"At.Long.Last.A$AP" - Album Review
Rakim Mayers, better known by his stage name, A$AP Rocky, is a New York rapper and is generally considered to be the head of the infamous hip-hop collective, ‘A$AP Mob’. Initially releasing interesting and catchy Cloud Rap/Pop Rap tracks, A$AP Rocky followed up by releasing his debut mixtape Live. Love. A$AP in 2011. This mixtape included many catchy hooks, interesting melodies, and very impressive production with an aesthetic, glossy sound. Rocky played the role of a braggadocios, yet interesting New York rapper well, which is why this mixtape was critically acclaimed. His impressive debut made my expectations for his follow up EP, At. Long. Last. A$AP, fairly high.
My first reaction to the album was how the production quality of his previous release was matched in this new release. The opening track, “Holy Ghost” features a spacious, yet steady and pulsing beat which accompanies his carefully paced flow very well. The only problem with opening with such a strong track is how it was my favourite single within the entire album. This track is followed by “Canal St.”, which includes a verse from Bones, who is my favourite feature on the EP.
Unfortunately, the album goes downhill from this point. “Fine Whine”, the third track, is my least favourite, and for a good reason. A$AP Rocky’s pitched down singing is practically unlistenable, while M.I.A. and Future (especially M.I.A.) prove to be the most pointless and annoying features I’ve heard on an album in a long time.
From the fourth track, “L$D”, to the ninth track, “Jukebox Joints”, the album is barely listenable, with songs that lack a catchy hook, interesting lyrics, or any noticeable purpose. A$AP Rocky relies on glossy production far too much and seems uninterested while he spits his verses, as do his features, including disappointing segments from Kanye West and Schoolboy Q.
Things pick up again, with the song “Max B”. This song, which includes a ‘spoons against a glass’ beat, is the second strongest track on the album. This impressive single initiates the latter half of the EP, which, in my opinion, is the stronger half. However, many of the songs, including “Better Things”, “M’$”, and “Dreams”, blend together to create one jumble of tracks, which does not give the listener any reason to remember their names. If anything, the songs are listenable, and might make you consider downloading them illegally onto your Apple device.
Towards the end of the album, the track “Everyday” appears, which features an interesting vocal hook from Rod Stewart. The distorted church organ in the background reminds me of a ‘Madvillain’ type beat, and the nostalgia was very enjoyable. The closing track, “Back Home”, which features the deceased A$AP Yams, is a fitting conclusion, yet does not add any new concepts or ideas to this “hour and a bit long” project.
I do not hate this album. In fact, there are certain elements within the EP which are extremely enjoyable and forced me to give them a second listen. However, the generally weak features, lethargic lyricism and overreliance on production makes A$AP Rocky’s Album, At. Long. Last. A$AP, slightly underwhelming.
The strong tracks are overshadowed by the abundance of bad songs, and when I say bad, I mean it. Too many poor singles, on top of lazy delivery forces one to feel uneasy during certain parts of this EP. One can only hope now, that in future projects, A$AP Rocky will be able to get back to the glossy, cloud-rap style which he executed so well in his first mixtape.
Until then, we are left with At. Long. Last. A$AP, an album which hasn’t decided if it even likes itself.
Released: May 26th, 2015
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Producer: Lord Flacko
Features: Joe Fox, Bones, Future, M.I.A., Schoolboy Q, Kanye West, Juicy J, UGK, James Fauntleroy, Lil Wayne, Rod Stewart, Miguel, Mark Ronson, Mos Def, Acyde, A$AP Yams
Favourite Tracks: “Holy Ghost” (feat. Joe Fox), “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2”, “Max B” (feat. Joe Fox), “Everyday” (feat. Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson)
Least Favourite Tracks: “Fine Whine” (feat. Future, Joe Fox and M.I.A.), “L$D”, “JD”
Overall Rating: 6.5/10