Much like VOX, hip-hop started as a means of giving the otherwise voiceless, the platform to let their voices and stories be heard. Similar to Notorious B.I.G., Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole, Atlanta’s Ace Apollo of #T8W has a gift of piecing his words together to tell a story while still leaving the listener engulfed enough to swallow some morsel of truth by the end of it all.
In Ace Apollo’s single “Be Safe,” he tells the story of his friend Gooch, a “fallen soldier” who was a victim of gun violence in his own community. Unfortunately, the story of Gooch is a very common one for others, and as Ace said when speaking to VOX, “Bullets don’t care who they hit.”
I asked what led him to name the song “Be Safe.” He replied, “Whenever I’m with my friends and we part ways, I always find myself telling them to ‘be safe.’ I look around and see so much violence, and I had to just sit down and think about the weight of my words, and what it is I was saying.”
The chorus goes as follows, “These streets don’t love us! These streets don’t love you! These streets don’t love us! These streets don’t love you! Before we go our separate ways, I tell all my homies be safe! Before we go our separate ways, I tell all my homies be safe!”
Ace’s bars, “I can’t believe it, I’m in disbelief. Another black body laid in the streets. Your life was too short when it ended brief. It left your family members with the grief” are saddening reminders that this is an unfortunate reality for family members of gun violence victims nationwide.
Another meaningful quotable that Ace skillfully inserts to share his lyricism is the play on words “The pain is so deep, I can’t bear it cuz I knew you since I was a cub.”
Something you may not know about Ace is that he loves anime. His favorite anime is the legendary Dragon Ball Z.
I hope we all learn with Ace and grow with him on his journey and by spreading his message. You can find a link to Ace Apollo’s heartfelt single “Be Safe” here.
Cole Jones-Ford, VOX’s Atlanta Word Works summer intern, helped prepare team Atlanta for the Brave New Voices competition this month in Washington D.C. VOX’s amazing poets placed third in the national competition!