By Jackson Ibelle
A$AP Rocky Shows Off Musical Creativity With New Album
With his experimental second album, A$AP Rocky put away any doubts of his musical creativity and gave us some of his best material yet. After 2013’s slightly underwhelming Long Live A$AP, he disappeared from music for the majority of the last two years, instead choosing to become a fashion icon. This, coupled with the death of his close friend A$AP Yams, gave the A$AP mob’s momentum a hit. You can count me among those who believed that Rocky’s days atop the rap game were behind him.
The albums experimental nature became apparent with the release of the single Everyday, the 17th song on the album. Featuring Miguel, Mark Ronson and, shockingly Rod Stewart, Everyday begins with the chorus from Stewarts “In A Broken Dream.”
Everyday I spend my time
Drinking wine, feeling fine
Waiting here to find the sign
That I should take it slow
A strange combination, certainly, but the clash of styles is still one of the albums highlights. The trippy, drug infused, L$D, takes a few listens to get used to, but Rocky’s slow, singing flow has a calming effect. The song is a tribute to his new choice drug, which he told the New York Post had a strong influence on the album. This is apparent in the MIA and Future assisted Fine Whine as well. The single Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2, and Wavybone, with verses from UGK and Juicy J are other standouts and you can read about the introduction, Holy Ghost, here. In addition A$AP teams up with Schoolboy Q, a tandem that has had great success in the past with Brand New Guy, PMW and Hands On The Wheel. Their latest song Electric Body is another party oriented song that is sure to be a hit.
Rocky also shows off his improved lyricism on the Danger Mouse produced Pharcyde, speaking on more serious issues, which he has previously avoided.
Gentrification split the nation that I once was raised in
I don’t recall no friendly neighbors face on my upraising
Sometimes I wish that I could get away and charter spaceships
To get away from my inhuman race with hearts of Satans
Whether it’s the death of Yams, his recent drug use or just getting older, this socially conscious side of A$AP is a welcome addition.
Also featured on Pharcyde is the albums breakout star, Joe Fox. Fox and Rocky crossed paths at 4 AM in London while the album was being recorded. Fox was a homeless street performer at the time, and he was trying to get passers by to take his demo CD. Rocky told him straight up, he wasn’t going to listen to it; instead he wanted Fox to play the guitar for him. Upon hearing his performance, Rocky not only let Fox be on 5 of the albums songs, but also move in with him temporarily. Surely we will be hearing Fox on more hooks in the future.
At.Long.Last.A$AP is not without it’s missteps though, with some of Rocky’s biggest features falling flat. The Kanye West produced and featured track, Jukebox Joints is one of the albums worst. Kanye delivers an extremely disappointing verse that falls flat. The final song, an homage to A$AP Yams, called Back Home doesn’t quite fit with the beat and doesn’t have the same hard hitting lyrics you would expect for a tribute. Still, A$AP Rocky takes big strides forward as an artist with his second album, showing much more versatility than in the past.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
Be Sure To Check Out: Holy Ghost, Canal St, LPFJ2, Pharsyde, Everyday