ASAP Rocky Review: ASAP Rocky’s Change of Pace
ASAP Rocky released his second major label album on Monday night titled At.Long.Last.ASAP.
ASAP Rocky Changes It Up For Second Album
The sophomore slump is a common pitfall for all musicians regardless of genre. After a commercially successful album, artists often feel the pressure to surpass a wildly popular debut overwhelming; not so for ASAP Rocky (stylized A$AP).
Originally scheduled for a June 2 release, At.Long.Last.A$AP (Polo Grounds/RCA) dropped a week early after a leak Monday afternoon. The album shows Rocky, the self styled Lord Pretty Flacko, straying from the polished, ritzy, star studded hits of his previous album and returning to the drugged out, hazy Flacko that fans of his mix tapes are more familiar with.
Led by the singles “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)” and “Everyday,” Rocky takes his listeners into a thick cloud of marijuana smoke, dripping synths and pitched down, codeine slurred vocals. The album finds it strongest points when Rocky embraces his inherent contradictions; he name drops his favorite fashion designers including Rick Owens and Raf Simons no less than 15 times but raps on “Canal St.” that he “went to Paris for my trunks, 100 thousand spent on Goyard/ Used it once, couldn’t give a s***, damn or f*** about ‘em.”
Executive production on the album comes from Danger Mouse, Juicy J and the recently deceased hip hop entrepreneur ASAP Yams whose influence is deeply ingrained into every aspect of Rocky’s career. Together they push Rocky towards more experimental flows than he typically displays, often dropping into double time rather than his typical Houston rap appropriated ‘chopped’ drawl.
Even the guest selection on the album is ambitious. Schoolboy Q reminds us how potent the combination of Harlem and Hoover St is on “Electric Body”; Joe Fox, Rocky’s busker turned star protege comes through to contribute hooks on five songs and even the Lord Yeezus himself, Kanye West comes through to drop a verse on the chipmunk soul sampling “Jukebox Joints.”
Perhaps most interesting is Rocky showing his diverse taste by tapping Rod Stewart and Miguel at the same time for the soon-to-be radio hit “Everyday.” M.I.A, Future, Bones, James Fauntleroy, Juicy J, James Franco and UGK (complete with a verse from the deceased Pimp C) also appear on the album.
Whether the star studded guest list is a function of Rocky’s reach or of his inability to completely carry an album yet is unclear. On the ominous ‘Fine Whine’, a love letter to codeine from Rocky, auto tune crooner Future and perennial indie darling M.I.A, Rocky delivers only one seriously sub par verse and depends on the others to carry the weight for him.
Even on when he’s far out of his realm of comfort on the psychedelic “L$D,” Rocky sticks to his usual tropes of drugs and women; not that it’s any less catchy. Even when he’s at his most played out, the beat selection and the departure from traditional hip hop braggadocio is a breath of fresh air for listeners tired of more commercial hip hop.
Check out the video to ‘L$D’ here and let us know what you thought of the album in the comments section!
Get At.Long.Last.ASAP here: