Interview: With His New Project, Maryland Rapper Ace Cosgrove Steps Out of His Comfort Zone

Ace Cosgrove

The foundation for Ace Cosgrove‘s success lies in his ability to eschew trends and forge his own musical path. But, when it comes to his personal life, Cosgrove admits that he tends to stay within his comfort zone.

Growing up in Gaithersburg, MD, the rising emcee has spent the majority of his life within the DMV. But Cosgrove is preparing to take the next bold step in his musical journey with a brand new project featuring his full band, BobMoeKill. It won’t just be a personal narrative on his experiences living in Maryland, but will also touch on Cosgrove’s thoughts regarding various social and political issues that go much further than the confines of his hometown.

At Sound of the City Festival’s kickoff showcase on March 3 at Tropicalia, he’ll debut new songs from his forthcoming record with BobMoeKill. Prior to the show, I spoke with Cosgrove about the upcoming performance and his soon-to-be released project, Ms. Claire’s Basement.

D.C. Music Download: You are headlining the Sounds of the City music festival in March. That’s exciting!

Ace Cosgrove: Yeah, I am excited. I haven’t played a show in the D.C. area in a while. I’m looking forward to playing some new records off my upcoming project, Ms. Claire’s Basement.

You’ve talked about how much the city means to you before. What about it inspires your music?

Just the [messed] up stuff that is going on with Trump affecting the city heavily right now, like the riots and protests. I wasn’t here for The Women’s March, unfortunately. I was overseas in New Zealand doing a show, but we would have definitely taken part in that. But, a lot of the political side from my music comes from stuff I see going on in D.C.

Is the new album more politically charged?

The same stuff is happening, so I’m just talking about the same stuff. Just in a different detail.

You pride yourself on having a unique rap style. How do you think your music deviates from the others?

I try to bring substance into my music, that’s what makes it stand out. Honestly, there’s just no substance in music nowadays. It’s kind of just freestyles, in the sense of bragging about money, bragging about this and that.

I think that’s what makes me stick out the most. And, especially with this project, I’m trying to have it all be feel-good music. You can dance to most of the tracks on here. But, you’re still getting substance, you know what I mean?

How do you come up with the instrumental parts and rhythm of the tracks?

Well, for these melodies and the production, most of it was produced by two members of my band, Luke Armstrong and Jared Fein a.k.a. BobMoeKill. They produced most of it. And my homie ChooKy, who is mixing the project, just added some additional [production]. But, for the most part, a good seventy five percent of the project, it’s produced by Luke and Jared.

I was just at their house one day, chilling after practice, and they showed me some beats. I was like “Yo, this is fire.” Then we all came up with the idea of making a project together and we’ve been working on the project since July.

After working on the album for this long, what do you hope fans will get out of listening to the tracks?

It’s something they can dance to. I still want people to to enjoy it. You know when you’re at a party and there’s background music but you still nod your head and get up and do your two-step to it? But, if you’re listening to it, I’m speaking substance about what I’m currently going through. The whole theme of the project is me looking outside, like me in the comfort of my surrounds–which is Ms. Claire’s basement just because that’s where I live at so that’s what I am most comfortable around. I’ve pretty much just stayed in this area unless I’m doing shows. But, there’s all this [messed] up stuff’s happening, whether it be [political] or me trying to find myself in life. I want to join and fix that, fix what’s going on and better myself, not just be in the house in a shell.

So yeah, that’s what the whole project’s about. I actually want to get out and explore the world. But, I’m stuck inside my comfort zone and I always get pulled in, whether it be from vices such as getting high, trying to party or just me being like, “Oh, you know, it’s not really affecting me. They’ll fix it. We’ll get better one day.” It’s just me wanting to make a difference, but I’m just stuck in my comfort zone.

What’s next after this project?

I just want to get the ball moving. I really want to get stuff popping out here. Honestly, with this project, I want to wake people up and show them that I can actually make good music.

Listen to “Nada,” from Cosgrove’s forthcoming release, Ms. Claire’s Basement