Thursday, January 24, 2013

A$AP Rocky – LoveLiveA$AP (2013) – Review

Review: LoveLiveA$AP is the first high profile and eagerly anticipated hip hop album of 2013, especially given the breakout success of A$AP Rocky’s first album/mixtape LiveLongA$AP and quality of the album’s singles (Goldie and Fuckin’ Problems).

The album is packed full of great featured artists (like ScHoolboy Q, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Gunplay, among others) and hot producers (like Hit-Boy, T-Minus, Clams Casino, 40, Danger Mouse, Jim Jonsin, and Skrillex), but ultimately it is very top heavy. The singles are fantastic, and among the best hip hop records released in 2012. Plus, there are a few other great tracks: Long Live A$AP, PMW (All I Really Need), LVL, Jodye, and Ghetto Symphony. However, there rest of the album is underwhelming and disappointing – given the quality of LiveLongA$AP and expectations for this (his major label debut).

Musically, the album has the modern hip hop sound that has now seemingly become rather commonplace with the success (and maybe even overuse) of producers such as Hit-Boy, T-Minus, 40, and Clam Casino. That said, the beats do fit A$AP Rocky’s flow and style well and most of the best tracks come from those producers. I guess I was just hoping his album would be more sonically innovative, because that is what I expected.

A$AP Rocky does have a great flow, and lyrically he has a few interesting things to say – but there is nothing new or profound. Really, the album is at its best when the listener just zones out and lets it play in the background – which is not really a compliment, but at the same time I think that was its goal: to be something to just chill out with.

A$AP Rocky is one of the bright young talents in hip hop and there is some terrific stuff on LongLiveA$AP; it is just not on the same level as recent releases from other artists leading hip hop’s new sound as a complete album (LPs like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, M.A.A.D. city, ScHoolboy Q’s Habits & Contradictions, or Danny Brown’s XXX, to name but a few). 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Goldie – Produced by Hit-Boy
2)      Fuckin’ Problems – Produced by 40, featuring Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar
3)      Long Live A$AP – Produced by Jim Jonsin and Rico Love

Available on: CD and Digital Download

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