The Guidelines By Aceyalone
This song and I have a long history together. Back in 95, Aceyalone dropped his first solo album “All Balls Don’t bounce”. However, about a year prior to that, i was in college and heavily trading tapes on the internet. Through trading tapes, I had met a dude who worked for capitol records. I was a huge Freestyle fellowship fan and he told me he had an advanced copy of Aceyalone’s debut. I jumped on it and he sent me a dubbed copy of both Aceyalone’s album and Ganja K’s unreleased album. The first song on the entire album was “The guidelines”. I was blown away. It was pretty much everything I wanted out of a rap song at that time. I loved the rest of the album but that song was like the apex to me.
About 8 months passed and the album finally dropped. Only problem was that “Guidelines” wasn’t on there. I wasn’t too bummed cause, by then, I knew it front to back but I thought it was a curious choice. It eventually dropped on his follow up album “A book of human language” and actually made a lot of sense in the context of that album.
I remember seeing Aceyalone live in NYC opening for bum ass Spearhead about a month before “all balls don’t bounce” dropped. My friends and I were hyped. We got in the front row and rapped along like herbs (two things I NEVER do or did in general at any shows). At one point we started yelling out song requests and he stopped cause we were yelling titles of songs that didn’t come out yet. This was way before shit got nuts on the internet so a crew of three white nerds knowing your album that hadn’t dropped yet was fairly unheard of. We were yelling “Play Annalillia” and he was like “Wait…what!?!?!?”. After the show (in which no one who was there cared about him being there but us) we geeked out and went over to him. I was like “Hey man, I just wanted to tell you that the new album is amazing and I’m definitely gonna buy it” Acey seemed half complimented and half confused that some random 18 year old kid in NY would have his album. It’s funny cause, now that I’m older and have been making music for a while, I know EXACTLY how he must have felt. It’s like the equivalent of someone coming up to me saying “Hey, I downloaded your upcoming album…It’s aweseome”. Bittersweet.
Anyway, This song was special to me cause it had years of relevance in my life. From 94-99, it was in steady rotation. I can’t think of many songs that have held my interest that long and that steadily.
There’s a little story behind this one. Back in i think 93/94 I got my hands on an advanced copy of Aceyalone’s debut solo album “All balls don’t bounce”. I was a huge freestyle fellowship fan and this was one of the more anticipated albums for me of that era (which is saying a lot considering the era). Well, The advanced copy I had quickly became the only thing I listened to for a month. This song , “the guidelines” was on it and was my hands down #1 joint on the whole album. Strangely, when the album finally dropped, this song had been omitted. I was definitely a little bummed but , by the time the album had actually dropped, I already knew it by heart so it’s not like I was really missing out that much. Anyway, a few weeks prior to the albums release, Aceyalone was in NYC opening for Spearhead at SOB’s. A bunch of my friends and I went and were front row for Acey and he did his set. I’ve never been one to be in the front row of anything, let alone be visibly excited but I was pretty fucking geeked for this show. Unfortunately, we were LITERALLY the only people there to see Acey. To this day I can’t even begin to fathom being a Spearhead fan but that’s another topic all together. As the show proceeded, my friends and I got a little bolder and started requesting songs. Now, keep in mind, his album was not out yet and this was in a time when album leaks were pretty small and usually only got to people “in the know”. So, While Acey was performing, my friends and I were yelling for him to perform “Annalillia” and “The guidelines” (side note: Artists HATE this, so don’t do it. it’s totally obnoxious and…just shut the fuck up). Acey heard out cries and looked at us like we were crazy. Three white kids in the front row of a show in NYC asking to hear songs that hadn’t been released yet. He did, however, perform “the guidelines” and we lost out shit.
After the show, we went up to him to give him pounds (The only time I’ve ever done that to any artist at a show) and I explained to him that I knew someone at his label and had full intentions of buying his album when it dropped (which I did). He was a really nice dude and was cool about the whole thing. If anything, I don’t think he realized his notoriety had spanned as far as it had. I have never met him since but his first two album remain two of my favorite “abstract” rap albums from that era. Eventually, this song was released properly on his second album “A book of human language” and all was right in the world.