Photo courtesy of Flickr
Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer
New York rapper and A$AP Mob co-founder A$AP Rocky made his third studio album available for purchase on Friday. It is his first solo project since 2015’s “AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP” and his most recent since the last A$AP Mob album, “Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy,” released in 2017.
A slew of producers assisted on this project. Héctor Delgado is credited on most songs as a main producer or additional producer and is also a co-executive producer for the project with Juicy J and Rocky. Canadian producer Boi-1da, who’s had a hand in some of 2018’s biggest hits, worked on the track “Fukk Sleep.” Interestingly, Rocky himself is credited as a producer on several songs on this album under the name Lord Flacko. Producer Clams Casino, a long-time A$AP Rocky collaborator, worked on the song “Black Tux, White Collar.” Rico Love, Jim Jonsin and British rapper/producer Skepta received production credits on this project as well.
Guest artists on this album include Kid Cudi, T.I., French Montana, Juicy J, Kodak Black, Frank Ocean and British artist FKA twigs. Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB can also be found delivering background ad-libs on the song “OG Beeper.”
“Distorted Records,” the album’s opener, begins with an electronic synth line that sounds an awful lot like something on Radiohead’s “Kid A,” a band whose work Rocky is a known fan of. A remix to the album’s lead single, “A$AP Forever,” features Kid Cudi, T.I. and Moby, who is sampled on the song, and serves as the album’s second track. The song “Fukk Sleep” is a highlight on the album. It samples Joyner Lucas’ “FYM” and features FKA twigs. The album’s closer is the track “Purity,” which features Frank Ocean and samples Lauryn Hill’s “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind.”
This project is categorized as experimental hip-hop and psychedelic, and for the most part, attempts to live up to this categorization. However, it ultimately falls short of the intended goal. Clearly, Rocky’s intent here was to explore newer sounds. Perhaps individually, the songs on this project may be more meaningful, but they don’t quite come together cohesively on the album.
Ultimately, the project is simply inconsequential as the album. It isn’t interesting enough to be a truly enjoyable experimental listen, neither is it packed with enough contemporary-sounding tracks to fit in with what everyone else is doing today. Rocky is certainly talented enough of an artist with a distinguishable voice to excel at both, but this album just isn’t it.
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