Ace Diamond
-Girl's Best Friend-

Ace Diamond believes that good music comes from deep within the soul and not necessarily from the East and West coasts. To prove his point he recorded a plethora of songs in a variety of rap styles, insisting on perfection every step of the way. The result is Girls' Best Friend.

The first thing one notices is the slick DVD packaging and professional full-color artwork, showing that this "playa" will spare no expense. With credits formatted like movie credits, the DVD format is played to its fullest, right down to the well-deserved R rating for strong language.

The album opens with "The Message" where Ace Diamond explains his intent to make music for people who appreciate music, not just pabulum for kids. "Good Guys" soon follow with pizzicato strings, eerie yet pulsing bass, and a hard-edged rap that alternates with a sung, R&B style chorus. "Keepin' It Gangsta" is, of course, in the gangsta genre with very sparse instrumentation of drums, synth-horns and bass. "Playa Hater" is another vocal segment about an incident in a bar with a woman which segways into "You Can't", a rap illustrating "Playa Hater" where a woman dares to mess with this "playa." The song begins as a vast departure from the rest of the album with lush strings and piano, a change that soon boils down to an angry, minimally played rap. "Don't Want Ya Girl" is another rap about being a "playa" with edgy vibes, a throbbing bass and sung chorus. Ace Diamond announces "Fort Wayne, you're not ready for this" in "Make Noise", while female vocals, appropriately sultry and seductive, make a nice change of pace in the title track as Ace Diamond raps "Money and women / It's all the same." In addition to "Make Noise", "That Girl" is where the album earns its "R" rating as Ace Diamond pines away for a women he wants but can't have despite the fact that "Ladies love me because I lick my lips." A bit of soul searching goes on in "Tell Me Why" as Diamond wonders why people die senseless deaths, ending in a hypnotic extended outro of piano, guitar, and vocal questioning. The final track, "A.I." has more piano, intoxicating female vocals and a slight samba feel.

As always, Monastic Chambers has done an outstanding job in recording and production. Like the slick artwork, the sound is dead-on and stands easily with anything from the coasts. This excellent rap album is available at Borders, Barnes & Nobles, and The Team Jay-Hova Barbershop.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, September 2002.