I love ASAP Rocky, for me he remains one of the most relevant rappers in the game at the moment, bar Kendrick, Drake and Kanye, yes surpassing maybe too others like Chance The Rapper and Action Bronson. And now looking to steal some limelight from a couple of the aforementioned, Rocky finally blesses us with his second studio album At. Long. Last. ASAP, his first since his 2013 debut Long Live ASAP. While there wasn’t enough hype surrounding ALLA already, the tracklist was enough to send fans like me into stratosphere. Featuring production from the likes of Rocky himself, Mark Ronson and Danger Mouse, just a few of the names set to appear on the project include Kanye West, MIA, Lil Wayne, ScHoolboy Q and Mos Def.
I’ve resisted listening to any of the singles from ALLA, mainly so that I can experience the project in full in one go, a difficult task, but I’m glad I did it. Directly stemming from his debut are an array of tracks such as Canal St. and the incredible Kanye West-featuring Jukebox Joints, while on the same disc sit songs I never thought Rocky would approach, least of all tackle with such conviction. The atmospheric, psychedelic L$D had me blindly rotating my head in a hazy blur, making me feel as if I had just dropped acid. ‘I guess the new me is gonna get some taking used to’. Damn right ASAP, this album isn’t just a hip-hop album.
ASAP Rocky slots into what I call the ‘nether zone’, a small area of hip-hop artistry that blurs the lines between creativity and respectability. What I mean is that Rocky’s music is as inventive and boundary pushing as anyone’s out there at the moment, yet on the same line of thought, I’d put the guy up against any rapper in the world right now. Again, maybe bar Kendrick, Kanye and Drake. While on Everyday you float along with a nice hook from Miguel and Rod Stewart breaking up the track, on the same project you have unfuckwittable stripped back hip-hop cuts in the form of JD or Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye.
I loved Long Live ASAP, and I love At. Long. Last. ASAP just as much, dare I say more. It’s a continuation of his debut, but at the same time new, fresh and great to listen to. While Drake, Big Sean and co. churn out the same structured ‘hits’, to the same producers, to the same beats, Rocky’s doing this shit with so much more conviction. You only need to compare ASAP’s Electric Body with Drake’s No Tellin’. While others meander, whooping like a child at the end of every line, ASAP has that haunting baseline, an Andre 3000-channelling hook, a Schoolboy Q guest spot, and lines like ‘Got a bitch that’s in the spot and she faded // Yeah, corset top with the new ass shots // Couple Instagram likes, now she famous.’ For me, the two simply don’t compare.
Verdict – WWWW
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