Rhyme Report

Published on February 23rd, 2024 | by Just Jay


Masta Ace & Marco Polo Explore the Ins and Outs of Luxury Culture in “Jordan Theory”

The Rapper-Producer Duo Attempt to Resist Material Temptations and Luxury Goods in the Stylish and Poignant New Video

“Jordan Theory” Appears on Richmond Hill, the Duo’s Second Collaborative Album, Out Now via Fat Beats, Which Features Guest Spots From Inspectah Deck, Blu, Coast Contra, Che Noir, and More

A respected rapper for over 35 years, few artists are better equipped to analyze how materialism intersects with hip-hop culture than Masta Ace. Armed with a head-nodding instrumental from his running mate Marco Polo, Ace examines the allure of unattainable luxury items in “Jordan Theory,” his new music video from Ace & Polo’s new album Richmond Hill.

Over Marco’s speaker-knocking bounce, defined by a circular keyboard riff and gently swinging drums, Ace explains how childhood poverty, and the material limitations placed by mom and dad, can influence imprudent financial decisions. Nimbly navigating the beat, Ace discusses how luxury-living rappers set an aspirational ideal that is impossible for regular folks to live up to: “Now everybody like ‘wow, look what he got’/Brand new colorway, them ain’t Reebok/Them sh*ts cost like three months rent/And his ex-girl knows what he once spent.” 

Directed by J Anders Urmacher, the video dramatizes Ace’s lyrics with aplomb, depositing items like Jordan sneakers, Rolex watches, and more into display cases in a sterile museum room–in cases marked with the warning, “please do not touch.” As he explores the wares, Ace reminisces about his childhood, with Marco Polo portraying the aggressive salesman at Foot Locker, coveting expensive shoes (which Ace notes have risen in price many times over in the ensuing decades), and contemplates his mistakes in his (literal) shoebox apartment. The video ends with a reminder of the fragile class politics that prop up the entire capitalistic enterprise: the Jordans are bathed in a heavenly light, while the fluorescents in the exhibit flicker and die.

“Jordan Theory” is a highlight from Masta Ace & Marco Polo’s brand new album Richmond Hill, a full-length collaboration about how hip-hop can change a life. Following up their acclaimed 2018 album A Bruekelen Story, the 18-track (including skits) Richmond Hill is a cinematic journey that explores how the past echoes through the present. Welcoming guest appearances from notable names from all eras of rap history, including Inspectah DeckCoast ContraBluChe NoirSpeech of Arrested Development, Masta Ace’s longtime collaborators Stricklin and Wordsworth, and many more, Richmond Hill is available to stream on all digital platforms and to purchase on vinyl via Fat Beats.

Home to the single,  “Life Music” ft. Speech (of Arrested Development), Stricklin, and E Smitty, which dropped late in 2023 and arrived with a music video directed by Parris StewartRichmond Hill is another essential chapter in the career of the decorated rapper and Juno Award nominated producer.

Video: Masta Ace & Marco Polo – “Jordan Theory

Richmond Hill tracklist:

  1. December 26th (skit)
  2. Brooklyn Heights
  3. Certified ft. Coast Contra
  4. Cartunes (skit)
  5. Hero ft. Inspectah Deck
  6. Life Music ft. Stricklin, E Smitty & Speech (Arrested Development)
  7. Below The Clouds ft. Blu
  8. St. Roberts (skit)
  9. Heat Of The Moment ft. Pav Bundy
  10. Jordan Theory
  11. Money Problems ft. Che Noir
  12. Scarborough (skit)
  13. P.P.E.
  14. Outside In ft. C-Red & E Smitty
  15.  Connections
  16. Plant Based
  17. December 25th (skit)
  18. All I Want ft. Wordsworth


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