Published Dec 04, 2013
7. A$AP Rocky
It's a testament to the infectious sound and charisma of A$AP Rocky that his debut album, Long.Live.A$AP, is still being mentioned despite being released at the top of the year. From its syrupy blend of lean-fueled introspective album cuts like "Suddenly" to the braggadocios boasts of "Fuckin' Problems," the album is a music curator's dream concoction. While Rocky's first effort ultimately sacrifices cohesion for variety, it's his versatility and ability to make an album for everyone that makes it one of the year's strongest releases. '90s-influenced posse cut "1 Train" features the artist holding his own against lyrical monsters like Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T. while "Fashion Killa," despite coming across as a paint-by-numbers single, finds Rocky ably making a fashion manifesto seem appropriate on a hip-hop album.
The young Harlemite reminds us what inspired the crazed blog hype in the first place on the Clams Casino produced "LVL," on which he boasts with his usual brashness, "Lord Pretty Flacko, bitch I behead people/ Kneel and kiss the ring, all hail the King/ Long Live A$AP put that on everything."
Whether he can maintain this level of consistency and charm in his future efforts is up for debate, but for 2013, Long.Live.A$AP. is one of this year's best. (Jabbari Weekes)