Christmas has arrived early for A$AP Rocky fans: the hot Harlem rapper’s debut album Long.Live.A$AP has found its way to the Internet. With such anticipation and a massive “who’s who” production and feature list, every new listen offers fresh revelations. Here are seven observations to keep in mind when experiencing A$AP’s proper debut.
1. A$AP Rocky Really Likes to Sing
The album’s opener, “Long Live A$AP,” features Rocky breaking out into a falsetto trill for part of the chorus, while the eerie Danger Mouse-produced “Phoenix” has him handling a bunch of backing vocals, as revealed to Hive last week.
2. The Song With Skrillex is Suspect
Recorded in tandem with dubstep king Skrillex, “Wild For the Night” is, well, a whole hog of a mess and quickly devolves into an annoying sinister voice proclaiming the song’s title and pesky synth squeals.
3. Rocky Is on a Spiritual Tip
With Danger Mouse behind the boards, “Phoenix” is an atmospheric and otherworldly addition to the closing section to the album. Over haunting backing vocals, Rocky drops a paranoid rap that references Michael Jackson, the Illuminati, and has him proclaiming, “Now all hail to the Lord like you do to God/ Who am I? Lord Flacko/ Painting in the pictures call me Basquiat Picasso.”
4. A$AP Rocky and Clams Casino Is Still a Great Combination
The Hit-Boy crafted anthem “Goldie” and the recent team-up with Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz for “Fuckin’ Problems” might be Rocky’s assault on the radio, but he’s most persuasive when teaming up with long-time foil Clams Casino for the back-to-back tracks “LVL” and “Hell.” The combination of Clammy Clams’ hazy beats and Rocky’s evocative voice is still a powerful alliance — and it’s a shame Clams only gets two production spots on the album.
5. Big K.R.I.T. steals “1 Train”
Rocky was right when he told us last week that Big K.R.I.T. came through with the show-stealing verse on the posse cut “1 Train.” With the list of random rappers on the track also including Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson, the rugged Hit-Boy produced song comes off like a vintage Funkmaster Flex freestyle-a-thon.
6. A$AP Rocky Is Not One of Those Conscious Cats
As he puts it on the freaky “Suddenly”: “Don’t view me as no conscious cat/ This ain’t no conscious rap/ Fuck the conscious crap/ I’m a have to push your conscious back.” Following up “Phoenix,” the song is on the autobiographical tip as Rocky also reveals details about his upbringing and formative years back in the days when “Busta had the rhymes/ Puffy had the Shyne … that was the shit that made me rhyme.”
7. You’ll Have to Wait to Hear Florence Welch
The version circulating online is missing this curious collaboration.