DAR Hip Hop: A$AP Rocky's At. Long. Last. A$AP.

By @_N8te

1. Holy Ghost 
2. Canal St.
3. Fine Whine
4. L$D
5. Excuse Me
6. JD
7. Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2
8. Electric Body
9. Jukebox Joints
10. Max B 
11. Pharsyde
12. Wavybone
13. Westside Highway
14. Better Things 
15. M'$
16. Dreams (Interlude)
17. Everyday 
18. Back Home

We dive into a project from one of the most stylish and influential artists of the 2010s, in A$AP Rocky, the leader of the A$AP Mob. It’s time to see what Rocky brings to the roundtable after a successful drop in his previous work, "LONG.LIVE.A$AP" from 2013. Rocky took the mainstream game by storm with “Fuckin Problems” that involved Drake and Kendrick, so we could say he was due for a follow up. We can attest now in the present day that he did his thinv and delivered an avant-garde creation, full of pop/soul samples, with trunk rattling beats. Also, in hand with Rocky’s swagger is his lyrical ability, and prowess on the mic that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Let’s dive into the review, shall we?

We start off with a plunked guitar sample and an experimental drum set that is the makeup of the beat. The overall vibe on the track is trippy and that’s the focus of this entire album. Rocky’s consistent flow is not to be messed with as he discusses his belief in God with several biblical references sprinkled throughout the track, and his return to the rap game, as well as a subliminal jab to rappers who sell their souls to the devil. “Canal St.” is composed of a simplistic, eerie vibe in the production. Rocky’s smooth flow and lyricism discuss life on the drug-ridden streets and the struggles he had to overcome to get to the glamorous life he achieved. Then the hook from Bones calls out the rappers that are all talk about the dope dealing, gang banging, and being in the game, when they are not even close to the actual shit they preach. “Fine Whine” feels as if the previous two track styles were combined into one track. The soulful/soft rock continues and M.I.A did an average job transitioning the pace of the track which leads us into Future’s verse, which is mediocre at best.

Moving on to "L$D", which is one of the lead singles on the album. This is a solid track on the album as the song stays coherent with the makeup of the first couple of tracks on this joint. We see a different side of A$AP Rocky as his sung vocals surprise you off of the first listen, because you would expect it was a feature from someone else. I’m personally not a fan of slow and soft tracks, but this I can listen to at any time of the day and I feel at peace. Now we approach another popular track in “Excuse Me”. The first verse is absolutely one of my favorite verses from Rocky. The flow and how he transitions through each bar is smooth as butter. The hook is clearly a great sing along  acapella wise for his fanbase at concerts. I noticed he enunciates at certain words throughout his bars to edify his rhyme scheme. “JD” is nothing more than a two minute interlude and I don’t have anything to comment on it.

“Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” absolutely bangs. The beat with the obnoxious synthesizer that you hate when you initially hear this track for the first time. As you keep listening to it, you also notice the boom bap sub bass and you’re there rocking your head to the banging beat. The second verse, Rocky brings the heat as he ups his flow. You can’t expect mind blogging verses from A$AP, this isn’t his lane. The way how he says his verses however is why people love him, as he swaggers throughout tracks.

“Trick what? Pimps up, hoes down, whoa now/
Slow down/
See they running with my old style/” 

A very clever line that I completely slept on from the movie Pimps Up, Hoes Down. “Electric Body” transitions into a gangster-esque vibe with TDE rapper ScHoolboy Q. Both rappers bring some pure heat with their lyrical styles as the beat is more aggressive versus other tracks. I absolutely love the hook and the general effect transitions. If you listen to Q, then you know about his backstory. He mentions about when he was 14, he had a .905, how he balls hard like Mike, and how he whips his drugs like Ike. All very clever references and how he incorporates it into the vibe of the track is dope. Jukebox Joints was horrible to me, it felt like a never ending track and once it got to the Kanye West part, I just couldn't take it. Yes I’m a Kanye fan, but I didn’t let this pass. It was TRASH. Now we move to “Max B”, which ends up being a very wavy track with the ode to Max B that sounds eerily similar to Kendrick’ “Backseat Freestyle” in the flow and in the beat of the track. I don’t know if that’s a firm salute to the cornrow rapper from Westside Compton, but I noticed that after several plays. Rocky’s flow in the second verse is brilliant and is the A$AP I like to hear most of the time. I’m not a huge fan of “Pharsyde”, but I can’t lie that the first verse had a feel of an 8 Mile from Eminem. While that was cool, however it starts to get a bit bland throughout the rest of the duration.

Now we progress to “Wavybone” and this track is hands down the best track on the album sonically. It has that mix of 90’s lyricism, but with a southern 2000s beat. Bun B, Pimp C, and big name Juicy J on the hook. Pimp C’s verse is absolutely what gives this track the talk because the lyrical makeup is on point and then Juicy J delivers his own spin on a verse that’s just two great verses back to back. “West Side Highway” would be a close second sonically. It spins like a To Pimp A Butterfly feel like a mix of “These Walls” and “Hood Politics”. Rocky turns a page and reflects the story on himself. Reviewing his glamorous life with the women and fame, as he talks about designer brands, but then wants to fulfill the role of a successful rap artist in the game. The same vibe carries on with “Better Things” as Rocky continues to explore through his mind about women. At this track, we see a bit of a freaky side of Rocky as he claims to “kiss a Dyke and he liked it”. It has a very ghostly vibe as he mumbles throughout the track versus in songs like "Electric Body" where he’s on top of the beat. A smart musical move from Rocky, IMO.

“M’s” is the dark horse of the entire album. It possesses a familiar vibe in “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” and he brings a rap great in Lil Wayne alongside.  I don’t deal with Wayne slander and he can't take any here. Wayne absolutely killed this verse and he brings the heat lyrically and the beat delivers on the second half for him. He’s known more for his elongated verses, but he delivers with a rapid-fire approach on the battlegrounds. “Dreams” should have been a longer track as I was feeling the track, until it drops into “Everyday”, which has dope verses from Rocky. I won’t get into the song lyrically too much, but the rhyme scheme he delivers in his verses is really special.

“But the devotion is getting hopeless/ 
But hold it I’m getting close as my soul is, I’m seeing ghosts/” 

“This type of shit make a nigga wanna flip September through August/ 
This type of shit got’ed busting out the clip in the middle of the office/” 

“Back Home” is exactly the way Rocky aimed to walk out on an AOTY candidate, with a banging track. It’s a tribute to YAMS of course. Rocky talks about the previous times before stardom and introduces Yasiin Bey with a wavy verse and the beat is infectious clearly. Yams ends out the album with the “Dreams” beat and talks to us about several things. Yams discusses about how he never messed with anyone but the Mob, how the Mob made a change in the world and how Harlem creates the wave, and salutes to us with a final goodbye.

This album is dope. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed a majority of this album. I enjoyed the different emotions portrayed in the tracks as A$AP Rocky could be rambunctious in some tracks and depressed in others, but that’s Rocky’s influence on the rap game and expected due to the loss. He was one of the top dogs. Could this album have won AOTY if it wasn’t for TPAB? I don’t really see that happening, but we would never know. It was certainly a contender.



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