A$AP Rocky is a descendant of smooth-talking Harlem libertines like Spoonie Gee and Ma$e, but unlike those two, Rocky is no detail wonk. For him, music is not to be mastered; it's to be leveraged for personal gain. A student of fashion, Rocky has spent years currying approval not from hip-hop notables, but from the lilywhite scenesters and scions he'll need to build his clothing empire. These relationships are purely transactional.
On the businesslike Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy, Rocky and his acolytes convene for a rundown of trends worth exploiting; as such, it often sounds like a Migos album as interpreted by 16 clueless New Yorkers. The lack of thump and energy is fatal, throwing cold water on any chance Rocky may have had at profiting off of Migos' grassroots momentum. At its best ("Frat Rules"), CTV2 is perfunctory; at its worst ("Get a Bag"), it denotes a scornful disinterest in what makes club-goers tick.
You are the company you keep, which bodes poorly for A$AP Mob's glamorous point man. Rocky is constantly flanked by marble-mouthed peers like A$AP Ferg and A$AP Nast. To Ferg's credit, the guy is a rarefied performer, but his theatrics get exhausting.
CVT2 could do well on a micro level — A$AP Mob seem to enjoy 100 percent name ID in their fiercely loyal and protective hometown. Of course, that won't satisfy the terminally ambitious Rocky; he wants more for himself, but his inattention to craft here is self-defeating. (Polo Grounds/RCA)