All Balls Don't Bounce

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All Balls Don't Bounce
Studio album by Aceyalone
Released October 24, 1995
Recorded 1994–95 at
Kitchen Sync Studios; Hollywood Sound Recorders, Hollywood, CA
Genre Hip hop
Length 61:46
Label Capitol, EMI
Producer The Nonce, Punish, Vic Hop, Chillin Villin Empire, Mumbles, Aceyalone, Fat Jack
Aceyalone chronology
All Balls Don't Bounce
A Book of Human Language
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (neither)[2] 10/10 stars [3]
Spin 4.5/5 stars link[clarification needed]
The Austin Chronicle 5/5 stars[4]
The Source 3/5 stars link[clarification needed]

All Balls Don't Bounce is the debut solo album by Los Angeles rapper Aceyalone. It was released in October 1995 on Capitol Records, and was produced by The Nonce, Punish, Vic Hop, Chillin Villin Empire, Mumbles and Fat Jack. The album followed the break-up of Aceyalone's former group, Freestyle Fellowship, who parted ways after the release of their influential 1993 album Innercity Griots.

Acey's standout performance on Innercity Griots landed him a solo deal with Capitol, but, due to the album's unspectacular sales, the rapper was dropped from the label after releasing only one album. All Balls was left out of print for a number of years, until being re-released on February 24, 2004 on Project Blowed Records. All Balls Don't Bounce Revisited featured a bonus disc with fourteen rare songs, including a number of remixes and previously unreleased tracks.


Aceyalone's lyrical performance on All Balls established him as one of the more popular underground rappers in Los Angeles. At the time, most California hip hop artists were focusing on pessimistic Gangsta rap; he instead focused on innovative lyricism, crafting tracks with detailed storytelling and extreme braggadocio. While the majority of the album is a solo showcase, Aceyalone recruited a close group of emcees for guest appearances, which are provided by Freestyle Fellowship members Mikah 9, P.E.A.C.E., Change of Rhythm and Abstract Rude. Aceyalone, Mikah 9, and Abstract Rude would later form the trio Haiku D'Etat.

Critical reception[edit]

Highly acclaimed and influential over the California underground scene, the album was praised, almost solely, for its highly literate and creative lyricism. Though not commercially successful, All Balls received rave reviews from many sources. Allmusic gave the album a perfect 5 star rating, and writer Steve Huey stated:[1]

A spectacular lyrical milestone, All Balls was overlooked at the time, and later slipped quietly out of print. Which is extremely unfortunate, since Aceyalone is one of the greatest lyricists the West Coast has ever produced, twisting his fluid rhymes around and off the beat with the improvisational assurance of Rakim. What's more, his subject matter goes beyond the battle rhymes that most mike virtuosos hone their technique with. He's cerebral and philosophical, yet bursting with confidence at the same time, which lends a definite sense of excitement to his literate wordplay. His lyrics aren't just long strings of ten-cent words — they're an important part of the songs' rhythmic drive, and he knows when to leave empty space in his lines to keep the groove flowing smoothly.

The sparse beats were seemingly outshined by the lyrics. Allmusic describes; "The production on All Balls Don't Bounce is solid if unspectacular, usually spare and jazzy, with lots of piano/keyboard samples and some fitting nods to the abstract side of hard bop. If it's occasionally geared to spotlight the lyrics, that's only logical."[1]

The production work also received some acclaim. writer Steve Juon stated in his album review; "The production is as diverse as Acey's rap, with everyone from Punish to Vic Hop to Mumbles and Fat Jack handling the duties. While the styles range from the slow snapping poetry slam jazz of "Makeba" to the upliftingly fluid harmonies of "Keep it True" featuring Abstract Rude & Change of Rhythm, each beat feels perfectly chosen for the impact of Acey's verbals to be amplified beyond the limits that had previously been conceived for hip-hop."[1] Writing for The Austin Chronicle in November 1995, Rashied Gabriel thought that the album's production and Aceylone's "various styles" worked to complementary effect.[4] He went on to label All Balls Don't Bounce "a sureshot record", and felt that it delivered "verbal calisthenics that astound with fresh insight as well as lyrical wizardry."[4]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Producer(s) Performer (s) Sample(s)
1 "All Balls" The Nonce Aceyalone *"Too Blue" by Stanley Turrentine
2 "Anywhere You Go" Punish Aceyalone
3 "Deep and Wide" Vic Hop Aceyalone, Abstract Rude *"It Happens Everyday" by Hubert Laws
4 "Mr. Outsider" The Nonce Aceyalone
5 "Annalillia?" The Nonce Aceyalone
6 "Knownots" Vic Hop Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Mikah 9
7 "Arhythamaticulas" Chillin Villin Empire Aceyalone *"Pee-Foul" by The Nite-Liters
8 "The Greatest Show on Earth" Mumbles Aceyalone *"Mongoose" by Elephant's Memory
9 "Mic Check" Vic Hop Aceyalone
10 "Call it Cali" Punish *Instrumental*
11 "Headaches and Woes" Punish Aceyalone *"Moonray" by Milt Jackson
12 "I Think" Aceyalone Aceyalone *"Wild Horses" by John Hammond
13 "Makeba" Mumbles Aceyalone *"In The Silence" by Michael Howell
14 "B-Boy Kingdom" Fat Jack Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Mikah 9, P.E.A.C.E. *"I Can't Help It" by Michael Jackson
15 "Keep it True" Fat Jack Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Change of Rhythm

Bonus disc[edit]

# Title Producer(s) Performer (s)
1 "All Balls Intro" The Nonce Aceyalone
2 "Universal Soldier" Riddlore, Fish, C.V.E. Aceyalone
3 "Headaches and Woes Intro" Aceyalone *Interlude*
4 "Headaches and Woes (Remix)" Fat Jack Aceyalone
5 "The Greatest Show on Earth (Remix)" Fat Jack Aceyalone
6 "The Greatest Show on Earth (Remix)" Bar 9 Aceyalone
7 "Mic Check (Remix)" Kemo Aceyalone
8 "Show Your Right" Fat Jack Aceyalone
9 "The Nobodys" Fat Jack Aceyalone
10 "They Don't Know" Underground Railroad Aceyalone
11 "Feet Up on the Table" DJ Homicide Aceyalone, Riddlore, Vic Hop, Ellay Khule,
NGA Fish, Mark the Murderah, Abstract Rude
12 "TweakendZ" Vic Hop, Aceyalone Aceyalone
13 "I Dream" O-Roc, Aceyalone Aceyalone
14 "Believe in Your Self" Fat Jack Aceyalone


The album produced two singles, "Mic Check" and "The Greatest Show on Earth". Both singles were commercially unsuccessful, failing to reach any Billboard singles chart. Music videos were shot for the tracks "Mic Check", "Knownots" and "I Think", which were all included as enhanced features on All Balls Don't Bounce Revisited.

Single information
"Mic Check"
  • Released: June 27, 1995
  • B-Side: "Headaches and Woes", "Feet Up on the Table", "Headaches and Woes (Remix)"
"The Greatest Show on Earth"
  • Released: 1996
  • B-Side: "Show Your Right"


  1. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Review: All Balls Don't Bounce - Aceyalone". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: All Balls Don't Bounce (Capitol, 1995)". Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Gabriel, Rashied (November 16, 1995). "Review: ACEYALONE - All Balls Don't Bounce (Capitol)". Nick Barbaro. Retrieved 5 August 2009.