A$AP Rocky 'has proved worthy'
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 23:01
Since his release of the Long.Live.A$AP. mixtape in 2011, A$AP Rocky has been on the radar in the underground hip-hop world. While women, fashion and getting high are pervasive themes in his lrics, A$AP’s style and flow stood out from other MCs rapping about the same thing. His latest album, Long.Live. A$AP, released on January 15, gives audiences improved lyrics and witticisms as well as a more holistic view of the rapper.
Born in Harlem, Rakim Mayers was named after hip-hop legend Rakim in 1988. Adolescent struggles, including his father’s imprisonment on drug charges and the murder of his brother when Mayers was 12, inspired Mayers to take rapping more seriously. In 2007, Rocky assembled a collection of rappers, producers, and music video directors under the name A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his current moniker. Though A$AP has many meanings, including “Always Strive and Prosper” and “Assassinating Snitches and Police,” Rocky’s favorite is “Acronym Symbolizing Any Purpose.” His first singles, “Peso” and “Purple Swag,” blew up in 2011 and paved the way for the rapper’s success with the Long.Live.A$AP mixtape and later his studio album.
A$AP Rocky wastes no time identifying himself in the first song, “Long Live A$AP,” where the rapper outlines the struggles he’s faced in life, with verses about stealing, religion and a hometown where everyone needed to watch their own backs. With a heavy bass drop in the beginning and a roll to emulate thunder, A$AP adds a nice hook to the song where he sings in a falsetto voice that I first mistook for a second singer. Next is “Goldie,” one of my personal favorites with its witticisms and smooth spin on lyrics. Keeping the energy high is “PMW,” a euphemism for women, money, and weed. It features Schoolboy Q and is lined with a trippy, high-pitched melody.
Amidst the upbeat songs, Rocky intersperses a chill and philosophical side. with songs like “Phoenix.” In “Phoenix,” he poses questions about life and the attention he’s receiving so suddenly, about the control he’s taken of his future, and about his faith in God. The same theme carries on to his last song on the album, “Suddenly.” Joining forces with rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big Krit on “1Train,” Rocky delivers a performance just as raw as the other rappers.
A major criticism that Rocky has received is that he sounds lazy over hard beats. But songs like “Hell” prove that his past laziness has turned into focus and direction. Rocky experiments with tracks like “Wild for the Night,” which was produced by Skrillex, and “F***kin Problems” featuring 2 Chainz, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Though they demonstrate a different style from the rest of the album, Rocky manages to stay interesting and keep his flow.
All in all, Rocky has proved worthy of the amount of excitement he has generated. While hip hop may get a stronger and more unified voice from an upcoming MC, Rocky proves himself an important part of the genre.