By Mike Sessions |Staff Writer|
The highly anticipated debut album from A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE.A$AP, was finally released despite numerous setbacks last year. Singles such as “Goldie,” and the very popular “F***** Problems” featuring 2 Chainz, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, helped continue the hype for the freshman rapper and his crew, A$AP Mob.
Rocky’s critically acclaimed 2011 mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, was a breakthrough for the New York-based MC, who seemingly came out of nowhere.
Rarely do we see a rapper without much musical history top the charts, and rarely do we see a rapper do it with such impact like Rocky.
Known for his Houston-style of rap, you can see the inspiration from legends like UGK and DJ Screw in his style, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in his flow, and hometown rappers Dipset within his delivery.
The album cover is reminiscent of his previous mixtape’s cover, with the black and white photo of Rocky with the American flag.
The only difference is now Rocky has the flag wrapped around him, almost like he has the entire nation on his back for this project.
Long.Live.A$AP begins with the title track, luring you in with the eerie, cinematic and dark intro, almost preparing you to take cover. Then Rocky starts to flow and the bass drops, demanding everyone’s attention.
The track serves as a declaration, with Rocky stamping his arrival in the music industry, without much warning to anyone in the way.
One of the standout tracks has to be the highly featured, “1 Train,” which brings in newcomers such as Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T. amongst others, giving Hip Hop its deserving antidote of lyricism and quality production. It’s almost like a coalition of dope artists exemplifying their skills in competition with one another.
One of the best verses from Rocky’s short career appeared on this track: “Bag made of goyard cheffin’ like I’m Boyar-Dee probably selling D in your local courtyard Braids like I’m O-Dog my la familia go hard.”
One of the tracks that lacks potential is “Hell” featuring Santigold. I expected more from the duo because of their promise as amazing artists, but it didn’t really do much for the album. It appeared as a very bland, boring track without much focus or passion at all. Santigold didn’t live up to her skill set on the chorus, allowing the song to become forgetful almost as soon as it ends.
Rocky creates a serious tone in the track “Phoenix” when he states, “Bloody ink on my pad spelled suicide/ Michael Jackson even passed cause you scrutinized.”
He later sings in the chorus, “Where do we lie?/ Tell me where do we stand?/ Where do we go?/ It’s all part of the plan.” In this song Rocky shows his listeners that aside from his egotistical rapper-esque ways there is a loyal and vulnerable quality in him.
Other than that, the album lives up to the hype because of Rocky’s ability to maintain the sound that made him famous. He didn’t necessarily move into the pop direction like many artists do when they release a mainstream album, but instead made a quality album his fans and others would be able to truly appreciate.
Rockye raps over an Electronica beat courtesy of Skrillex in “Wild for the Night,” where he was able to break boundaries within the typical Hip Hop sound.
If this is any indication as to how he’s going to continue making music, we all have a lot to look forward to.
Because Long.Live.A$AP is a problem for the competition in the industry, everyone better be prepared for it.