After being touted as Rap’s next big thing, following his outstanding debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP, It would be an understatement to say the expectations for this project are high. One cannot help but to be dragged into the on going debate regarding Rocky’s debut album and whether or not Long.Live.A$AP will live up to its hype?
In his lyrics the 24-year-old Harlem native A$AP Rocky mirrors the standard topics one comes to expect in todays rap music but with a more confident bravado, highlighting an high-end lifestyle filled with beautiful women and being draped in designer clothes the result a very charismatic figure. Long.Live enlists the help of A-list producers such as Danger Mouse, Skrillex, longtime collaborator Clams Casino and has guest appearances by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Santigold and Florence Welch.
On paper Long.Live should be a instant hit unfortunately Rocky has missed the mark with his debut. I wanted to get to know the real Rakim Mayers (A$AP Rocky). The boy who lost his father to the correctional system, his experience living in homeless shelters as a result of his father incarceration, the impact his brothers death had on him and how it lead him to focus on pursuing rap as career. A$AP briefly gets more personal in “Suddenly”; he discusses how his newfound fame has finally offered a form of stability into his life. But while Suddenly is intriguing it does not offer much on who A$AP Rocky is.
Sadly Long.Live.A$AP lacks innovation, and does not match the creative standard set by his mixtape and the result was a solid album with a big commercial push that made it feel less organic than his earlier work. The one exception being “Wild For The Night” featuring Skrillex which features Rocky’s pitched-shifted vocals layered over Skrillex’s signature obnoxious bass aesthetic surprisingly working.
Standout songs include: “Long Live A$AP”, “Phoenix”, “Jodye“, “LVL” the star studded “1train” featuring Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Big Kirt, Action Bronson and Yelawolf was absolutely fantastic. These songs had all the hazey, druggy, chopped and screwed sound which sparked my interest and support of A$AP Rocky.
The album is a collection of decent tracks without the ambiance LiveLoveA$AP had. Overall the lack of cohesion and unnecessary collaborations make this highly anticipated album sound like a mixtape.