Published Jan 14, 2013If you're looking for spellbinding technical rapping on LongLiveA$AP, you'll find it. It just won't be dripping from the mouth of the album's gutter-flamboyant host, whose appeal lies not in his double entendres, but in his dozy/cocky aesthetic. You'll love this album, but you won't learn much from it — "Pussy, money, weed/that's all a nigga need" goes one refrain. Too often, buzzed-about rap rookies feel that they must be the only star of their show, but A$AP Rocky plays so well with others that every collaboration, even the ones that look awkward on paper, adds to the experience. So too would a shot glass of Buckley's (we're guessing). Santigold ("Hell") and Skrillex ("Wild for the Night") define the songs they appear on, but the self-proclaimed "jiggy nigga" rides shotgun effortlessly; it's as if Rocky knows his place in rap's new-generation MC pecking order. Pretty Flacko happily rhymes first on single "Fuckin' Problem," conceding both the hook duties and memorable one-liners to Kendrick Lamar, Drake and 2 Chainz. And on the indisputable "1 Train" mega-posse cut, A$ap gets off a few bars and then lets a stream of now-school talent overshadow his words: Joey Bada$$, Lamar (again), Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T., who makes good on clean-up duties. "1Train" is an event song, the kind of '90s throwback album cut that, in a bygone era, would cause a segment of heads to buy the CD just for that one tune. It isn't until late in the proceedings that Rocky hints at something deeper than DJ Screw macabre, Spice 1 recklessness ("Fuck the conscious crap, my Mac'll push your conscious back") and having better clothes than you. "I do this for my culture/Penny, nickels in the sofa/Mommy watchin' Oprah/Daddy in the kitchen whippin' soda," Rocky flips on his greatest lyrical achievement: "Suddenly." There are no cameos on that one. Don't tell Will Smith, but Rocky just made jiggy cool again.
Check out our A$AP Rocky cover story here.