Label: We The Best Music, Inc./IDJ
When your debut features Plies, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, T-Pain and Akon, and you're DJ Khaled's artist, becoming an afterthought is a good possibility. But Florida's Ace Hood holds his own, ripping through outstanding production -- soulful samples ("Gutta"), melancholy acoustics ("Stressin'") and epic synths ("Can't See Y'all") -- with the exuberance of a thug fresh off the streets. Never breaking character, he stresses that he doesn't "cuddle" with his special lady on the smooth, Trey Songz-featuring "Ride." This album won't change rap, but Ace is a welcome edition to the Miami movement.