Saturday Night: Ace Hood at Club Premier

Ace Hood
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Club Premier, Fort Lauderdale

Better Than:
Your standard birthday bash
Just a few years into his young career, local rapper Ace Hood has garnered mixed early feedback. Despite being named as one of XXL's "Freshmen of 09," and collaborating with some formidable names in the industry, Hood has yet to win everyone over.

Some critics point to his lack of charisma and inability to capture an audience onstage, while others feel that the sales for his debut release, Gutta, last year were subpar. Whether he's  scathed or praised, the fact remains that Hood is still in the early stages of his career. He'll have a chance to set the record straight with the release of his second album, Ruthless, on June 30.

Thus, there was serious anticipation this Saturday night at Club Premier in Fort Lauderdale, where Hood was set to do his thing in front of a packed house of energetic fans. His performance was meant to celebrate both his birthday (that actually took place a few weeks back on May 11) and the forthcoming release of Ruthless.

Club Premier began filling up fast after midnight, and while the dimly lit club may not be as lavish as some notable South Florida hotspots, the energy inside of the building was undeniable. Well over 1000 revelers filled the venue, dancing on the main floor, hanging out on the overhead upstairs balcony, or scattered somewhere in between. One thing you can always say about people in Broward County is that they come out in droves to support their own.

Around 2:30 a.m.Deepside Entertainment group G.U.N.S. took to the stage to kick things off. The group did well to keep the crowd's vibe going, but the only thing that really stood out about the troop was their youthful exuberance. Then Poe Boy artist Brisco took center stage. While not performing himself, Brisco instead preached like a spokesperson for the South Florida rap scene and urged people to get ready for Ace Hood.

Of course DJ Khaled, who discovered Hood in 2007 and later signed him to his We The Best label, was in the building, and amped up the crowd with his chants on the mike. And finally, Hood appeared.

He would perform for just under 45 minutes, with renditions of his songs "Ride," "Champion," and "Overtime" serving as his benchmark performances. Hood seemed in control of the situation throughout, but the only problem was that by the time he got fully going into his act, some of the crowd had already began to disperse. Still, to his credit, that did little to dampen his delivery or stage presence.

It's obvious that Hood is still working out his artistic kinks. But he only recently turned 21 and is still learning the ropes of the industry. He has good people behind him (Def Jam as well as We The Best Music) and still has plenty of time to grow. And all in all, Saturday was a good night for the local rapper, and surely a triumphant way for any aspiring artist to spend his birthday.
Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias:
Since Hood is a Broward native, many had already accepted him with open arms regardless of his musical talents.

Random Detail: Hood's performance was derailed early on due to an altercation by the bar that lead to several items being thrown, but besides that, his show went smoothly.

By the Way: The release of Hood's debut, Gutta, only reached #36 on the Billboard charts, but everyone is expecting sales for Ruthless to be much stronger.

-- Chris Robinson

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