Prince Paul, Aceyalone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Prince Paul, Aceyalone

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Aceyalone was a founding member of the Freestyle Fellowship, a group that countered gangsta culture with jazzy beats and abstract rhymes in the early 90s. He released a couple solo discs later that decade; they seemed groundbreaking at the time but now sound unnecessarily cryptic and subdued. But by 2001, when he released Accepted Eclectic, he'd developed an intriguing new persona--an easygoing guy with a mile-wide cranky streak. On "I Cant Complain" he responds to all manner of evil and injustice with the mantra "I'm healthy, I'm alive, I can't complain." But "Five Feet" is an upbeat number about wanting to smack down dolts who stand too close to you. On the new Love & Hate (both records are on Project Blowed) he explores this personality split further, with an emphasis on the darker side, and though his insights are uglier than they are revelatory, his skills are undiminished. He performs here on a bill with Prince Paul, who has released an uneven new full-length called Politics of the Business (Razor & Tie). The problem may be that his 1999 album-length satire, A Prince Among Thieves, pretty much said all there is to say about the politics of the business. This one's a scattershot collection of guest raps held together by quickie skits and interludes--like the title track, which consists of Chuck D and Ice-T blandly stating truisms about the perils of showbiz over an innocuous backing track. But Paul's live show may make sense of the mess--it's some sort of theatrical event, with Paul narrating and performing skits with his accomplice Mr. Dead. Dynamic Vibrations and Minneapolis MC Eyedea open. Wednesday, June 18, 8 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton; 773-975-0505.

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