A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP (Album) [Review]
Harlem, NY – A blindsided leak from left field put Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky’s debut album on a download frenzy over the past weeks.
Whether Long.Live.ASAP is here to stay or to disappear prior to the official release, the solo effort may just be enough to guarantee the rapper a long shelf-life in the industry.
Check out the review after the jump.
A less than propitious introduction shouldn’t mean much for the overall view of an album, but first impressions can be deadly. Especially for an artist who’s been all over the map in the past year. Rocky stumbles through toneless hooks and struggling transitions to open up Long.Live.ASAP’s track list. Although he still gives a strong lyrical showing, the listless hook may have been a bridge too far for the rapper.
“Goldie”, his first single released in the early summer months of 2012, more than makes up for the weak opening. Hit-Boy’s tectonic sampling and industrial drum usage mixes flawlessly to provide a house-backing track to Rocky’s rhythm.
The ASAP-Raider Klan heat which made Twitter waves in the hip-hop community during much of late 2012, simmered down prior to the production of Long.Live.ASAP, but not enough to exclude scattered mentions of the beef throughout the tracks. “PMW (All I Really Need)” makes apparent nods to Odd Future through distorted samples and disembodied, pitch-black baritone hooks. His well-known screwed/deep-voiced cameos continue to be something of a trademark, distillate in almost every track in one way or another. One can say that it is a passage which smacks off Rocky taking a specific aspect of hip-hop and fitting it to his vision.
The maturity in Long.Live.ASAP is obvious. He has broadened his range of ergo production styles as far as serious names go; Clams Casino, Skrillex (you read that right) and Danger Mouse lay down the seemingly solid stone to Rocky’s craft. The album is a testament to his styling and still-growing stature in the music business.
One thing the 24-year-old trill-er proves he certainly can do is bring out the monster in the usually melancholic Drake on “Fuckin’ Problems”. The infectious beat and the schizophrenically-shot video not only fits Rocky’s ideology, but shows he can make the step into the club scene. This is something many rappers turn their nose up at or don’t pull off at all.
If the production doesn’t attest to Rocky’s progression as an artist and individual, take a look at the feature cast. Rocky himself said a track with artists such as Drake and 2 Chainz would have been unrealistic around the time Live.Love.ASAP dropped:
“It’s maturity – I’m matured, the content is a little different, it’s a lot of the same sounds. I’m just experimenting, it’s really like what I do, just my music all in a capsule. I feel like people are going to get the same feeling they got with [Live.Love.ASAP], but plus more because in my original form, I wouldn’t have done a song with Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick… but for this one, I’d do that, because that’s the state that I’m in right now. Those are my peers. We’ve done tours together and stuff like that, so it was only right to do.”
It’s maturity – I’m matured, the content is a little different, it’s a lot of the same sounds.
It’s the amount of talent backing up this release that runs Rocky the risk of being upstaged, even in his own comfort zone. This can be to its own disadvantage; The Rocky-Skrillex collab on “Wild for the Night” is almost too overwhelming by name, negatively speaking. It’s the type of track that’s either going to fail a rapper or pass as ‘something new’, but never sit on the fence.
One thing the industry has learned from releases like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West and Life is Good by Nas is the devastating effect falling in to the background of your own track can have. Whether it’s putting on your own label kin as done by Ye or bringing Amy Winehouse back from the dead for Life Is Good, putting star power on show is key to proving versatility in an artist’s experiment. “1 Train” is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of immensely talented young artists: Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and BIG K.R.I.T.
At the close, the musical dynamic that Rocky amassed for this release sets him apart from the Mob. Rocky stands alone as the line an artist has to cross to ensure a long shelf life in this industry; introducing blistering, hard-hitting verses to club bangers. Long.Live.ASAP.
Long.Live.A$AP officially drops January 15th.
Written by @ZackNoureddine for HipHopCanada
Tags: 2 Chainz, Action Bronson, Amy Winehouse, ASAP Rocky, Big K.R.I.T., Clams Casino, Danger Mouse, Danny Brown, Drake, Hit-Boy, Joey Bada$$, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Odd Future, Skrillex, Yelawolf