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MUSIC WORLD: My Review of A$AP Rocky’s “Long.Live.A$AP”

A$AP Rocky may be one of the most anticipated new artists of 2013. After releasing his wildly successful “Live.Love.A$AP” mixtape, fans and critics were anxious to see what a debut album from the Harlem-born rapper would sound like. Welp, it’s here. Though LongLiveA$AP was scheduled to be released today, it leaked a few weeks ago. It has yet to be seen what effect this will have on his numbers, but early downloaders were gifted with a musical treat. Check my full review below.

Far too often rappers drop debut albums and the debate about whether it’s an instant classic begins on Twitter and Facebook. Most recently the conversation was broached with the release of Kendrick Lamar’s first major-label album, good kid, M.A.A.D. city. Since TDE rocks with A$AP Rocky and crew, it’s natural that his album would get comparisons. But it’s not fair. Kendrick presented a concept album that transported listeners into his life and story. A$AP Rocky presented a great album befitting of what Rocky fans have been waiting for. Different, but just as awesome.

The album opens with the haunting and dramatic “Long Live A$AP” describing the life that Rocky has experienced growing up in comparison to where he is now. The chorus repeats:

Who said you can’t live forever lied
Of course, I’m living forever I’ll
Forever, I’ll live long
You can’t ever deny
My flaws, I’m living forever I’ll
Forever, I’ll LIVE

And that’s how the album opens. Full of past experiences and hope for the future. You can check A$AP Rocky describing this track for Jay-Z’s Life + Times website, below.

That track leads smoothly into “Goldie,” the previously released single. It continues the theme of where he is now with braggadocious rhymes about designers and gold things, pre-“All Gold Everything.” It also displays the regional ambiguity that A$AP Rocky is known for. He’s been both applauded and criticized for being a rapper from New York but sounding like he could be from the South, mostly Houston. This track, and many more on the album, feature a hook that plays off the “chopped n screwed” sound created in Houston. The next track that was already released and also borrows the Houston sound for the hook, “PMW (All I Really Need),” features ScHoolboy Q. ScHoolboy Q shines in the track where the hook laments over and over about how all they need is “pussy, money, weed.”

A$AP Rocky hits his stride as a confident freshman rapper on the next track “LVL.” He weaves in and out of the eerie track challenging listeners to tell him what to do with all his new cash and to bow and kiss his ring. He even proclaims, “Pac gone, but the Juice back…” Any reference to Juice gets an endorsement in my book. Santigold makes an appearance on the next track, which follows the all-to-familiar theme of progression in lifestyle and bank accounts. It’s a great track that leads into a track of self-reflection titled, “Pain” featuring OverDoz. It actually slows down the album, to me. I felt it should’ve occurred before “Hell” featuring Santigold.

“F*ckin’ Problems” appears next on the album, also  in an odd sequence. I still love the song but I still wish 2 Chainz had an entire verse. The chopped n screwed hooks return with “Wild for the Night,” but Rocky presents a dubstep-esque sound. The strange thing is, it works for him. Azealia Banks should take note. “1 Train” is the next appearance of Kendrick Lamar along with a bevy of other artists including: Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T – in that order. Joey Bada$$ shines on this track and continues to prove why he’s someone to keep an eye on. Danny Brown talks about Mollys, Action Bronson talks about ham, Yelawolf calms down, and Big K.R.I.T. sounds like a young Big Boi. It’s a successful track. Check it below.

A$AP Rocky isn’t afraid to lay verses over untraditional production. It keeps him interesting. “Fashion Killa” is a great example of this. On a track that could’ve easily been passed to a pop star, Rocky taunts about how his chicks rocks the latest and slays those around her on the regular. The album takes a decided turn to the more introspective part of A$AP Rocky and it’s a welcome change after spending the first 40 minutes bragging. Both “Phoenix” and “Suddenly” address A$AP Rocky‘s perils and fears. “Suddenly ” is the better of the two tracks, to me. With lines like, “Roaches on the wall/Roached on the dresser, Everyone had roaches but our roaches ain’t respect us” transported me back to Harlem in the 90s. The rest of the album continues along the same vein with a verses from Gunplay and A$AP Ferg. Nothing too special to note.

 

My Conclusion: A$AP Rocky‘s debut album is a great representation of who A$AP Rocky is an artist. He presents tales of fashion, struggle, confidence, and bad bitches. The album falls short with sequencing though. Tracks like “Wild for the Night” being sandwiched between “F*ckin’ Problems” and “1 Train” feels odd and out of place. The features are great additions to the album, most notably the Santigold hook and two Kendrick Lamar appearances. Press play on this album while riding around and getting it as this is the perfect soundtrack.

My overall review: 4/5… Great debut album. The sequencing leaves much to be desired and the overuse of the chopped n’ screwed hooks leaves the album feeling like a one trick pony at times.

Standout Tracks: Long Live A$AP, LVL, Wild for the Night, Suddenly

Forgettable Tracks: Ghetto Symphony, Jodye, Angels

You can listen to the album on Spotify HERE or download HERE.

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About traysay8

Quirky.

Posted on January 15, 2013, in ALBUM REVIEWS, music, Music Videos, NEW MUSIC, videos and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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