A$AP Rocky has ascended as one of the more popular rappers of this new generation with his region bending sound and hit songs “Problems” and “Wild for the Night.” Rocky is the figurative son of great rappers from the past such as Pimp C, Cam’ron, and Krayzie Bone. He takes from all of these influences to carry his very unique sound forward. Rocky seems to be less interested than before in dropping top 40 Billboard smash singles and has instead adopted a more cohesive sound from start to end.
The vibe of his latest album, “At.Long.Last.A$AP.,” is very relaxed and feels as if you’re engulfed in whatever psychedelic drug Rocky was experimenting with at the time. Think early Kid Cudi, as his influential imprints are all over this album. This very hazy and psychedelic feeling is apparent on the song “L$D” where the Harlem rapper places the listener momentarily into his druggy world. Guest feature Future delivers a great verse, filled with his distinct crooning on “Fine Whine.” Kanye West did make an appearance on “Jukebox Joints,” however, it didn’t measure up to Kanye standards. “Everyday” is a very rare collaboration with the likes of Rod Stewart, Miguel, and Mark Ronson that surprisingly works really well. “Wavybone” is a smooth as silk track which features a posthumous verse from the late legend Pimp C who shares his desires and dreams for Sheryl Crow as well as his affinity for All American muscle cars. It’s great to hear his legendary presence on a track again, as his voice sounds like sweet iced tea being poured into a mason jar on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
“M’$” delivers one of the more up-tempo cuts on the album and one of the best Lil Wayne verses in years. “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” is a synth based banger that’s kind of short with a run time of 2 minutes — which is disappointing but still really good. Flacko and ScHoolboy Q team up on “Electric Body” where their impeccable chemistry is apparent as their styles complement one another perfectly. A new sign of maturity is even present in the album as brief segments of speaking out on social issues such as gentrification and police brutality are tackled by Rocky. Even in these brief moments they are greatly appreciated and a breath of fresh air given the events surrounding our nation the past year.
Overall the atmospheric instrumentals and hazy vibe and sound create a wonderful listening experience. The cliché rap topics are all there — women, psychedelic drugs, fame and fortune. However, the instrumentals and Rocky’s charisma on the mic make for an intriguing listen.
One critique I have of the album is the absence of his song released in late 2014, “Multiply,” as it would have picked up the mood of the album a bit. Nevertheless, Rocky gave us a really good sophomore LP that should dominate the airwaves this summer.