With a dash of The Pharcyde’s outsider aura and buoyant rapping, a hint of Wiz Khalifa’s blunted charisma, and a dynamism that’s hard to teach, Maryland rapper Ace Cosgrove is another in a line of talented DMV-area rappers who pull influence from all over the map to create a spirited blend all their own (loose affiliate GoldLink springs to mind).
Cosgrove’s freewheeling rhymes on new mixtape Simple Criticism careen across personal details, metaphors, everyday scenes, and larger ideas about the world. His style rarely provides a linear path, but it befits a young rapper filtering different influences into an attempt to make sense of a chaotic world. Standouts “Utopia,” “Can You Blame Me” and “Forever” nod to past sounds without feeling stuck in sludgy nostalgia. It’s raw and imperfect, but its finer moments show a spark missing in many young rappers.
Listen to Ace Cosgrove’s Simple Criticism and watch video for single “War Wounds” below.