In the realm of Dal­las hip-hop, Pr¥nce Ace stands as a rising force, and his latest pro­ject, ‘New Vice City,’ is a test­a­ment to his ded­ic­a­tion and artistry. The album, a vivid explor­a­tion of the Dal­las music scene, draws inspir­a­tion from the city’s mul­ti­fa­ceted land­scape and bears the mark of col­lab­or­a­tion with a diverse array of loc­al tal­ent. Pr¥nce Ace dives into the three acts that struc­ture the album, each delving into dif­fer­ent themes and con­trib­ut­ing to an over­arch­ing nar­rat­ive that reflects per­son­al growth, rela­tion­ships, and a sense of urgency in the final act. Facing set­backs, includ­ing can­celed col­lab­or­a­tions and fund­ing chal­lenges, Pr¥nce Ace nav­ig­ates these obstacles with resi­li­ence, shap­ing ‘New Vice City’ into a test­a­ment of his authen­ti­city and determ­in­a­tion. As a found­ing mem­ber of Grey­Spot Syn­dic­ate Records, he emphas­izes the import­ance of artist­ic col­lab­or­a­tion and sib­ling-like com­pet­i­tion with­in the group. Influ­enced by legends like Tupac, Eminem, and Nas, Pr¥nce Ace weaves their impact into his unique style, show­cas­ing a com­mit­ment to lyr­i­cism and pos­it­ive influ­ence. With over a mil­lion streams, Pr¥nce Ace looks for­ward to future pro­jects, includ­ing joint ven­tures and a solo endeavor, mark­ing just the begin­ning of what he envi­sions as his time to shine.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on the release of ‘New Vice City.’ Can you share with us the inspir­a­tion behind the album and what led you to col­lab­or­ate with such a diverse range of Dal­las-based artists?

Thank you; I def­in­itely poured a lot of myself into the pro­ject, and I am very proud of the res­ult. The album itself, New Vice City, in its simplest raw form, truly came from a con­ver­sa­tion I had about the land­scape of the music scene in Dal­las and how much it feels like Grand Theft Auto, jok­ingly. In more ser­i­ous­ness, the name­sake comes from the fact that Dal­las is a hub for music, crime, cul­ture, drugs, art and murder, like Vice City in the 80s, hence NEW Vice City was foun­ded. When it came to the col­lab­or­a­tions it was my fore­most goal to show­case Dal­las artistry. There is so much diverse tal­ent here in Dal­las, so a huge focus for me was work­ing with as many Dal­las-based artists as pos­sible, from the video shoots, to pro­duc­tion, fea­tures, cov­er art etc. Top to bot­tom. I Couldn’t be prouder of my city.

You’ve struc­tured the album into three acts. Could you elab­or­ate on the themes explored in each act and how they con­trib­ute to the over­all nar­rat­ive of ‘New Vice City’?

Act 1 was, for lack of a bet­ter phrase, some Dal­las shit. A shoutout to my city, my bros, street shit mostly, the raw grimy side of things that is over­looked at times. I am proud of the man I have become, but that nev­er means I have to be ashamed of who I was and the city that helped mold me. So, Act 1 is a ghetto love let­ter to Dal­las in a way, clos­ing out with the track ‘To Whom It May Con­cern’ as a call to action to keep Dal­las beau­ti­ful and not accept injustice.
Act 2 was me walk­ing the audi­ence through what is all too often the path­way of rela­tion­ships com­ing up in Dal­las, espe­cially rela­tion­ships where one is forced to juggle a vast amount of per­son­al ambi­tion and plans for the future fam­ily. 6lack said it like this; “… know I’m stuck between what I love, and who I love, and I know it’s unfair.” This part of the album starts with an ambi­tious artist com­ing home from a long day, and night, at the stu­dio, to a dis­ap­poin­ted spouse. From there it flashes back to how they met and walks us through the phases of early love, before arriv­ing at the song Ms Under­stood that serves as a con­ver­sa­tion of two lov­ers at a cross­roads. From there, ima­gine a light time skip to that same artist mak­ing it big with the next song Ms Ratchet. Wheth­er or not ‘Ms Under­stood’ ever became ‘Mrs Under­stood’ I left up to the audi­ence to decide.
Act 3 closes the album; in this con­clu­sion every song was writ­ten as if it were the last thing I would ever get to rap. Ask­ing myself ques­tions like; what if I had to speak to my son from bey­ond the grave through my music? What if I was Botham Jean? ‘To Whom It May Con­cern’ was writ­ten with these same thoughts in mind but closes Act 1 with a fore­shad­ow­ing nod. More selfishly I asked myself, what if I only got one song to use as the reas­on a per­son unfa­mil­i­ar with my music should become a fan. Almost like a “This is him” photo when a girl is telling her friend about a boy she likes, my cur­rent fans could use Act 3 songs to try to show their friends who I am and why they like me.

Act three of the album is craf­ted with a sense of urgency, as if con­vey­ing final mes­sages. Can you delve into the mind­set and emo­tions that influ­enced the cre­ation of this act?

As I said pre­vi­ously, Act 3 was, in my most self-serving mind, a way to con­vert non-fans into fans, cas­u­al fans into die-hard fans, and die-hard fans into sol­diers that feel the need to con­vert all non-believ­ers, lol. My self­less mind wants Act 3 to serve as my leg­acy, music that will out­live me, music that’s time­less.

‘To Whom it May Con­cern’ is high­lighted as a track fore­shad­ow­ing act three. Can you share the sig­ni­fic­ance of this track in the con­text of the album’s nar­rat­ive?

The song itself is a let­ter to myself, to my cul­ture, to my city and to the nation; I speak on what type of mind­sets I believe will be bene­fi­cial to keep us mov­ing for­ward, while pay­ing respect to those that paid the ulti­mate price to get us here.

The album encountered set­backs, includ­ing can­celed col­lab­or­a­tions and fund­ing issues. How did you over­come these chal­lenges, and how did they shape the final form of ‘New Vice City’?

Well hell, that’s life, isn’t it? Plans change and we must “adapt or die.” So, I dealt with everything that came my way the best I could while main­tain­ing my integ­rity and the integ­rity of the album. One last minute change I had to make was remov­ing a sample from the song ‘Anthem’ I had a snip­pet of a very well-known song in Dal­las, but it didn’t clear and was the last hurdle hold­ing up my album after already mak­ing sev­er­al budget changes to move the pro­ject for­ward. The 3 second snip­pet was going to cost me $2,500 so I just decided to remove it and push for­ward. In the end, the song isn’t hurt by its remov­al, but I really got accus­tomed to that ver­sion of the song, but like I said that’s life, can’t get too com­fort­able and com­pla­cent, so I adap­ted and pushed through. What I got out of it was a fin­ished product that was even more ori­gin­al and self-stand­ing because of it, more my own, so it all worked out for the bet­ter.

You’ve encour­aged the Dal­las com­munity to stand up in sup­port of the album. How import­ant is com­munity sup­port for emer­ging artists, and what impact do you hope ‘New Vice City’ will have on the Dal­las rap scene?

One hand washes the oth­er, hav­ing that loc­al sup­port means so much to me, and is bene­fi­cial to any artist, estab­lished or just start­ing. Being able to have that sense of sup­port is a huge source of con­fid­ence, and it’s one of the big things miss­ing from Dal­las in my opin­ion. Dal­las is often known for hate, called ‘The City of Hate’ by some. In the music scene spe­cific­ally, often artists have to make it big some­where else then come home to get love, or even take me or example; I was con­tac­ted to do this magazine inter­view by a pub­lic­a­tion based in Lon­don, and there are places in Dal­las that still don’t recog­nize me. Don’t get me wrong though, I love my city, and plenty of places give me that love back ten­fold. That is the impact I was hop­ing for with the pro­ject, to show the city and every­one in it; Yes, we can and should branch out, but we have all we need to make great­ness right here at home in Dal­las, too.

Can you share your exper­i­ence as one of the found­ing mem­bers of Grey­Spot Syn­dic­ate Records and how it has influ­enced your artist­ic jour­ney, espe­cially in the cre­ation of ‘New Vice City’?

Grey­Spot is my fam­ily. The core is made up of people I lit­er­ally grew up with. I met GSS Udon when I was 14 or 15 and we have been bros ever since, nev­er fell out, always been sol­id. I met J4 Mane through him not too long after, and my broth­er Steez Ron­in shortly after that, and we all watched each other’s backs com­ing up in Dal­las. The group con­tin­ued grow­ing from there like a mod­ern-day Wu-Tang Clan. Artist­ic­ally, we all com­pete, col­lab­or­ate and push each oth­er to be bet­ter, like sib­ling rivalry. Whenev­er one of us raises the bar someone in the group matches it or passes it and we keep push­ing. So ‘New Vice City’ is my turn in the spot­light, but I know one of my broth­ers is com­ing to set the bar even high­er, so we nev­er stop grow­ing. We are adults now but no mat­ter where I go, I’ll have their backs until my dying day.

Your influ­ences include icon­ic names like Tupac, Eminem, and Nas. How have these artists shaped your approach to music, and in what ways do you incor­por­ate their influ­ence into your unique style?

Being a lyr­i­cist, those artists, and many oth­ers, have had a huge impact on me. Tupac and Eminem, spe­cific­ally, got me through a lot as a kid, and are big sources of inspir­a­tion, words of affirm­a­tion, and the impact they both have had on the rap game as a whole is awe-inspir­ing. I nev­er met either but that is the beauty of music, being able to reach out and touch people in a pos­it­ive way without ever being in the same room. I hope to be able to do the same for as many people as I can with my time on this plan­et.

As a true ‘Renais­sance’ man, you handle vari­ous aspects of your music inde­pend­ently. How does this level of con­trol con­trib­ute to the authen­ti­city and unique­ness of your sound?

Oh, it is unpar­alleled, so much work, true, but as I was actu­ally just telling a young­er artist yes­ter­day, there is a big dif­fer­ence between hir­ing someone to do some­thing for you because you don’t know how to do the job and hir­ing someone to do a job you no longer want to do. I can do what I need to on my own but recog­nize when someone can do it bet­ter or when I have reached the point, I can’t do it myself, or I per­son­ally am tired of doing a par­tic­u­lar job. Main dif­fer­ence is, since I can do it, whatever the ‘it’ is that day, and have per­son­al exper­i­ence in vari­ous areas, I know a job well done when I see it, and I value it and pay the price to accom­mod­ate it. Per­haps most import­antly, I know an over­priced over­val­ued attempt to screw me when I see it too.

With over a mil­lion streams and a grow­ing pres­ence in the industry, what’s next for Pr¥nce Ace? Any upcom­ing pro­jects or col­lab­or­a­tions that your fans can look for­ward to?

Actu­ally yes, it’s funny you asked that, because I have always had a bad habit, that I am now real­iz­ing is just anoth­er one of my super­powers since I learned to har­ness it, of start­ing my next pro­ject as I am fin­ish­ing my cur­rent. So, I have two joint pro­jects in the works as we speak, “12 piece” a fol­low-up sequel to a joint pro­ject by the name of “3 piece” with artist CMoneyy, as well as “EoS(Exiles of Soci­ety)” with my broth­er Tony Nash II, known as Just2. I have also begun pro­duc­tion, writ­ing and even record­ing my next solo pro­ject already as well. I am far from done, just get­ting star­ted as far as I am con­cerned. It’s almost My Time.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.