Masta Ace’s second solo album Disposable Arts was a forward thinking concept album that served as a biting commentary on what has since come to pass: the fleeting value placed on hip-hop music and those who create it. Released in 2001 it followed Ace just being released from prison to enroll at a hip-hop school called “The Institute of Disposable Arts.” But while he tried to better his situation, he couldn’t fully divest himself of the drama in his ‘hood that landed him in jail in the first place.
“That was an interesting time in hip-hop,” says Ace. “In 2001 we were kind of in the middle of million dollar videos. That era where it had to be an R&B sounding joint to get on the radio. It had to have a certain sound to it. You started to hear artists saying that they did 10 songs in one night. That they recorded 40 songs for the album and were going to pick the best 12. That’s kind of how the title was born.”
The CD reissue, which came out in October 22nd 2013 on Below System Records, contains a 2 hour DVD documentary where you can see most of the contributors to the Disposable Arts album. That footage begins with Ace taking us to the place where the album was recorded, 78/88 Studios on the corner of 88th Ave and 78th St. in Queens. Engineer and Executive Producer Richard “Filthy Rich” Ahee talks about all of the artists that came through during the period, including the late ODB. Other commentary is provided by MCs Stricklin, Punchline and Wordsworth, DJ JS-1, Rah Digga and more.