“My gold teeth, my french braids, gettin’ throwed since 10th grade/Wealth is in the mind, not the pocket, if that’s the case, then I been paid”
A$AP Rocky, aka Rakim Mayers, released his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP in 2011 to widespread buzz and critical acclaim. He was born and raised in the New York City neighborhood Harlem, a fact of his upbringing that he reps every chance he gets. A$AP Rocky is the central figure of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob, comprised of rappers, producers (the three main producers of the group are Clams Casino, ASAP Ty Beats, and SpaceGhostPurpp), and video directors. This is not just some mob of dudes that grew up together – every member of A$AP mob is responsible for some part of the musical content they put out. The producers I mentioned above are especially key, for a lot of what makes A$AP so dynamic is his beats.
The Houston-influenced A$AP Rocky had his first release as a six-song EP called Deep Purple – the EP introduced A$AP’s characteristic slow and deep flow and his fun and reckless lifestyle about which he raps. LiveLoveA$AP takes that Rocky to a whole new level. “New York nasty flow that’s a little bit of crack mixed in with a fifth of Hen/Business man, middle finger to your fucking business, man,” A$AP Nast raps on the third verse of “Trilla”. The A$AP mob raps about women, Harlem, drugs, alcohol, their lifestyles, and even fashion, interweaving different verses from each member seamlessly with the next as they all rap patiently and deliberately to complex and trippy beats, casually exploding when each chorus hits.
Something incredibly unique about A$AP Rocky is his ability to be very well-versed and invested in mens fashion while still maintaining respect from men – i.e. he is not considered “soft” for rapping lines like, “Cause my chain came from Cuba, got a lock up on the link/And them red bottom loafers just to compliment the mink” on the single from his next album “Goldie”. A$AP Rocky was even recently shot for Paris-based fashion mag WAD magazine – you can check out the shoot here.
One of my favorite songs off LiveLoveA$AP has got to be the iconic “Purple Swag – Chapter 2 ”Two middle fingers to the show, bitch/Cause they selfish in the show biz/Cause they shelf kids and it’s hopeless/Career dying quicker than a goldfish/I be that fly young fella, Maison Martin Margiela/Bitches Cinderellas under my umbrella,” A$AP Rocky spits in the second verse. The video to “Purple Swag” directed by Jason Ano is also dope, alternating between shots of the A$AP Mob bicycling through Harlem and a blonde white girl with a grill lip-syncing the words. The A$AP Ty Beats-produced “Purple Swag” sees the A$AP mob getting a little trippy, falling into the psychedelic side of rap.
The A$AP mob has an album coming out August 28th, entitled Lord$ Never Worry, and the first single off of it (and accompanying visuals) takes “Purple Swag” and elevates it to an entirely new level of trippy, psychedelic, and erotic music. In the “Purple Kisses” video, directed by A$AP Rocky himself with help from Luke Monaghan and Barber A$AP Rocky sits in a purple-lit room, smoking, drinking, and leaning with a bunch of trill, beautiful women. The video is slow and lilting as girls make out with Rocky, and with each other, and then exhale their weed smoke into the purple air. In a shot I had to rewind then watch again to make sure it actually happened, A$AP Rocky licks Promethazine cough syrup off of a girl’s breast. And surprisingly, it all feels very well-done – not trashy in the slightest. Basically, it’s a must-see video.
All in all, if you haven’t checked out LiveLoveA$AP, you are sleeping on something incredibly dope. Follow A$AP Rocky on twitter @asvpxrocky, and download his debut mixtape before A$AP mob’s album comes out August 28th, and before A$AP’s first full album comes out in September and blows your mind!