. I think everything was needed.. 14 tracks but I couldn't pinpoint anything and say it could have been left out.

  4. Darius

    Def one of the few albums that can be played start to finish. I’ve been listening for a while and this project shows how he’s grown as an artist. There aren’t many who can write, produce, sing, rap and put together a COMPLETE body of work. It says alot about how serious he takes his work and his ability to use his incredible talent, no pun intended lol

  5. Xavier Poole

    In my opinion I always thought your music was very different and always had a twist in it that made it pop. Its not like the music today when all songs are about the same thing, and that’s why your music has more quality and outreach.

  6. Jama Alaka

    I'm gonna review this from two standpoints:

    – my creative standpoint says the beats are cool…they sometimes compete with the lyrics tho for me…I would turn them down a notch…as far as the lyrics..being a writer myself I LOVE word play…and well dude is good at that…make you wanna attach them as your caption to make your picture extra special on Instagram lol…yeah there's quite a few those…I'm gonna make sure I have my pen and paper ready next time I take the album for a spin…real clever shit…but I agree with the writer the faux accents…they could be left out…cheesy and just well…bad.

    – my ADD standpoint…it's long…I guess once you scrap out the accents parts…it's not really a long album…BUT most songs are over 5 minutes…yeah my brain is already ready to move on to the next track by the time minute 4 is hitting the 30 second mark. I get it though…I try to jumble a lot into one paragraph when I write…but I think he should lean more towards the keep 'em wanting more approach…for that I couldn't listen to it everyday…but a long commute…a chill night with a glass of wine…yeah…that could be a Stace night.

    Overall…I would def recommend it…but it would take a true hip hopper to appreciate it.

  7. Cathy (@cathys2014)

    Great review! I always like to hear what other people think and feel Music is such a personal experience, for the artist AND the listener. I hear something new every time I listen. I have to thank STACE for revealing things about his lyrics via Twitter or his website. Every line has depth.

  8. Erin Atchley-Jones

    Great article showcasing an amazing artist! I also have this album & feel that the way it was put together made it all flow so smoothly. I have my favorites I play on repeat & I hope others pick up the album to see just how solid of an artist STACE really is!

  9. Onyana Rosa

    Great album-a thorough piece of work. STACE is an artist we need to keep watching.

  10. Shareese Dukes

    Nicely put, Mr.Ridgeway is DEFinetly a talented guy and he demonstrates that through his word play. Lyrics so sick I have to sometimes press rewind to hear it one more time. #LoveHim


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