Photo courtesy of RCA Records
By Jordan Trice/ Contributing writer
Infamous hip-hop collective A$AP Mob released their debut super-group album, “Cozy Tapes,” this past week. The collective currently consists of 14 rappers, including well-known artists such as A$AP Ferg, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Twelvyy.
A$AP Mob has often been compared with the likes of Odd Future, Pro-Era and Black Hippy. Since the disbandment of Odd Future in recent years and members of other collectives leaving to pursue solo careers, A$AP Mob has become one of the most respected hip-hop collectives in the industry. Their record sales, sold-out tours and festival circuit bookings back up the hype.
“Cozy Tapes” was released through A$AP Worldwide, the collective’s respective label, in partnership with RCA and Polo Grounds. The collaboration on this album alone is worthy of respect; production from Hector Delgado makes it more enticing. It features Tyler the Creator, Wiz Khalifa, BJ the Chicago Kid, Little Uzi Vert and other notable names in hip-hop.
The album is dedicated to the deceased founder of A$AP Mob, Steven Rodriguez (aka A$AP Yams). Rodriguez died from a drug overdose in January 2015. Members of the collective have been careful to preserve his legacy, maintaining the original trap style and weighted lyricism he would have wanted.
The record boasts a New York-influenced, synthetic hip-hop. The first track, “Yamborghini High,” features a conversation about being cozy that lays out the formatted theme for the rest of the album. “Way Hii” acts as a sort of anthem for the group, reiterating in their own way what “A$AP” really means, mentioning keeping the women, drugs and money all on deck.
While A$AP Mob members typically focus on solo work, featuring each other on their albums and giving collaborative live performances, this isn’t the first time they have joined forces. Prior to “Cozy Tapes,” A$AP Mob collaborated on the 2012 mixtape “Lords Never Worry,” including features from Danny Brown and Flatbush Zombies.
As opposed to early hits made by members of the A$AP Mob, such as “F—–n’ Problems” and “Wild for the Night,” “Cozy Tapes” was produced to be taken seriously, not rage to. Tracks from “Cozy Tapes” were meant to be carefully listened to and definitely won’t be played at your average night club.
A$AP Rocky, Yams’ apprentice, stated in a recent interview, “I gotta be Yams to an extent now. I’ve gotta be the one who shakes hands, kisses babies … and keeps relationships popping.” Yams’ death undoubtedly led to the maturity of A$AP Rocky and others in the group in order to produce this album.
Track “Nasty’s World” features a sample from James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and offers up A$AP Nast exclusively rapping about his A$AP family and superiority to other artists that may be in competition with his super group. Conversely, “Telephone Calls” offers a more serious, hardcore lyrical approach that puts a clean and curious ending to the album. The track also shows how Tyler the Creator has matured as a rapper, having a solid, straight-forward flow with heavy lyrical content as opposed to his goofy style in his first solo records.
A notable aspect of “Cozy Tapes” is its rap skits of day-to-day conversations between Yams and the rest of A$AP Mob.
While the album’s focal point is indeed A$AP Yams, it also has similar characteristics and sounds from past songs and albums of A$AP Mob members, such as “At. Long. Last. A$AP.” and “Trap Lord.”
With that being said, it is possible that the A$AP Mob wanted to keep their style, production and stories the same for “Cozy Tapes” to pay proper homage to Yams. However, the album still gives fans what they want while leaving them curious as to what A$AP Mob plans to do with Volume 2.