A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP Review
Posted by Tony Acero on 01.16.2013
A$AP Rocky's anticipated debut solo album Long.Live.A$AP is out in stores! Is it a fresh start for the New York rapper, or does it leave much to be desired? 411's Tony Acero checks in with his full review!
Long Live A$AP
01 Long Live A$AP
03 PMW (All I Really Need) feat. Schoolboy Q
05 Hell feat. Santigold
06 Pain feat. OverDoz
07 F**kiní Problems feat. Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar
08 Wild For The Night feat. Skrillex
09 1Train feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T.
10 Fashion Killa
DELUXE EDITION TRACKS
Produced by Joey Fatts & LORD FLACKO
14 Ghetto Symphony feat. Gunplay & A$AP Ferg
16 I Come Apart feat. Florence Welch
Named after hip hop legend Rakim, A$AP Rocky didn't stray too far away from hip hop. After some tragedy hit home, he opted to take rapping a bit more seriously, and created a buzz in his early years the way most new artists do in the new millenium; the internet. With a bevy of YouTube videos and the building of a crew around him, his fame grew to new heights and it was only a matter of time before he put out an album. With a leak nearly a month ahead of schedule, and a promise of it being an amazing hip hop album (as per A$AP himself), there's a lot of promises being made. Does A$AP live up to those promises, or does the album belong as a YouTube only one?
The album starts off with the single that took to the airwaves first, "Long Live A$AP," and it's a solid effort from A$AP, but with the exception of two tracks, both with guest stars, this album has next to nothing going for it. We are introduced to the heavily bassed voice alterated "AWWWMPH" sound, and it doesn't leave. Seriously, it's on every single song. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the track "Pain" featuring OverDoz, that starts off with exactly what I'm talking bout. Or "Goldie" which has the entire first verse and chorus more reminiscent of Macaulay Culkin using his Talkboy in Home Alone 2 than any actual rapper aside from Mike Jones, and really...who wants to emulate him?
If you can get over the annoying addition of the Talkboy voice, then you must still peel back the layer of "been there, done that" before you can get to any actual talent. This is where the album falls its flattest. After multiple listens, one can see that A$AP has a semblance of talent - causing me to change my mind from my first impression of him that came from "Purple Swag" - which was horrid. A$AP's content is relatively shallow, as he is not saying anything new. In fact, if 2 Chainz didn't blow up in 2013, he may very well have survived during this album, considering both he and 2 Chainz are speaking of the same shit, only at different levels of "money."
Taking a step back and listening to the album as an anthem of the hungry still leaves the listener wanting more. Songs like "Suddenly" and "Ghetto Symphony" speak of the tales should probably make us applaud for A$AP finally getting his spotlight, but with cheap sounding beats and weak flow, it comes off as easily unforgettable and unnecessary.
As I stated in the beginning, the two stand out tracks both have a list of guest stars. The 2 Chainz assisted song "Fuckin Problems" has Drake actually rapping, and Kendrick Lamar having some fun, allowing A$AP to still shine. Similarly, "Train" features Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T. all giving some serviceable verses, even if the beat sounds like it was found on YouTube.
As a first album, one can tell that A$AP is still trying to find his footing. He keeps his buddies around, which is fine - and they even show him up on a couple of tracks, but when he tries to venture out, such as with "Wild for the Night" with Skrillex, it comes off as a weak attempt of a crossover. When he attempts to be serious, he ruins it with a lack of "OOMPH" and when he attempts to have fun, he doesn't come off as anything new. If one could label him as a mixture of current "stars," he'd be a mix of 2 Chainz and Odd Future. That is not a compliment.
The 411: The album has a lot of potential, but it never reaches the level that A$AP assumes it does. It will likely be forgotten after only a couple of months. He has far too many crutches (and which rapper doesn't, really) that are annoying like the Talkboy voice and his constant "BWOOOA!" I understand he is hitting a target market, and to an extent, I am sure they'll be somewhat happy with it. But as a wide release album, attempting to garner new fans, I don't think he did himself any favors with it.