( ENSPIRE Feature ) Call Me Ace’s Rise To Success With His Merchant Brand and Other Ventures
ENSPIRE Contributor: Shelsea Deravil
More musical rappers are becoming creative businessmen these days. Call Me Ace—a Billboard-charting Hip Hop artist, creative tech entrepreneur, millennial professional, and new author—released his first book titled “Get Verified On Instagram With Under 5,000 Followers.” The self-published book includes five chapters that debunk Instagram verification myths. These myths include the 10,000 follower count minimum, the need to maintain a verified badge, and sourcing brand validation once verified. “Get Verified” is exclusively available for purchase as an e-book (with limited paperback copies) along with Ace’s “Been Legit” merchandise collection.
The five chapters in “Get Verified” are Verification Myths & Facts, Instagram’s Verification Badge: Explained, 7 Ways to Increase… IG Verified, Okay, I’m Ready to Apply…Now What?, and Final Words from the Author. The book contributes to the growing momentum and impact of Call Me Ace’s brand, which is most recently illustrated in his latest interview on CNBC. In addition, his feature commercial with Insider Studios for the Ford Mach-e, and the release of his sophomore album Out of Office, contribute to his branding.
Call Me Ace describes his inspiration behind the book. “As a creative tech entrepreneur and music artist, I know social media—especially Instagram—is a powerful tool to market my brand,” he began. “Over the past few years, I’ve often been asked about my brand marketing tactics, so I wrote a book about the practical tips that I actually used not only to get verified but also build a brand that’s self-fulfilling and that authentically resonates with my target audience. I want small business owners, creatives, and micro-influencers to know they can do the same thing.”
According to Ace, “Get Verified” is a way to help others grow their brands in authentic ways possible. “In this book, I share seven tried-and-true recommendations to increase your chances of getting IG verified,” the rapper said. “No frills. No smoke and mirrors. I also break down the entire verification process, things to watch out for, and other digital brand development strategies that are applicable even outside of Instagram.” The book also references Later, HypeAuditor, Influencer Marketing Hub, Social Blade, and Chartmetric as tools Ace use to manage his Instagram growth, automation, and insights.
Unfortunately, Ace had to figure out the IG verification myths through personal trial and error. “Verification wasn’t something I was looking for. But I felt that if I was headlining shows, hitting the Billboard chart with my debut album, and getting local and national press, then my brand was recognizable to some degree,” the rapper-now-author stated. “Although my follower count wasn’t large, my engagement was strong, and I pulled in 20-30% on every post. So over time, I became curious about how people were leveraging Instagram, and I studied the platform even more.
“It boiled down to asking ‘What does it mean to be a public figure on Instagram?’ and ‘How can verification happen for various brands, with different vanity metrics?’ More importantly, I had to make sure I had a brand that was credible with strong SEO. I don’t think I applied for verification a lot – maybe once or twice – until getting it. After that, I figured if I had the means to play the social media game, then why not go for it?”
Despite the constant questions and pressure that once wandered in his mind, Ace finds solace through his brand and artistic work. Call Me Ace is an independent Hip Hop rapper and disruptor aiming to challenge the status quo. “The disruption is just how I’m building my platform,” he said. “There’s no blueprint for…a growing creative career. In the beginning, people were saying, ‘You can’t do that and ‘that’s not possible.’ But my whole life has been about beating statistics. So the disruption is also about going against any belief that what I’m pursuing is impossible. I am creating a new blueprint.”
Furtherly, Ace does not see his multi careers as separate entities. Instead, they continuously define his identity. “It’s just me being me and expressing myself in different mediums,” Call Me Ace explained. “I try to leverage the strength that I get from my faith in Christ, the strength I get from my loved ones, and the motivation and encouragement that I get from my fan base. The other day, my nephew drew a picture of me, and that moment just gave me the motivation to keep on pushing; [it] reminded me of what I’m doing all of this for.
“If I could be someone he can look up to–that others like him can look up to–and if I can steer them hopefully in the right direction, I’ll keep doing what I do.”
In 2019, Call Me Ace released his debut album, “Airplane Mode.” It debuted at number three on the iTunes Top 40 US Hip-Hop Album Chart. Additionally, it ranked #50 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album Sales chart. In February 2020, Ace’s second EP, “Working From Home,” earned 1,000,000-plus Spotify streams and media recognition from Earmilk.com, Medium.com, Chartmetric, NPR’s KALW Radio & more.
Ace’s EP, “Working From Home: Extended,” was released in June 2020. The multi-careerist used the EP’s pre-orders and Google’s gift-matching program to raise $10,000-plus for Faith In Action’s Live Free Campaign to end social injustice. “Working From Home” and the fundraising campaign received recognition from AfroTech.com, Urban Magazine, ENSPIREMag.com, and more. In addition, Ace’s song ‘No Assistance’ got a placement in the official NBA 2K21 Next-Gen video game. In addition, it earned him a Top 10 semi-finalist spot in BET’s AmpliFIND contest.
In February 2021, Ace released his second album, “Out Of Office.” He uses his music as a gateway to connect with disenfranchised communities, especially with his supporters, whom he encourages to live a rich life and not just one full of riches.
Ace has a core message to spread throughout his artistry. “Move with purpose, with significance, with intentionality and to not be a lover of the material, vain and superficial stuff,” Call Me Ace conveyed. “It’s okay to understand the value of something, like the Instagram verification badge. But don’t love it more than what really matters. It’s not worth it. What matters is being a ‘well’ for others–a resource of encouragement, motivation, and inspiration that people can draw from and utilize so that they can live a fuller life.”
Originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, Ace finds his upbringing similar to those from Oakland, CA. Oakland is where the rapper began his music roadmap and opportunities. “I had a rough upbringing, with a low-income and inner-city lifestyle,” Ace said. “‘Survival is the name of the game,’ my dad would always say. My upbringing definitely keeps me humble and grateful because I would never have imagined being where I’m at now. It also pushes me to give back to communities that are like mine. To be a role model and an advocate for those individuals. It’s effortless to overlook and judge us. I know the pain and the struggle. In my career, I strive to always be a contributor as opposed to an exploiter.”
Rapper Ace participated in a west coast installment for Insider Studios’ commercial series that spotlighted The All-Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. Oakland was one of the three locations for the series spotlights. In the commercial, Ace takes viewers on an excursion to show how Oakland, C.A. fuels his creative process, endurance, and commitment to making music that drives community connection. In addition, the commercial highlights Call Me Ace’s songs’ Work Like That’ and ‘Short-Term Goal,’ from his “Out of Office” album. The songs illustrate his lifestyle as a full-time corporate worker and musician. The commercial is available on Insider’s Youtube and Travel Insider Facebook page.
As a creative tech entrepreneur, Ace “delivers” his work to his audiences digitally. “I leverage technology to deliver the various pieces of content that I create,” he explained. “I do teach and encourage people on the path of balancing their work and art.” As a millennial professional, the rapper works in the corporate world at YouTube as a global program manager. The millennial part stems from a generational mindset. “As a millennial, I don’t box myself in. Instead, I find opportunities to fulfill my purpose and explore my talents in innovative ways. Like pursuing a creative career while working a corporate job,” Ace said.
Call Me Ace advises upcoming or aspiring artists who wish to follow suit like him to go for it simply. “Don’t let other people’s opinions stop you! Knowledge-up so that you know what to expect and learn from your experiences,” Ace remarked. “You’re not going to get it right all the time. But even when you get it wrong, if you learn from it, it means you’re doing it right. Be patient with yourself, and don’t hold up your path compared to other people’s paths. Yours is going to be different. Don’t follow in my footsteps. Just walk in your own path.”
ENSPIRE congratulates Call Me Ace on his latest accomplishment and other endeavors. The rapper solely aims to do more, share more, and live more.