A$AP Rocky’s swag delivers on ‘LongLiveA$AP’

In late 2011, Rakim Mayers uploaded a music video on to YouTube that would change his music career forever. The song “Purple Swag” became an internet sensation and currently has over 18 million hits.

Mayers, known as A$AP Rocky, originates from the neighborhoods in Harlem, but his music is heavily influenced by Houston, TX, “chopped and screwed” genre of hip-hop, which is characterized by a slowed down and atmospheric sound.

After a year of hype and guest features in 2012, A$AP Rocky has released his awaited debut album, “LongLiveA$AP.” The album captures Rocky’s trill persona while delivering a wide range of recognizable musical features. The album takes off with a with the dark track “Long Live A$AP,” which incorporates a range of sound effects from thunder clashing, gun cocks and cash registers to give the song a grim feel. The lead single, “Goldie,” shows off a confident Rocky rapping on everything from his “haters” to high priced fashion, a trend that is continuous through the album.

Other songs on the album feature guest artists. “Hell” includes indie electronic artist Santigold, and “I Come Apart” features Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine. “Fuckin’ Problems” is rounded out by high-profile rappers Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar.

The strangest collaboration on “LongLiveA$AP” comes from dubstep artist Skrillex on the song “Wild for the Night.” While it may seem like a bizarre combination, the duo work surprisingly well together, with beaming lasers and an underlying reggae instrumental. The song delivers a comprise for fans of both genres.

By far the most impressive song on the album is “1 Train.” The posse track features a long list of up-and-coming rappers, such as Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. “1 Train” is highlighted by an orchestral instrumental that possesses a sense of a grand and eminent spectacle, especially by the repetitive loop of dramatic strings in the background.

The album includes tracks that can be accessible to fans of any genre while indulging the listener in A$AP Rocky’s rhymes.

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Although A$AP Rocky may not be one of the most profound lyricists, his charisma and bravado are what pushes his music forward.

Admittedly, his “look how much money and women I have” cliche can get tiresome after awhile.

Despite this, the overall production and guest features are really impressive and impact the album on a positive note. While the radio singles will sell commercially, there are plenty of overlooked tracks that are worth a listen.


Artist: A$AP Rocky

Album: LongLiveA$AP

Label: A$AP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

Released: Jan. 15, 2013

Rating: 3 out of five notes