As more and more great rappers find the underground is the perfect place to camp -- for the respect and freedom, if not the royalties and pay-offs -- records like Aceyalone's Love & Hate will, fortunately, become a more common occurrence. Released on Project Blowed, an open-mic night that gradually morphed into a winning record label, the album is a simple, straight-ahead match of excellent MC with great producers. Four of the best tracks come from PMD, front-loaded and featuring big-pimpin' beats and a clutch of cutting, digital effects. Def Jux's RJD2 contributes fractured, glittering productions to "Lost Your Mind" and "Takeoff," and the same label's El-P drops by to produce and drop rhymes over the dense, apocalyptic "City of Shit." Aceyalone also rises to the challenge on another high-profile underground soundclash, "Lights Out" featuring Antipop Consortium, picking up and casting off a dozen vocal pseudonyms in a single verse. His rhymes are among the best of his career, and he covers a lot of ground over 15 cuts; nearly every time he makes a record, he makes it clear that rap music has so much possibility that's never dreamed of by most on a major label. Whether he's trading licks with Oakland hero Casual on a hard-hitting jam ("Let Me Hear Sumn"), or talking directly to the listener, recounting a depressing, mood-of-the-country conversation during an airline flight ("Ms. Amerikka"), he makes it clear that, when it comes to the West Coast ten years on from the G-funk era, Aceyalone means much more than Snoop Dogg.
AllMusic Review by John Bush