North Texas Daily

Album Review: Long.Live.A$AP.

Album Review: Long.Live.A$AP.

January 17
20:36 2013

H. Drew Blackburn
Senior Staff Writer

A$AP Rocky is all about braggadocio and high-end fashion. Throughout his major label debut album, both are in abundance. However, the thing that made the Harlem-based rapper insanely popular is sparse on “LongLiveASAP.” The syrupy, chopped and screwed sound pioneered by Texas rap legends like Mike Watts, UGK, and Z-Ro is swapped for major league production.

Fans that have been with Rocky from the start need not worry. The deep vocals make plenty of appearances, and their marriage with a wider range of production has A$AP in true form – or better than he’s been before.

In 2011 A$AP Rocky’s debut mixtape, “LiveLoveA$AP” shot him straight into the pubic eye. Tracks such as “Purple Swag” and “Peso” brought a newer style to hip-hop. By paying homage to Southern hip-hop and incorporating a New York swagger, he made himself a rapper essentially overnight.

“LongLiveASAP’s” opening track, “Long Live A$AP,” is a perfect introduction to the album. The track, produced by Rocky himself, features bombastic bass drums over verses in which Rocky relates hood tales inspired by growing up in Harlem. Most notably, the opening track features Rocky singing in a falsetto over soft guitar licks, which is a nice juxtaposition against the rugged verses.

The album’s lead single, “Goldie,” (produced by Hit-Boy, the guy behind the RIAA certified platinum single “N****s In Paris”) has the deepened vocals and hedonistic lyrics that Rocky is so well known for.

The album flows exceptionally well from “PMW (All Really Need)” to the hit single “F****n’ Problems,” which features Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. “F****n’ Problems” also has a genuinely long shelf life and, interestingly, has co-production credits from longtime Drake collaborator Noah “40” Shebib and the laughable pseudonym Drake apparently uses as a producer – “Champagne Papi.”

The song that follows, “Wild For The Night,” starts off well as Rocky raps entirely in deep vocals along sparse production. Then comes the contribution from Skrillex, whose harsh Dubstep production sounds like a robot malfunctioning through a megaphone. However, Rocky recovers instantly with “1 Train,” a posse cut with no hook or chorus that features Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, YelaWolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. Every verse is as good as the next.

Hip-hop purists will always be adamant that the golden age of the genre the early-to-mid 90s’. With young rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Drake and A$AP Rocky in the forefront and legends such as Nas, Jay Z and Kanye West still pumping out music, the genre is in the midst of a true renaissance.

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