Maryland’s Ace Cosgrove is one of several intriguing voices rising from the DMV, a hip-hop hotbed, with an identity perhaps defined by its lack of concrete cohesion. Many scenes and styles loosely thread a region as eclectic as it is fragmented. Young artists like Cosgrove represent the crossroads of uncommon ideas and sounds, his music as much indebted to golden age hip-hop as it is to southern rap or the future bounce that triangulates Virginia native GoldLink and Los Angeles’ Soulection collective.
USvsROBOTS represents Cosgrove’s most diverse, developed statement to date. In the search for his core sound, the fast-growing rapper paints with a wider palette here than before, rapping sharper, choosing more interesting production, and honing his perspectives. He still channels the spirit of Project Blowed (whether knowingly or unknowingly), his often unpredictable, dynamic flow making his best moments entertaining in a way different from many in his class. Highlights “Red Eyes,” “Burning Slums,” “Me Against You,” and “She Sells” display the sort of versatility that bodes well for Cosgrove as he continues to find his voice.