Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Album Review: ASAP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP

ASAP Rocky is probably one of the most stylish rappers but does his debut album LONG.LIVE.A$AP contain nay substance? Read on to find out.



The album starts with the title track “Long.Live.A$AP”, on which ASAP Rocky resorts to putting a bunch of words together that rhyme with no real topic. The chorus sounds good but as a whole the song is poor.

"My Santa clause was missing
Catch you slipping then it’s Christmas" - ASAP Rocky on “Long.Live.A$AP ”

“Goldie” was the album’s lead single and Hit Boy’s production brought something more interesting to the table than Hip Hop’s current infatuation with 808’s and Trap sounding beats. Lyrically however this is nothing more than your bog standard Hip Hop song, where the rapper's bravado and bragging take centre stage. Bars like "I'm early to the party, but my rari is the latest," illustrate this best.

"Cristal go by the cases, wait hold up that was racist
would prefer the Aces, ain't no different when you taste it" - ASAP Rocky on “Goldie”


T-Minus’ production on the Schoolboy Q assisted "PMW (All I Really Need)" is good, but the singing on the chorus is not so good. Once again the production is great on “LVL” as it is on “Hell”, which is down to frequent ASAP collaborator Clams Casino. The end product however is better on “LVL” than it is on “Hell”. The latter has a mix of a commercial sounding chorus (provided by Santigold) and gritty verses which doesn't work, whereas Rocky sounds perfectly at home on “LVL”.




The title of the album’s sixth track “Pain” couldn't be more appropriate, as it is for from enjoyable to listen to. There is nothing here that can be described as good and the worst thing about it is the Chorus.

There’s an all star lineup on “Fuckin Problems” but the music couldn't be any less D list if they tried. The beat is probably the best thing about it, but even that is nothing special. Every stereotype associated with Hip Hop music is on this song, which is expected from someone like 2 Chainz but artists like Kendrick Lamar & Drake should be ashamed of their contributions.



By the time that you reach the eighth track on the album, “Wild For The Night”, Rocky's love for the Chopped N Screwed effect is clearly evident. The synths sound over the top and it is a surprise to hear that Skrillex had a hand in this song’s production because it is a complete mess. A desperate attempt at including the Dubstep sound on the album.

“1 Train” is possibly Long.Live.A$AP’s best song. Hit Boy’s production is a continuation of “Goldie” and is even more reminiscent of the early 90’s Hip Hop. The lineup on this track is crazy: ASAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Badass, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Big KRIT and Yelawolf (who kills it). This is nothing more than a Hip Hop posse cut and is proof that ASAP Rocky is infact "Boom Bap mixed with new Rap".

“Phoenix” has a funeral kinda feel to it and should have been the album's last song, considering the mood of the song. ASAP discusses life and death, while throwing in Michael Jackson and Kurt Kobain. It’s quite nice that this song doesn't have a lyrical chorus, as most of the album's choruses are poor.



The production on “Suddenly” is on point. Rocky's voice is the focal point and the beat is secondary which makes a change.

"Don’t view me as no conscious cat,
this ain’t no conscious rap
Fuck the conscious crap,
my mac’ll push your conscience back" - ASAP Rocky on “Suddenly”

Highlights

Summary
ASAP Rocky brings a mix of different genres and styles which provide an interesting listening experience. He is not the most lyrical, but one thing Rocky can be commended for is his knowledge of culture and the way in which he incorporates it into his music. Long.Live.A$AP will definitely not be the best album you hear in 2013, nor should it be the best Hip Hop album released this year. But it does provide a good alternative to Hip Hop’s current sanitised formulaic infatuation (listen to any recent Rick Ross, Future, 2 Chainz or Big Sean song for example). ASAP Rocky’s own description of his music being, "Boom Bap mixed with new Rap" is pretty spot on.


Long.Live.A$AP is available to buy now on iTunes UK/ iTunes US. You can also stream Long.Live.A$AP on Spotify by clicking here.