[The great Masta Ace recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH Correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular “The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems Ace dropped during the Q&A.]

On how he ended up appearing on “The Symphony”:

“Marley didn’t initially intend to keep me on the song. My verse was just a way to loosen those dudes up. But when he heard the verse, there was some talk behind the scenes. Everybody liked the verse and they decided to keep me on the song.”

On his debut album, 1990’s Take A Look Around

“That first record was me proving I was a good emcee to other rappers. That’s all that record was about – I’m going to show the world I’m dope.”

On the surprising popularity of his satirical characters MC Negro and The Ignorant MC, who appear on his gangsta rap parody song “SlaughtaHouse”:

“That record was blowing up more than the rest of the music I was doing! If we had just put them out as a group commercially, they probably would have sold a million records.”

On how some East Coast fans felt betrayed by his car-centric rhymes and West Coast-friendly sound on his hit single “Born To Roll”:

“All of a sudden, I was embraced by the West Coast for the success of ‘Born To Roll.’ And at the same time, I was ostracized by my hometown and the East Coast in general, which felt that I was a ‘West Coast sellout’ because I was doing this record that was, in their eyes, sounding West Coast.”

On the changing meaning of the term “freestyle”:

“When we came up, asking somebody to spit a freestyle meant, spit a dope rhyme. It didn’t have a subject – it was just, I’m dope, and this is why I’m dope. Later on, I don’t know who exactly decided that “freestyling” meant it had to be off the top of the head. But at some point that meaning changed. That wasn’t the original meaning of what a freestyle was. It was just a rhyme. Memorized or off the head, didn’t matter, as long as it was dope. That’s what it means to me.”

To hear the whole interview, click here or listen below.