Review: A$AP Rocky- Long Live A$AP
2012 was a weird year for Rocky. He spent the better part of the year opening for Drake’s Club Paradise Tour, doing random shows then capping the summer with the A$AP Mob tour. But after storming hip-hop with his debut LiveLoveA$AP mixtape in late 2011, there were barely any new tunes to match his headlines—leaving a slight feeling that his fame may have started to take a front seat to his music. His RCA debut, initially set to release on 9/11, was first pushed back to Halloween, then there were some rumors that it may be released in December, which never happened. All of this with “Goldie” being his only new solo cut circulating. But, on December 3rd the release of “Fuckin’ Problems” came with a real release date, adding to the almost insurmountable level of hype around the Harlem emcee.
Essentially, Long Live A$AP, is LiveLoveA$AP on steroids, $3 million steroids. And it doesn’t take Rocky long to convince you that the upgrade in quality is real. The album’s intro, “Long Live A$AP”, is, in part, shit-talking and swaggering at it’s regal apex. The money put into the mixing and mastering leaves room for no comment other than, “Damn!” upon first listen. But what’s notable about the first track and is a recurring theme throughout Long Live is the presence of the come up story. To a certain point, Rocky’s saying “I’m here and ain’t shit you can do about it” with that trademark grin. He opens with “I thought I’d probably die in prison” and goes on throughout the song to say: “Ain’t have no pot to piss in, no my sink is full of dishes” and “There’s killers in my town, making hits, sniffing lines/Out committing crimes, wait for shit to simmer down.” The reality of where he could have ended up is always present and he’s just taking this victory lap to celebrate evading those pitfalls.
“Goldie” is the oldest cut on the album, produced by Hit-Boy who showed that his production style is limited to no singular artist with the tailor-made slowed down sound he crafted for Rocky. This early in the album, Rocky begins with what makes him such a fun guy to root for in rap right now; he continues to establish relationships with other underground artists and seems willing work with anyone that he’s a fan of. “PMW (All I Really Need)” deepens his catalog with Schoolboy Q (or A$AP Q) and continues to give listeners the chance of seeing the two’s camaraderie improve with every new collab. When they come together, they make good summertime cookout music, and there’s still a space for that in hip-hop. Clams Casino’s debut on the album is “LVL” and further builds on the trill cathedral sonic wave that he created for Rocky on “Palace”. What’s unlike any other song on the album in this one is Rocky’s lyrical conviction. In a capsule, Rocky is showing that he’s cognizant of his place in rap and whether or not that place makes you uncomfortable, sit back and watch. “Get your popcorn, juice snacks./It’s a movie nigga, with a new cast/Get a news flash, that the truth back/This is boom bap, mixed with new raps.” He then goes back to solidifying his come up . “All this talk of illuminati, aint got a clue about me/Bitch I’m Trill-miluminati and got my crew behind me.”