Written by Javier Jauregui
What does music do for you? Is it important? What songs matter to your existence? What kind of memories does music elicit? Why does the artist create, and how do you, as the listener, connect?
Linda Tellis, or Lady Ace Boogie, finds music to be an outlet for emotion. Growing up, she found peace in bands like Staind, Korn, and System of the Down. Rock and roll connects to her soul, to the person she is today. Yet, Lady Ace Boogie doesn’t communicate in the language of rock. Her voice, her identity as a musician, is hip-hop.
Speaking in rhythm and poetry, hip-hop is the energy that is released. It comes out as naturally as exhaling. The reality is that these two different worlds, rock and hip-hop, exist as one in Lady Ace Boogie, consuming in one language, and communicating in another. The product wants to empower, not the artist, but the people, the audience who is willing to listen.
The music industry is one of the most competitive scenes. There are terabytes of music out there, no one person could possibly listen to it all. Lady Ace Boogie treasures every fan, every person who takes time out of their day to embrace something that is authentic and vulnerable. Ideally, the music will empower. It doesn’t matter on what scale, may it be locally, nationally, or worldwide. One person, one reality is powerful. To inspire is contagious, one individual can influence hundreds more.
It is this mentality that captured the attention of JROB. The two artists met at a hip-hop competition, battling against each other. JROB is a positive man, interested in motivating others through his music. He rejects the label of a conscious-rapper, but understand if that how he is defined. It’s hard not to when rapping on topics that affect the community, that bring a message, songs that have agency. Influenced by Common, Mos Def, and A Tribe Called Quest, JROB wants to bring information to the people.
Just as the beat of the song can move an individual, he hopes that his words can do the same. It’s a humbling experience to create a sound in his home, to develop a voice in his city, to grow and be accepted.
The respect between Lady Ace Boogie and JROB fostered a friendship between the two; shortly thereafter, became a musical duo known as The Great Ones where they challenge the paradigms of hip-hop, and more importantly, people.
The Great Ones create music from an intimate, honest, and vulnerable space in their hearts. Their content is accessible, devoid of explicit words or phrases. How can one empower, create layers of complex narratives and experiences, with the use of curse words? Words that don’t capture the brutality of a system intended to protect, words that can’t convey that warmth of unity, words that fail to carry the conflict of finding a place to belong. Explicit words are cheap, the art, the craft of hip-hop is in the flow, the message synchronized with the beat, in the air that is exhaled by the artists and the one the audiences breathes in. Hip-hop is life, and The Great Ones generate its spirit.
The Great Ones want to share what makes them bleed, the stories that bring suffering into their lives, the reasons to cherish memories, the beauty of heartbreak, the issues that face their community. They want you to connect with them, understand the perspective that is present in their songs.
Music is a power. It’s voice, identity. It connects experiences that one can sing to. Music can make you want to dance, it can make you want to cry, it can make you feel like you’re not alone. You feel. It creates a home. Beyond that, it can ignite change. Music can empower not only the artist, but the audience. The Great Ones want to initiate the change within a person.
One person can change everything.
What will you change?
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based hip hop artists Lady Ace Boogie and JROB have come together to form The Great Ones. Their music is mixed with soulful melodies and raw lyricism. Their music is packed with social commentary, political awareness, and positive messages.