Ace Hashimoto – “Play Make Believe” review

Ace Hashimoto is a 31 year old rapper, producer, singer & songwriter from Chicago, Illinois coming up as a member of the now defunct Odd Future under his birth name brandUn DeShay in 2008. He would eventually depart the collective a couple years later as a result of a falling out with it’s de facto leader Tyler, The Creator but still saw success on his own by producing for the likes of Danny Brown & Chance the Rapper. It should also be noted that brandUn has dropped a small handful of mixtapes since his OF days, my personal favorite of the bunch being All Day DeShay: AM. But with a new moniker & a 5 year hiatus since his previous tape goldUn Child 2, the Chi-Town artist is re-emerging by dropping what he says “might be my first & last” full-length album.

“ZOMBIE: The Entrail-duction is a instrumental piece, but then the first actual song “GIRLS” is a summery duet with ph-1 as the 2 sing about enjoying sweet freedom. The track “O.M.W. (One Man Woman)” is an acoustic cut about being ready for his partner whereas Ace & Taichi Mukai come together to take what’s theirs on the synth-heavy “2NITE”.

Meanwhile on “TRAK STAR”, we get an instrumental that sounds like something The Neptunes would’ve produced in the late 90’s/early 2000’s along with lyrics about wanting his partner to stay the night whereas Sir Michael Rocks & Devin Morrison come together to talk about staying inside on the piano-heavy “Great Indoors”. Ta-Ra tags along for the funky “Bad Habits” helping Ace sing about not being a shitty person while he takes things in a more jazzier direction on the tender “Affection”.

The track “4Everything” has a more boom bap sound to it as he & Kero 1 tell their lovers they “ain’t no Casanova” before pondering why he returned to his ex when their love was no more on the glossy “Nice to Know You”. After the rock-influenced “Etika’s Interlude”, the final song “I Feel Fly” is a peppy duet with Mon’aerie that I wish was longer than 56 seconds & the closer “Ending Theme” is just a skit done in Japanese.

If you’re going into this expecting the hip hop sound Ace Hashimoto came up on, you might be disappointed because Play Make Believe is a full blown R&B album. The features are kinda hit or miss but Ace’s singing has improved, the songwriting is catchy & the production is super crisp. Whatever the future holds for him, I wish him nothing but the best.

Score: 3.5/5

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