A$AP Rocky is a New York rapper that gained a lot of attention from his mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP. This mixtape featured very atmospheric, reverb filled beats, and this had not been done in the mainstream before. He brought this production to the forefront, and is now used by many other MC’s. His lyrics and flow were mediocre however, and it was his unique production that kept him afloat.
Fast forward to the end of 2012, where his debut studio album, LongLiveA$AP, was leaked. I didn’t want to review it at that time, as it seems kind of… disrespectful. Nothing against others that did though. So it’s finally the release date, so here are my thoughts!
The first thing I’ll say is that I would split this album into two parts. One part features the slow, atmospheric beats of his previous mixtape. The other half features big name rappers and a fast and furious beat. The way he structures the album, it really works.
He opens with the title track. It’s a very unique beat, with vocal samples and reverb soaked drums. From the outset, you can hear that his flow has gotten a hundred times better. It’s faster, and is much more fluid. When it reaches the hook, it segues into this finger picked, clean guitar, with a falsetto singer. It sounds pretty good, and is on my good list.
After that, it’s his first single, Goldie. The production by Hit-Boy is impeccable. It sounds molded for A$AP Rocky, spitting a fast, swag filled rap. The hook is sung by A$AP, in his deep voice. It’s extremely catchy, with some clever lines too.
Then he has a song featuring ScHoolboy Q titled PMW. This song has decent production, nothing too special though. At this point of the album, it’s apparent that this album is what one would call, “Sophisticated Ignorance”. This song talks about, well, pussy, money, and weed. However, the execution is done expertly, so the lyrical content can be forgiven. Also, ScHoolboy Q spits a really nice verse.
The next three tracks blend together so much that I forget when the tracks change. LVL, Hell, and Pain have very similar production style, and not a good thing either. They aren’t unique enough production wise, as the lyricism cannot stand on its own. However, I will say that if you liked LiveLoveA$AP, you’ll love these three tracks. They just didn’t work for me.
Onto my favorite three tracks on this album.
Fuckin’ Problem ft. 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar is an amazing track. It’s fast and fun. Sophisticated ignorance at its best. Drake has the best verse, K Dot seems out of place, and 2 Chainz has a catchy hook. What could be better?
Wild for the Night ft. Skrillex. I honestly thought this track was going to be a dud. C’mon, dubstep and rap? However, Skrillex was reserved enough to make an amazing beat (that I understand to be a remix) that A$AP Rocky can rap over. It’s frantic and captures the energy of going willd.
1 Train. This will go down as one of the greatest posse cuts in hip hop history. The beat is immaculate and classic, the features are mind blowing, everything just falls so perfectly into place…except A$AP Rocky’s verse.
After that is the disappointing Fashion Killa. It’s another ignorant track with a decent beat. It’s hook is extremely annoying, at least to me. The lyrics are even more generic, making this track extremely forgettable.
Phoenix and Suddenly are the first introspective songs on the album. Phoenix is over a very subtle, understated beat, allowing A$AP Rocky to really talk about deeper things. Suddenly talks about how he feels about his sudden rise to fame. I love how he digs a little bit deeper, and it’s a great way to end the album.
Overall, it’s a very good album. The way he structures it is a rise and fall of tempo and energy. There are a few skippable tracks, but they’re mostly good. A$AP Rocky has really grown as an artist, and I’d love to see what he does next.