Album Review: ASAP Rocky – Long.Live.ASAP
It’s been a long road to release for the ASAP frontrunner. October 31st, 2011 was the day in which we received the critically applauded Live. Love. ASAP mixtape. As beloved as it is unforgettable, the project essentially solidified the idea of ASAP Rocky being an artist worth your attention moving into the new year however, as 2012 came and went, the Harlem native came up relatively short. Touring, assisting in numerous features, collaborating with his ASAP Mob on a mixtape (in which he was rarely seen), releasing videos and a couple of singles helped keep the 24 year old afloat, but it could not veil the painfully obvious: a series of release date push backs (including September 11th and October 31st , the anniversary of his Live.Love.ASAP project) led most to believing Rakim Mayers wasn’t in an ideal position and even worse, the CD wouldn’t be worth hearing. Following this nearly hopeless outlook on the scenario, the date was finally set and the album Long.Live.ASAP was to arrive on January 15th, 2013. Not including the fact that the project prematurely leaked to the world wide web a month before the project’s release, the deck is stacked against Rocky’s debut album, but is Rocky’s effort enough to put the doubt to rest? The answer is a resounding yes.
ASAP Rocky’s debut deserves all of it’s praise. From the introduction (which serves as the title track) to tracks like “Pain”, the idea that the artist has sonically evolved from his previous effort is met with creative lyricism and grander, finer instrumentals in the lane of his past work but more imaginative. Production here is innovative and daring, coming from those within the ASAP camp and guests alike.
Certain tracks take hold with a unique edgy appeal such as the techno infused “Wild for the Night” but one of the best efforts is the 90’s inspired posse track named after New York transportation “1 Train.” Featuring the likes of Joey Badass, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown and more of the raised up and comers, this record hits as hard as the artists who grace it, all proceeding to dismantle the Hit-Boy produced cut.
Variety also defines the effort made throughout this project with songs like “Goldie” and “Fashion Killa” that feel less heavy then others, the latter being an infectiously catchy track surrounding his stylistically proficient interest of the opposite sex. From there the project exudes a feeling of bittersweet satisfaction, as “Phoenix” contains a passive delivery full of reminiscent thoughts and “Suddenly” is an excellent addition, but not an appropriate ending. The best representation of the project is in its deluxe edition, with the chamber music cut “Jodye” and the eerily intense “Ghetto Symphony” which stand out towards the end of the piece.
Ultimately the New York native succeeds with his debut. It’s courageous & powerful in a sense, only falling short in the sometimes-empty lyricism that may emerge. As a whole, Long.Live.ASAP is a collection of Rocky’s best, containing diverse quality tracks that represent his knack to remain comfortable in several musical settings. New York is often considered one of very few nuclei in terms of Hip Hop. That said, it goes without saying that in recent memory it hasn’t lived up to that title but if Rocky continues to improve? Harlem won’t have a reason to fret.