A$AP Rocky: Long.Live.A$AP
Posted by Martin Holmes
15, January, 2013
You could be mistaken for thinking that Harlem native A$AP Rocky had something to hide with his major label debut Long.Live.A$AP. After signing a contract with RCA worth $3 million on the back of his underground buzz, Rocky's debut album suffered a series of frustrating pushbacks; originally scheduled for July 4th 2012 and now finally rearing it's head in January 2013. It didn't particularly instil confidence in the project and had people questioning the hype and whether or not RCA had just blown a huge chunk of money on a passing fad. Despite his impressive, critically lauded mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, doubt had started to creep in regarding Rocky's legitimacy.
Thankfully, it is safe to say that the wait and the hype was worth it, and even with the early leak just before Christmas, it shouldn't stop people rushing out to buy the album. Long.Live.A$AP has everything you loved about Live.Love.A$AP and more. Live.Love.A$AP is like the original cult foreign movie and Long.Live.A$AP is the big budget Hollywood remake. There are elements that feel the same, the structure is similar, the same story beats are present, but the special effects are more spectacular and the cast is bigger and more high profile. It may never quite beat the original but it comes pretty damn close.
Rocky has created an album that performs a delicate balancing act between mainstream appeal and alternative tone. For every dusky, haunting Clams Casino beat he has a head-bopping, catchy Hit-Boy beat to match. For every internet-fanboy feature like Schoolboy Q and Danny Brown he has a Drake and a 2 Chainz for the radio crowd. It is an album that is simultaneously appealing and refreshingly risky. Take for example the opening track 'Long Live A$AP', a dark, stormy, stabbing beat that sounds like it was recorded in a boiler room, Rocky spits not only some of his tightest verses to date but decides to sing on the hook to surprising success – and this is the song he has chosen to release as his next single. There is bravery in Rocky's music that most rappers would be afraid to touch.
While Rocky's content is more often than not your typical hip hop token topics, it is his effortless charisma and ability to switch flows that is the key to his success and the reason he sounds so current. Although he has often claimed “Harlem's what I'm reppin'”, his sound isn't indebted to New York like say Joey BADA$$ is. Rocky proudly displays an array of influences in his music, most notably the screwed and chopped style of Houston and the Midwest bounce reminiscent of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. But he can embody New York when he wants to, like on the impressive, old school Wu Tang style posse cut '1 Train' featuring some of the most talented up and coming rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. It's this amalgamation of East Coast meets the Midwest with some Southern BBQ sauce squeezed on top that makes A$AP Rocky's sound very of the moment, and allows him to adapt to a wide range of styles and beats. Even his pulsating collaboration with Skrillex on 'Wild For The Night' some how works.
Long.Live.A$AP contains the longevity that the album title suggests. At times a dark and brooding album but also containing enough catchy hooks and irresistible flows to appeal to a wider market beyond alt-hip-hop fans. A$AP Rocky made us wait a long time but fortunately in this case the patience was worth it.
Long Live A$AP
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