RCA Records/Sony Music Entertainment
By all accounts, A$AP Rocky, founding member of hip hop collective A$AP MOB, is doing pretty well. Following the grand success of his LiveLoveA$AP mixtape in 2011, Rocky dropped his first full length album, LONG.LIVE.A$AP, January 15, 2013, to much anticipation.
In yet another juxtaposition of those words, Rocky opens LONG.LIVE.A$AP with “Long Live A$AP,” a diverse melody of twitchy lyrics and beats mixed with dreamlike interludes. Get used to it; this album seems a playground for Rocky, a place to inject the familiar with the experimental he is trying to bring to the mainstream.
“Goldie” is paced with a patient whistle, reflecting on Rocky’s recent financial success (“You can call me Billy Gates/ Got a crib in every state”). Chasing “Goldie,” “PMW (All I Really Need)” is a tale Maslow would love, featuring longtime darling, ScHoolBoyQ.
I have less to say about “LVL,” with its overuse of utterances, such as, “OH,” “UH” and “YEAH.” Perhaps its intent was to underwhelm us before collaborating with Santigold to blow us away on “Hell.” This union will find “Hell” in play on stations across a number of genres.
“F**ckin’ Problems,” featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kenrick Lamar, should be an immediate hit and club favorite. It’s a hard song with a great hook.
“Wild For The Night” is another object of fascination. I had thought long and hard about it prior, and I was really, truly convinced I didn’t care for Skrillex. Is this changing? Maybe. Through the Russian nesting doll rabbit hole that is the internet, I got turned onto contributor Birdy Nam Nam, specifically “Abesses,” and I haven’t been the same since.
“1Train” is a reunion of recent reviews and favorites, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. “1Train” is your classic Wu-inspired collaboration, which makes it naturally awfully good and likable. I don’t know much, in fact less everyday, but I do know Laura Smous needs some motherfucking dollar signs in her Laura $mou$. It’s about time.
“Fashion Killa” is surprisingly synth heavy. “Phoenix” ponders deatha and celebrity scrutiny. “Suddenly” is an angsty metered exposition on Rocky’s childhood.
On the Deluxe Version, things get heavy and aggressive again with “Joyde” and “Angels.” Stick around for this longer version, which gives you four additional song, most notably the closer “I Come Apart” with the brilliant vocals of Florence Welch. All in all, LONG.LIVE.A$AP should guarantee Rocky a continued path along his star trajectory.