Reviews

A$AP Rocky – “AT. LONG. LAST. A$AP” (Album Review)

Rocky brings his us 2nd LP, a loopy, trippy, atmospheric ride on the acid-psychedelic highway.

Man, I heard some straight up fire in my car this week, and his name is A$AP Rocky. AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP is the name of Rocky’s 2nd studio album, his 1st being Long.Live.A$AP which came out in 2013.

But, he’s got a full roster of dope musicians/producers: The late Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez (executive producer), Danger Mouse (also executive producer), Juicy J (executive producer), Clams Casino, Hector Delgado(executive producer), Frans Mernick, Curtis Heron, Nez & Rio, Thelonious Martin, DDot Omen, Mark Ronson, Emile, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Mike Dean, Kanye West, & Plu2o Nash.

Man. Best believe this is an album crafted with real musicianship. And it really, really shows. A$AP Rocky has never been afraid to bluntly state exactly who he is and what he’s about. Some of it you may not expect. As it turns out, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP is a trippy, psychedelic trap-road trip, that has to be making KiD CuDi cry right now, because this sounds like the album he’s been trying to make his entire career.

The intro song, “Holy Ghost”, is the perfect representation of that, and a perfect intro to what you can expect on this project. A$AP flows over some classic-rock based production. In another genre, it could almost sound like a slow ballad, then once the hook hits, “Holy ghost/ I’m on my knees, I’m on my knees/ Holy ghost, you’re all I need, you’re all I need” – it elevates the song even further, and solidifies its class-rock foundation. The vocals on the hook are almost haunting. With the beginning of the sound being an audio clip of a white man speaking to a group of religious followers, the song has a theme of spirituality embedded inside it. Rocky places himself on a separate pedestal from all other rappers on this, and with a little help from Joe Fox, Danger Mouse and DJ Khalil, it’s justified.

There is a lot of variety in the production throughout this whole project. That’s evident on the 2nd track “Canal St.”, which has probably one of the favorite hooks on the album, and carries a dark, moody atmosphere like most songs on the album do. He slows it down on “Fine Whine”, employing that deep, booming reverb voice, on some real melodically moody production – but it picks up once M.I.A. jumps on the mic, tribal drums accompanying underneath her voice, as well as Future. There are a lot of little beat flips like that all throughout AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP.

You’re probably already familiar with L$D and what that sounds like. But this is probably the most appropriate song to test listeners who may be weary of this project, coming in at just the right time in the album tracklist. A$AP attempts to move away from the rap-flow and try on a more sensual, singing-approach. The effects on his vocals certainly help, as well as the spacey, airy production and instrumentation.

“Excuse Me” is the first song where LORD FLACKO makes an appearance on the soundboard. Rocky’s confident and slickly bragadocious, over some extremely melodic, beautifully constructed music. KiD CuDi really wishes he could make a song like this. It’s the little details in songs like this on the album that let it excel. The slight changes in the instrumentation during the second verse. It’s addictive. Rocky also does not skimp on the rap skills, spitting and flowing quite nicely.

“JD” (Jimmy Dean) is the first interlude, 1:46 long, real dark and confrontational sounding – Plu2o Nash. “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)” has one of the more standout beats, you can’t miss it and you can’t ignore it. Rocky rides it well, flow is impeccable. Only wish the song was longer.

Who the jiggy nigga with the gold links?
Got me reminiscin’ ’bout my old day
Three 6, suck a nigga dick, no foreplay, all day
Boomin’ out the trap through the hallway
Tell me what you niggas know about it
Auntie sayin’ turn it down, or she finna call the cops
We be plottin’ on the ops, she the one who got the drop
Just a free, quick fix, to the A and it’s okay
They gon’ take me back to my old ways
I was tryna chill, poppin’ seals ever since I got a deal
Kick it with my model chick, sip Cris, fuck niggas wanna diss
Now I gotta let ’em know who’s really trill

Crazy beat right here, with “Electric Body”, featuring ScHoolboy Q. Oooozing with personality, charisma, and gangster swag. Right now, Q got that gangsta rap voice on lock. And has a great beat switch-up in the last third.

[Verse 2: Schoolboy Q]
Ever seen a crib like this? Diamonds in my ear like wrists
Pull off at the light like, ‘Wuh’, lookin’ like a mil in that trunk
Two-seater got me lookin’ all clumped, hit a nigga wig on sight
Serve a nigga mom off white, I’ma get it so high, I’m Christ
Nigga, ball so hard like Mike, I could whip that bitch like Ike
I can fuck your bitch off hype, pink ring, got bling all right
How a hot nigga rock this ice? 14, almost got that strike
14, almost did that time, 14, had a 905
Clip small, but the shit shoot fine
Shoot a spine, make a nigga recline
Start sparkin’, a nigga go blind, G Rides, hoppin out of Nissans
Do I got them hoes chirpin’? Yeah
Do I put the work in? Yeah
Do I got them hoes out workin’? Yeah
Do I make ’em put the work in the Birkin? Yeah

“Jukebox Joints” is the first collaboration between two of hip-hop’s most fashion famous emcees, Rocky and Kanye. The song samples an Indonesian song by Rasela, titled “Doa Untuk Kasih”, as well as “Much Better Off” from the legendary Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and “Who Cares” by Tony Aiken & Future 2000. And Kanye does what he always does. “They wanna throw me under a white jail,Cause I’m a black man with confidence of a white male/Hallelujah”.

More greatness on the production-tip with songs like “Max B” – Max B was given a 75 year jail sentence for his crimes. As a result Rocky dedicates this song to him because of the cases he could have caught. The song is based around him being arrested as Rocky contemplates all his unlawful acts and wrongdoings that could have landed him in Max B’s shoes – “Pharsyde”, a beautiful mesh with a ’60s sound with deep trap influences.

“Wavybone” is one of the best songs on here. Rocky, UGK and Juicy J talk about one thing. Getting money. And it’s what they do. Produced by Crazy Mike, Juicy J & Lil Awree. Each emcee spits the first 8 bars on one tempo, and the other 8 (more like 4 to 7) have the beat speed up its tempo, thus, making the rapper change their flow up to match it, and it is so sick. I love J’s best the verse. It’ll have you like:

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Every song on here has great production and personality. I love “M’$”, and the project has a great final song. If there is one downfall, this didn’t need to be an 18 track album. Maybe just a few too many songs, but none of them are terrible. I expect to be playing something off of AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP on a weekly basis at least, for the rest of the year. Top 10 of 2015 status for me. This shit is solid as fuck, Rocky has become an official musician with this project. Go cop.

At. Long. Last. A$AP

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