We should all be pissed off at this A$AP Rocky kid.
Earlier this year, he smugly rolled up onto the collective forefront of our conscious in something candy-coated while tippin’ on four 4’s when he released “Purple Swag” into the blogosphere. Lest that was not enough to hold the public’s attention, he swiftly chased it with his follow-up “Peso,” which took the viral world hostage with no intent for ransom. Hypebeasts across the world were sent into a vehement hubbub and the rest of the population wanted to know “who is this A$AP Rocky character?”
Promises of an upcoming mixtape resembling the whispering of sweet nothings into our ears, music fans eagerly and loyally awaited its delivery. Big-time vouches ranging from Drake to Jim Jones upped the ante that much more and the anticipation redoubled, yet there was still no life-changing tape to be found. Reports of a more-than-impressive three million dollar record deal with RCA surfaced (editor’s note: the budget for A$AP Rocky is $3 million, not the deal itself.), and the initial harmless curiosity morphed into full-blown thirst—yet there was still no tape. Just as we were moving on, A$AP shows up at our front door bearing gifts and saying all of the right things on his first official body of work, LiveLoveA$AP. Yes, we’ve virtually dismissed all of those sleepless nights in front of the computer screen awaiting a downloadable link for us to click because this tape is solid and confirms the fact that we did not wait in vain.
Jumping out of the gate, we are hit with “Palace” which exudes the undeniable Houston influence with its chopped & screwed vocals and laid-back drum kicks; But to promptly refute any claims of biting, A$AP proudly boasts of his hometown while simultaneously saluting H-Town’s style when he says “Gotdamn how real is this?/I know them Harlem niggas gon’ be feeling this/East coast nigga, but how trill is this?” He carries this same sentiment in the chilled out “Get Lit” and in “Brand New Guy,” which has a notable feature by Schoolboy Q, arguably the best guest appearance on the entire compilation.
What’s more, the influence of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on this opus is as obvious as a Kim Kardashian publicity stunt. On “Trilla” and throughout, he channels the inner Bone in him, rapping in intense double time flows with ease. Again, the flow similarity is displayed more so as deference to the Cleveland crew rather than ripping off their trademarked style. A$AP displays his more mature side with “Keep it G” where he discusses remaining humble and staying true to himself throughout the process of gaining fame over a sophisticated jazz horn infused beat. On “Houston Old Head” he speaks of taking heed to what lessons your elders have to teach you and being sure to gain the wisdom that they have to give. The aforementioned tracks that initially gained the public’s attention (“Peso”, “Purple Swag”) are also included on the record, but the latter was inherently vamped into an extended track now entitled “Purple Swag: Chapter 2,” produced by ASAP Ty Beats, who probably should have acquired more production credits on this tape.
LiveLoveA$AP begins to become a bit long-winded and some tracks bleed into each other towards the end making it evident that there was an excess of fluff—trim off a bit of the fat and cut it down from 16 to 12 or 13 tracks. Nevertheless, Rocky gives us an overall piece of work that truly shows his broad scope and stands as a testament to other rappers that he is a force that is quickly gunning for their spot. While not a masterpiece, it does illustrate his potential for super stardom in an unadulterated fashion. As it is now, he stands to attain the early die-hard fans of Wiz Khalifa who he lost once he got sucked into the pop machine, the nostalgic lovers of So Far Gone Drake, and the forever trilla UGK followers. Even so, this does not fully describe his sound, as it is a cohesive amalgam of influences from across the country. And to think, just when we thought that we had finally laid “swag” down to eternal rest, A$AP Rocky hit the scene and swagged us all out. Now, that’s swag.
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