By Aaron DeVera
Through leaks or blogs you’ve probably heard Long Live A$AP, the debut studio album of Harlem native A$AP Rocky. So chances are you have also already heard Long Live A$AP, an album which fails to innovate beyond the usual conventions of contemporary rap.
A$AP’s lyricality follows the usual MO of modern rap:
1. I used to sell drugs, now I’ve matured and can rap
2. But I’m still not afraid to go Harlem on your ass,
4. My following > haters
5. Danger Mouse
A$AP has a knack for detuning the pitch on his voice and sampling dumb sounds throughout the album. While some of the better verses, like that in “1Train,” still contain the conventions of other rappers, albeit a bit more algebraic: “I’ve been thinking ‘bout all the O’s in my bank account /X the hoes in my bed is ‘round the same amount”
The music doesn’t exactly suck, which most people would probably attribute to the myriad producers and guest hooks. Florence Welch, Danny Brown, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar show up to make things a little better (and while the track was cut, there is a Lana Del Rey-laden song called “Ridin” worth Googling). If anything, you should listen to Long Live A$AP simply to hear the awkward attempts of transitioning from Skrillex to Hit-Boy to Danger Mouse- some songs sound like they’d be likely to come up on a Purity Ring station on Pandora, while other songs sound like what my fixie-riding buddies think rap is. I suppose in the days of iTunes it matters less and less than your album achieves a sense of narrative or an overall theme.
Tracks like “Wild for the Night” (produced by the aforementioned Skrillex) deserve to be at the top of anyone’s pregaming playlist, while you can definitely kick back to airy tracks like “Goldie.” But in the end, it seems like A$AP Rocky is too busy trying to find an audience rather than to perform for one.