To continue our Native series; we have called in our close friend, North Carolina-bred MC Ace Henderson. Based out of Raleigh - ‘The City of Oaks’, Henderson’s a rising star in the underground hip-hop scene with his effervescent personality and brassy flow getting him noticed by the likes of Saint Heron. Having released his debut EP “Analog Youth: Yesterday’s Over” last year, and with a potential UK tour on the horizon, we caught up with the young rapper to chat to him about his inspirations and the town he now calls home.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I make music…I make music because photos are worth 1000 words & movies are the gateway to subconscious desires. I write songs because, sometimes I wish that I could write letters to my friends and fans, just to tell them how I feel today or how I’m seeing the world right now. I make music to keep my family’s story and hard-work alive. Without my family…I wouldn’t have the relationship that I have with music.
I love to see how my work affects other people, good, bad or indifferent. Music gives me a voice that I don't get to use in my daily interactions, photography let's me share my perception of reality and directing videos allows me to blend emotion with perception, in order to elicit feelings from my viewers. I want people to feel more.
How has growing up in Raleigh impacted your style?
Growing up in Raleigh, we were exposred to bands like Ralph Lauren, which were considered “luxury” items and a status symbol. We also wore multi-terrain garments from The North Face, Patagonia & L.L. Bean, because although there is a “city” where I’m from…it’s pretty rural. When I was in high-school…my sister’s friends would let me have their hand-me-down jackets because they lasted for 5+ years. That stuff was cool to me.
We do things like going on hikes & tail-gate before football games…sometimes we wander to the beach and we don’t really stress the details of our attire because we know the garments we’ve chosen are quality & it’s meant to last
The South really taught me about “quality over quantity”.
What is your favourite Native Youth piece?
This is the hardest question. It's impossible to choose ONE thing - but when I'm traveling I make sure I have my space-dye shorts from SS15 for hanging out, my black denim because they go with EVERYTHING, and any NY knitted sweater that I can grab before I'm out of the door!
What excites you about ‘Raleigh?
The growth of interest in art culture and technology within Raleigh has me excited because people are contributing their vibrant ideas to a culture. It makes me happy to finally have a young, fresh community of innovators and like-minded people in the city I call home.
Top Raleigh tip/secret?
Raleigh is a really quiet and serene place, but towards the end of the summer…the city comes alive with a bunch of music and multi-cultural festivals in our downtown part of the city. I love it. I love seeing the families and the little babies and dogs all out and about! Raleigh has been doing an awesome job of re-designing key parts of our city to make it more…entertaining & family friendly.
There's this food spot called Cook-Out where you can go and get a burger/sandwich + 32oz drinks + milkshakes and side orders of fries/wraps/quesadillas/nuggets/hush puppies...etc, for like $6 in total! It's so crazy. My friends and I would hang out at that place for HOURS in the summer, for free refills
Be as honest as possible with the people that matter to you. Fall in love with that girl, enjoy every moment. Don’t stress yourself about trying to be in control of everything, because when the moment comes where you need to make big decisions for yourself and your family…you won’t be afraid of the possibility of failure, because failure won’t exist, it’ll just be about success and anything outside of YOUR definition of success is an experience. Don’t be afraid of your own potential.
What does the future hold?
The sky is the limit! I’m just hopeful that my music reaches those who need to hear it. For all the time & love that I receive from the people that believe in me…the LEAST I can do is continue to fight for true expression for my people and tell my story in the process
Ace's EP free:nights&weekends and accompanying video debuts February 10th via Itunes & Spotify, catch the trailer below