“First I get my money right, then I get my team on”. Not just one to follow Kanye West’s ostensibly highbrow tastes in designers, A$AP Rocky also seems to have entertained the business plan that Ye outlined on ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’.
The release of the Harlem’s MC major label debut has been a long time coming. Sony/RCA subdivision Polo Grounds Music first recognized the charisma of the self-assured rapper in late 2011 and blessed him with a $3 million deal. From then on, Rocky’s offered up tight guest verses to Rihanna, Swizz Beatz, and to my great joy, TDE-affiliate Schoolboy Q. Amidst all the steadily growing buzz, Rocky released a dope mixtape in Live.Love.A$AP and got his team on with Lord$ Never Worry a release that featured the eclectic talents of his crew, A$AP Mob, and a nostalgic refrain for anyone that watched TV in the 90’s: “got a body like Buffy, though”.
After numerous delays, Long.Live.A$AP, is finally out and it’s certainly lived up to the scrutiny that comes with starring in a Lana Del Rey video. Known for keeping the circle tight — enter the SpaceGhostPurrp beef —Rocky opened up to industry players to spectacular results. Take the buoyant 40-produced ‘Fuckin Problems’, where Rocky manages to outshine Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and 2 Chainz, through the clever interpolation of David Banner’s “get like me” line and a slick cadence.
The murky ambiance of Clams Casino’s production lends itself to two standouts, ‘LVL’ and ‘Hell’, the latter being anchored by a hauntingly beautiful Santigold hook. Ever the versatile soul, Rocky sounds equally at home over the Skrillex-produced ‘Wild For The Night’ as he does on classic posse cut, ‘1 Train’. Much like Rocky’s previous work with Schoolboy Q, ‘PMW’ succeeds in the sense that it makes me want to smash multiple bottles of Ciroc off my head and commit heinous crimes. And if you’re getting ready for a night out, Rocky’s verse on ‘Ghetto Symphony’ is perfect to rap into the mirror (no shame, we all do it). Call Rocky shallow for his allusions to high fashion, but the sheer audacity in his proclamation that “my outfit was in Vogue, I’m a pretty boy” makes clear that Ye has to watch the throne even if he sports Margiela masks. And finally, you can’t argue with the album moving 139,000 units in its first week during these rough economic times.