Since his introduction to the world four years ago with his Live.Love.A$AP mixtape, A$AP Rocky has been on a mission to turn his reality into his personal Tumblr page for all of us to watch and take notes. With guidance from his business partner/mentor A$AP Yams, Harlem native Rakim Myers has become one of music and pop culture’s most influential artists of our generation. Infusing Houston chopped and screwed with New York City arrogance, Rocky has created his own hip-hop sub genre.
Two years after the release of his debut project, The Margiela Mad Man returns with At.Long.Last. A$AP. A lot has changed during his time away. Rocky has become a style Icon of sorts, designing for Adidas alongside Jeremy Scott, modeling for major fashion lines, and recently, making his acting debut in the Sundance film festival fan favorite DOPE. In his absence from music the A.$.A.P. Mob general has traveled the world expanding his musical sound and mind, and it’s evident on his latest disc.
A.L.L.A. gives us a more organic sound than his debut project with influences ranging from moody genres like blues-rock, g-funk and psychedelic folk. The album has a dream team of producers ranging from Danger Mouse, Jim Johnson, Mark Ronson, Kanye West and A$AP Rocky himself. Hearing all these big names you’d think the album would be all over the place but it contains cohesiveness. Almost as if Rocky sat everyone down in a room together and gave a power point presentation on how he needs the album to sound. On this LP executive producers Rocky, the late A$AP Yams and Juicy J decided to scrap the old formula of hook-heavy/trippy club anthems and create a psychedelic mind bending trip.
The album kicks off with the haunting track “Holy Ghost.” Here, we find Flacko jaded with the church, battling his own corrupted demons. On “Fine Whine” Rocky is joined by Future & M.I.A over three different drum patterns being played simultaneously, making this one of the album’s stand out tracks. On “Jukebox Joints” Flacko lets us know he actually has some real shit to say, where he raps “Ok, let’s get past all this swag, trapping, and fashion talking.” The track features the soul-sample Kanye that everyone wishes would return. Frequent collaborator Schoolboy Q hops on the obvious club banger “Electric Body” with a verse so hard, we can only hope a new project is on the horizon very soon.
“M’$” opens with Lil Wayne paying homage to A$AP Yams, and then Weezy finishes the track with another huge FUCK YOU to his estranged father-figure Birdman (“I love my YM, ain’t no more CM”). Although “L$D” doesn’t quite catch on as a radio hit, it fits perfectly into the album’s vibe, which finds Rocky crooning throughout the entire song. “Everyday” features the eye-catching duo of Miguel and Rod Stewart. While a good song, it kind of feels like a poor man’s “FourFiveSeconds.” The gem on the album might be the elusive Yasiin Bey’s verse on the closing track “Back Home.” Although his feature is short-lived, he appears long enough for it to be evident that we need new music from him, and soon.
A.L.L.A. is a star-studded melting pot of genres, but the glue that holds it all together is unknown crooner Joe Fox; a homeless musician whom Rocky met on the streets of London. The story of how they met is Fox played music for Flacko hoping to sell him his CD and got something even better. Rocky featured the songwriter/guitarist on a third of the album. That story alone shows that this album wasn’t made to follow trends, but to curate a new sound that Rocky was able to bring to life and make look effortless. The album is perfectly closed out with A$AP Yams going on a rant that only Dame Dash and Diddy could mirror. In the new music streaming-playlist world that we live in At. Long. Last. A$AP is a perfect melting pot of old and new music genres with Rocky making it all his own.