DFW Music News

Greyspot Syndicate Rapper Prince Ace Is Really a Poet at Heart

There's a difference between rapping and spitting poetry, Prince Ace says.
There's a difference between rapping and spitting poetry, Prince Ace says. Criipa Cognito
Local hip-hop group Greyspot Syndicate has a growing reputation in the Dallas music scene. Not all of them are diehard rap artists, though. Prince Ace, one of the band’s seven members, says he's a poet, not a rapper.

“Most of my music comes out in a spoken word,” Ace says. “In music, there’s a set list you’re supposed to talk about. That makes it rap, talking about my neighborhood, money, cars, clothes, females. In terms of poetry, I viewed it as, ‘I’m allowed to talk about this.’ How losing my mom affected me. Like, shit, what I’m feeling. You can be emotional.”

Born in southern Dallas, Austin “Prince Ace” Wilson recalls losing his mom at a young age and growing up in an impoverished neighborhood with his father and two siblings. He began writing at 6 years old. It wasn’t until he moved to DeSoto as an adolescent that he learned he could use his poetry to create conscious music.

“When I was younger, I did both music and poetry, but they were always separate in my head,” Ace says. “Austin Wilson and Prince Ace were two different people. Prince Ace was the outlandish, ‘Let’s go party and shit.’ Austin Wilson was going to go sit in the room by himself and write poetry.”

Moving to a nicer part of town proved to be a culture shock for Ace, which he says turned him into a quiet kid, at least for a while. At school, he was the bad kid from the 'hood, but at home, he spent his nights writing verses. It wasn’t until he met the guys of Greyspot Syndicate that Ace gained the confidence to share his work.

“Back then, I didn’t share my music,” he says. “You would have to be someone who I considered my best friend or someone I love for you to even know that I wrote. It was something I kept really, really tight.

“I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but it was one of those situations where people were like, ‘Bro, what the fuck? You didn’t seem like you took an interest in this shit, but you cold as fuck.’ And slowly I gained a little more confidence. A lot of it was to do with that sibling-like rivalry among the Syndicate and us challenging each other like, ‘Who’s gonna kill this verse?’”

While his friends’ feedback gave him the initial push he needed, it was seeing many of the young, rap artists during that time, like Lil Bow Wow and Lil Romeo, making names for themselves in the rap game that set Ace's eyes on a bigger feat. He began working on a solo mixtape, Se7en.

"Love doesn’t have a sound, but if you're writing and singing about love, you can take something like love and turn it into something you can pass on.” –Pr¥nce Ace

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Set to release this summer, Prince Ace’s first solo project took him nearly 10 years to finish. The EP covers a variety of deep subjects, from love, numerology and biblical references to the death of his mother and, more recently, the death of his best friend Saeed, aka “Chucc.”

“He was one of the people who always pushed me toward music and art,” Ace says, “because I used to be self-conscious. And he would always tell me, like, ‘Bro, let your light shine.’ I told him I was gonna do it, and when he passed it was kind of a call to action. It forced me to get in the studio and deal with a lot of those emotions.”

One of the most difficult parts for Ace was actually wrapping up the album. He recalls times toward the end of the album when it felt like he was having to say goodbye all over again.

“I turned around after recording to look for his confirmation," Ace says of his friend. "For a split second, I forgot he died. Then I remembered, and I had to quit recording. I think I was out of the studio for two months after that.”

Moments like these happened periodically through the making of Se7en, which ultimately proved therapeutic for Ace and, he hopes, could help others as well.

“A lot of music is just energy, though," he says. "Because of that, I felt Saeed in the studio. That’s what art is, it’s taking something intangible and making it tangible. Love doesn’t have a sound, but if you're writing and singing about love, you can take something like love and turn it into something you can pass on.”
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Ryann Gordon is an Oklahoma-born writer who has lived in Dallas since 2016. After attending the University of Oklahoma, she began writing for Preview Magazine in Tulsa. She currently writes for the Dallas Observer and Katy Trail Weekly, where she represents the face of the “Uptown Girl” column.