Kate reviews “Long. Live. A$AP.” by A$AP Rocky


A$AP Rocky performing live

A six-month delay on his freshman album, “Long.Live.ASAP.”, drove the rap world insane. A$AP Rocky of New York had released a mixtape of singles in 2011, including the internet sensation “Peso”, catching the attention of listeners and record companies alike. The hype leading up to the January 2013 release was immense, and the final result is a mixed bag of brilliant highs, including guest musicians, as well as unsurprising lows lyrically.

A$AP Rocky’s obvious over-confidence comes off as arrogant and cocky, and critics often do not see past that. It does not help that case when the one weakness of his album is his uninspiring lyrics that give off the vibe of a swag rapper: “I said it must be cause a n***a got dough/Extraordinary swag and a mouth full of gold”. His influence in the world of designer fashion has driven his persona, thus the lyrics about money can be a distraction from what makes the album worth hearing.

What makes the album stand out (and what justified the long wait for the album’s release) is A$AP Rocky’s ability to craft a unique sound. Success in hip-hop depends on artists bringing their own flavor to the scene, and A$AP Rocky’s jerky rapping juxtaposed with smooth instrumental production makes for an intriguing listening experience.

The other obvious stand-out feature is the number of famous musicians featured, including fellow rappers Drake and Kendrick Lamar, but also Santigold, Florence Welch, and Skrillex, to name a few.

Though they all have distinct styles, Rocky was able to play to their abilities and tailored the songs to blend the genres together seamlessly. “Wild for the Night” featuring Skrillex was arguably the most risky on the album, yet it was a perfectly orchestrated trap (dubstep-hip/hop ) with Skrillex’s feature not as predictable as would be expected.

With the album, “I didn’t want to do too much clichéd s***, I wanted to be unpredictable”, claimed A$AP Rocky. Maybe he was wrong about his lyrics being unpredictable, but with his stylistic surprises and featured musicians that made up for it, that statement sums up the album.