By: Steve Mainzer, KCOU Hip Hop Director
LongLiveLord Flacko. Delayed thrice, A$AP Rocky’s debut studio album Long.Live.A$AP lives up to its hype. The 24-year-old Harlem MC has proven that he is worth his $3 million dollar record deal from RCA, and then some, capturing the eyes of critics and the public. With the release of Rocky’s first mixtape, 2011’s Live.Love.A$AP, Rocky provided a new sound to hiphop and a different flavor to East Coast rap with his smooth flow and airy production. He brought together the likes of artists such SpaceGhostPurrp and Clams Casino to create a new wave of East Coast music. The production was so slow and drugged out it makes the listener feel like they were sipping lean, as Rocky proclaims,“everything is purple” over and over again. (Rocky, despite his Harlem upbringing, showed his interest in Southern rap by adopting“lean,”or cough syrup with codeine, a drug extremely popular in the South during the 90s that has resurfaced.)
As a result, Rocky was faced with great pressure to change the game with his debut studio album. The young MC went out and collaborated with some of the game’s hottest stars, such as Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, and Schoolboy Q. Nonetheless, Rocky still managed to stay within his comfort zone by limiting the amount of guest stars on the album and staying true to his“trill” sound.
On Long.Live.A$AP, Rocky continues to provide a swift and steady flow that picks up and slows down on the dime, resembling a modern-day BoneThugsNHarmony. The list of producers this time around includes HitBoy, A$AP Ty Beats, and Danger Mouse, who all provide a clear cut sound rather than the dominant airy noise Rocky has experimented with in the past. In addition to the refined production, Rocky naturally depicts what it truly felt like growing up struggling: “I remember way back when / A motherfucker used to have to borrow cash from my friends / just to put a snack up in the fridge,” he spits on the track “Suddenly,” as he completely takes over the song with his smooth flow postdrum kick.
Rocky has indeed proven that there is more to his music than weed, 40’s, and “bad” women, all while dominating the beats given to him. Rocky also proves that he still fits with the underground by collaborating with a number of rappers under the radar, including Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Yelawolf, and Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. on the album’s 6 minute journey “1Train.” The HitBoy produced beat gives A$AP and all the other rappers room to spit like it’s a freestyle. Aside from“Suddenly” and “1Train,” the track “PMW” caught my attention, as Rocky sounds especially at home rapping with fellow star and good pal Schoolboy Q over a crisp T- Minus beat. Rocky and Q, also caught the ears of Kendrick Lamar fans, as Q raps,“Woopsy daisy, put a good kid in your section 80.”
At the ripe age of 24, Rocky is well on his way to becoming a staple of this new hip hop golden era. Make sure to keep an eye on that pretty mothaf***a’.
Coming from the suburbs of Chicago, Steven is a junior Journalism major who enjoys playing basketball, watching Judd Apatow movies and listening to Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T. and more. He believes he can jump as high as any rec star that plays intramural basketball and is attempting to start his own record label at MU titled Suburban Roots Entertainment. He is also the deejay of the show “Mainz and Palms in Da Morn.”