Call Me Ace is an independent hip hop artist, millennial professional and disruptor who challenges the status quo. The term “more than an artist” seems to be thrown around amongst rappers in today’s day of age. However, the Bay Area artist is the perfect example of this term. Aside from being an MC, Ace is also the Global Program Manager for Music Label Partnerships at YouTube. If that alone doesn’t convince you that this man is a hustler, nothing will. His music has been featured in NBA 2K21 Next Gen and in Patrick Mahomes’ comeback video.
Ace released his sophomore album Out Of Office earlier this year. He sat down to talk about this album, making the move from the East Coast to the Bay Area, being a businessman, and more.
Let’s start with your introduction to music, who were your early inspirations, and when did you start making music?
My early inspirations were Snoop Dogg, Beenie Man, also Boyz II Men oddly enough. I grew up in an eclectic household. My mom would have my brother, my sister, and myself pretend to be the Jackson 5 or something (laughs). That’s how I got into performing, and just memorizing lyrics and singing them on-stage. From there I started creating lyrics of my own. At that time I was on the East coast, so it was early mixtape Lil Wayne, Dipset, Young Jeezy. The hip-hop artists I gravitated towards always had that element of their personal life within their lyrics.
When did you make the move from the East coast to the Bay Area?
I went out here for business school, and that was in 2014. So I’ve been out for for 6/7 years which is pretty wild to say. I never thought I was gonna live in California. I’m from Bridgeport, Connecticut then I lived in New York for about eight years. It’s definitely warmer here, even when it’s 50 or 60 degrees it’s still warmer (laughs).
Have you been in the Bay Area long enough to be influenced and take inspirations from Oakland?
Definitely. I didn’t understand E-40 or Too $hort’s legacy to a certain extent, until I came out here. If you haven’t been to the Bay, there definitely is a whole different culture out here. Not just music, it’s fashion, lifestyle etc. Before I came here all I knew was E-40 “Tell Me When To Go”, but there’s so much more than that. He created this DIY artist template that many artists have used. I also have made a lot of connections with people here, shout out to Sean T, who has produced for Mac Dre (“Feelin’ Myself”). He produced my first EP that I released back in 2016.
Aside from rapping you’re the Global Program Manager for Music Label Partnerships at YouTube, can you talk more about how you got that job?
It’s kind of wild. Before YouTube I was at Facebook, before that I was in business school, and before that I was working a non-profit education role in operations. Just thinking about all the different steps that I had taken from where I started to where I’m at now, it was always one thing that led to another. All glory to god, because I couldn’t plan it. If you would’ve told me 10 years ago where I’m working at now I would’ve called you a liar, you know. YouTube saw that I knew the media and tech from Facebook, as well as experience in the music industry. I’m leveraging all of the experience working for all of those years at YouTube.
Do you think all of those years at Facebook & now YouTube has given you an advantage as an artist?
Honestly I feel like anything that we do, if we’re just learning something new, can be used as an advantage. When you think of advantages, you think of capabilities. When I had nothing, my only capability was thinking outside the box, that became my advantage. How can I put my music in front of people, when I don’t even have a dollar to my name. That became my advantage. Regardless at wherever I am in life, I’m always trying to learn something new. It’s really up to you, are you learning, or are you just existing? I’m just trying to learn, so I can get better.
Shoutout J-Dot music. He sent me a slew of beats, matter of fact I think I hit him on a random day, I was just itching for beats. I just sat down and started perusing through. That song in particular, it was a blessing for sure. It’s interesting when you see kind of where you are in your mind , and where you wanna go versus where other people perceive where you are & what you already achieved. What I mean is that I don’t think I’m anywhere close to the image of the next step of where I wanna be at. So I’m hustling, I’m pushing through. Other people may think I’ve made it, because Patrick Mahomes used my song in his video. I’m thankful of course, but made it is bigger to me than all of this. I’m still hustling like I ain’t got nothing. The track represents when you’re trying to achieve something, what are you focused on? What is actually driving you? I remember sleeping on floors, to where I’m at now, but the hustle remains the same. I can’t be effected by a change of circumstances.
What can fans expect from your sophomore album, Out Of Office?
That and more (laughs). The narrative of somebody pursuing their dream or their calling, and watching it grow. That’s a beautiful thing. If you’re someone that’s juggling multiple things/priorities, and you’re just trying to get your passion off the ground, then this album is definitely for you.
Out of Office by Call Me Ace is out now on all streaming platforms.