Published Apr 22, 2016Having already released a top ten album and sold out shows across the world, A$AP Ferg isn't new to the spotlight. However, unlike his previous work, Ferg's latest album, Always Strive and Prosper, is searching for much more than the limelight; it's a story about the Trap Lord that is no longer trapped. He's now an artist first.
Referring to himself as a Hood Pope on opener "Rebirth," we're introduced to Ferg's new identity, someone who has myriad sights and sounds in his career to reflect and look back on, plus plenty of future to look forward to. DJ Khalil and Clams Casino provide the production for "Rebirth," and pop in regularly to thread the album together, with production on songs such as "Psycho" and the Marvin Gaye-inspired "Beautiful People," which features Chuck D and Mama Ferg.
It becomes evident that Ferg is more concentrated on breaking the trap mould on deep house cut "Strive," which features Missy Elliot, and on the No I.D.-produced "World Is Mine," featuring Big Sean. Likewise, while Skrillex gave fellow label-mate A$AP Rocky the smash hit "Wild For The Night," Ferg is provided with the menacing, EDM-infused anthem "Hungry Ham."
Despite the new direction, Ferg hasn't abandoned trap entirely. Always Strive gets ignorant, so to speak, mid-album with back to back singles "Let It Bang," "New Level," "Yammy Gang," Swipe Life" and "Uzi Gang" — all of which are star-studded, featuring ScHoolboy Q, Future, A$AP Mob, Rick Ross and rising rap star Lil Uzi Vert, respectively.
While Ferg takes risks with production, offering a sound that may not jibe with his day one fans, he still provides the darker and ominous lyrics that are embraced by trap music. Even with its minor hiccups, Always Strive and Prosper represents more than taking risks — it represents finding newfound freedom in familiar territory. (ASAP Worldwide/Polo Grounds/RCA)