To be honest, Aceyalone has always been kind of hit or miss. He’s usually at his best and most impressive when he’s at his most lyrical, or when the listener can tell that he’s trying. In other instances… his verses can be forgettable, if not painful (I’ll always cringe when I hear the corny “Okay, player/pull up a cha-ir” chorus from this website’s own compilation’s opening track, released in 2004). But on Lightning Strikes, while Acey may not be at his most lyrical, this fact does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the album. Lightning Strikes shows Acey’s ability to create fun, danceable tracks (What?!? Yep), having given way to the heat of the dancehall as inspiration.
Recent trends in popular music have shown that it is now more acceptable than ever to try different styles without being categorically defined as inauthentic. Many regional genres have been resurrected and cast light upon, but up until this point, the dancehall genre has been relatively unexplored by artists outside the music’s sphere. But Aceyalone seems to fit naturally with the jumpy, synth-and-bass heavy sound. Aceyalone has very few quotable lines on this album, but dancehall music is not the place to typically look for deep inspiration. He does however act as an excellent MC, providing appropriate vocal compliments to the sonic underpinnings.
Aceyalone should also be complimented for the movement of the album. The album opens fast with the first five songs all clocking in at under three minutes, before gradually calming down and becoming longer, reminiscing the pattern of a typical night out. By the last few tracks, the tempo is slowed considerably, sounding more influenced by Dub than anything meant to inspire to dance. These tracks are where Aceyalone can rhyme easier, but by allowing himself only a few tracks to go all out on, he also focuses his rhymes to his best– Most killer, mostly no filler.
Overall, Lightning Strikes is not your typical Aceyalone album. However, it does deserve a listen and an open mind—and don’t hesitate to free your ass as well.