It’s only a short performance, and by Rocky’s own admission he’s not really rapping about anything in particular, his flow is relatively watertight throughout (except for a short stumble), and honestly it’s just fun to hear his enthusiasm at jumping on a production from one of his comrades. A quick one, but worth a go if you enjoyed the original.
I didn’t like this song when the original dropped, and the remix doesn’t help; it still sounds like a throwaway Soulja Boy track from 2007, and it baffles me that the guys on the actual song aren’t aware of that, nor seemingly are a fair chunk of the hip-hop crowd.
Normally, an all-star remix can help hide the obvious gaps in a distinctly average production such as this, but unfortunately the acts here don’t seem to be feeling particularly creative. They all adopt a near-identical flow for their verses, and on a track where lyricism is hardly going to triumph, you’d think one or two of them would have the self-assurance to cut away from the expected delivery. The only one who comes close to being listenable is ScHoolboy Q, who adapts the latter part of his verse to move out of the stop-start rap style the rest use, whilst credit also goes to Trindad James for bringing some intensity and passion to proceedings, regardless of his lyrical and structural output. It’ll be a favourite with the type of people your parents told you not to hang around with, and whilst I like Ferg and some of his other material is way better, this is ignorable for the rest of us.
I’m not sure whether he’s actually a member of A$AP Mob or just good friends with them, but once again Joey scores a feature from one of the mob’s members. Danny Brown’s along for the ride too, and with Rocky and Danny on the same track, you’re right to expect plenty of energy.
Whilst there is some, it’s delivered in a darker, more intense package than you’d have predicted. The production’s built on several layers of piercing melodies, creating a depth and aggressiveness about the soundscape that’s only helped by the bass-heavy percussion, whilst the raps are relatively normal mainstream fare. Rocky opens with his typically arrogant style, though the beat’s change-up on his distorted vocal section is a nice highlight, before Danny enters the fray with a stop-start, energetic delivery on the hook (I’ve got no idea what he’s saying, but it’s bloody fun listening). Joey takes on verse duty for the rest of the track, with his deep, laidback delivery working well with the production, and though his verses get a little monotonous, there’s some novelty value in his vocal likeness to a modern-day Havoc. Nothing special, and arguably needed a Danny verse, but worth a listen or two. Stream below, download here.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.
When I first heard this album, I skipped over this track quite quickly. It sounded too electro and overly mainstream, in comparison to what I was expecting from Rocky. Now, it’s one of the few tracks to have actually endured my relentless reshuffling of my playlists.
There’s something insanely addictive about Skrillex’s pulsating electro backdrop. Those synths are lusciously thick, whilst Rocky’s counter-balances their sharpness with the distorted drawl sections, and complements them with his quick regular flows. The frenetic percussion caps things off with energy and intensity, taking it into thumping club banger territory, and whilst it’s undergone a couple of edits for this video version (new synths on the intro, amended vocals throughout), it’s still the same fundamental track with huge hook drops and fast-paced verses.
The somewhat brighter key and touch of synth that have been added fit the video’s setting well, adding a little warmth and positivity early on, whilst also smoothing the video’s lively transition from intro to verse. Of course, there’s still a big upward step there and that’s visualised well, which moves from shots of the Mob relaxing to more active, busy scenes of Rocky, his team and some locals generally enjoying themselves. It’s not a complicated visual, and for a mainstream-primed single such as this, it doesn’t need to be. Expect this to dominate TV, radio and clubs.
Those who have watched his recent videos will be familiar with Cudi’s glamorous framing, a visual style he’s applied to his artwork here. The centrepiece of the artwork is certainly unique, with the explosiveness potentially representing Cudi pressing the reset button on his work, to some extent, or is quite simply just a massive fireball thrown in for a striking visual impact. It’s probably both, though the title of the opening track would probably suggest a lean to the former.
In any case, it’s definitely original enough to turn some heads on shop shelves (excuse me HMV, people still buy CDs right?). Whilst the artwork might be somewhat ambiguous, the tracklist is not: the features are incredibly diverse, with a collection of well-known and unexpected acts representing a multitude of genres, whilst there are several tracks many expected to be included (such as the three solo efforts he’s released most recently), along with some nice continuations of his Man on the Moon theme. Check it out below, and look out for the LP’s release on 23rd April (probably the 22nd over here).
Despite my public anticipation for this project, it slipped through the cracks slightly when it landed on Thursday. My mistake, but here goes the latest effort from a man who on his day is very, very entertaining.
We’ve already caught a couple of solid tracks from this, and the signs point towards a darker brand of music, one which should suit Yela rather well and makes for a welcome change. Aside from the already-released A$AP Rocky and Big Henry features, Raekwon, Killer Mike and Paul Wall make appearances here, leaving Yela to enjoy some solo spotlight on 7 of the 10 tracks. Good move at a stage where he’s trying to really get his spot in hip-hop nailed down, and you can judge the success of that attempt with the stream and download below.
One last leak before Yela drops off the (free) Trunk Muzik Returns project tomorrow, and it’s a solid effort that will likely raise expectations ahead of that release.
Much like the recent Way Out video, there’s a dark undercurrent here that suits Yelawolf down to the ground. With his penchant for storytelling and undeniable ability with a slew of rap flows, he’s versatile enough to have flitted around a few instrumental styles over the years; whilst he’s great on the lively, high-octane stuff, this darker vibe feels as though it should be his go-to style. Here, the natural energy of his voice complements the menacing percussion, police sirens and atmospheric synths well, whilst in return that intense backdrop supports his relatively light voice with a much-needed gravitas and seriousness. Rocky’s no stranger to these beats either, and his contribution is an enjoyable one, whilst Big Henry (who is new to me) gives a very good account of himself with a slick flow and grimy lyrics that fit the beat well.
A good all-round hip-hop jam, and hopefully the rest of tomorrow’s release is packed with this type of material.
After various assaults, fights, arrests and whatever else, hip-hop’s resident lunatic is back with a brand new 17-track mixtape for his fans. I say fans, I wonder if there are any devout Gunplay followers out there? For me, he’s a bit of novelty and fun rather than anyone I ever take too seriously, but it does make you wonder what it is about him that his core fanbase are into, given his soaring popularity. Regardless, he’s sticking around and carries through his 2012 momentum with this early release.
Features on the MMG representative’s latest project include labelmates Rick Ross and Rockie Fresh, whilst outside contributions from A$AP Rocky, Pusha T, Trina and more complete the lineup here. There are a few recognisable titles in here too, with Clique and Hold Me Back being amongst the tracks remixed, alongside some new and original works. Free stream and download below.
Whilst it’s naive to suggest this is anything other than a label attempt at getting Rocky to make a pop-friendly single, it’s good to see two artists of such different backgrounds and styles come together. A bonus track found on the deluxe edition of Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP album, due out on Tuesday, this is one that should enhance his crossover appeal.
The Florence hook isn’t quite at her soaring best, and that’s not strictly a bad thing-keeping the lid on prevents this from straying too far into mainstream style, and ensures that there isn’t too huge a discrepancy between the sombre verses and her naturally emotive work. The production throws together a clunky, industrial percussion with nice clean bass thuds, and a couple of rather monotonous synths for a beat that’s nothing beyond average, surprising given Rocky’s ear for production. That lack of any particularly engaging element translates into the raps, as he seems to go through the motions in terms of his delivery, though his lyrical focus on a relationship with a particular female makes for a nice change of topic from his usual arrogant raps, and there’s definitely credit deserved there. As an entirety, it’s not anything that ever gets out of second gear, but probably one the pop fans will enjoy.
Sourmilk and Justin Credible (props to those who associate that name with the old wrestler) have built up quite the name for themselves over the last couple of years as the LA Leakers, and their status as pre-eminent West Coast DJs is verified with this collection of unreleased tracks and remixes from some huge names.
Ryan Leslie, Wale, Pac Div, A$AP Rocky and Problem are amongst the established names contributing, whilst Ryan McDermott, Audio Push and Trinidad James are part of the very talented and/or popular upcomers featured here. For the mainstream and middle-ground hip-hop heads, there’s no reason you wouldn’t be grabbing this and I’ll delay you no further-head below for the free stream and grab.
Time to catch up on some more bits that have dropped over this Christmas period. The official stream for Rocky’s debut album title track was put out a short while ago, and that’s followed up with these visuals ahead of that 15th January release date.
Rocky’s video work is generally enjoyable, and this is one that seems to capture the audio absolutely perfectly. The monochromatics add a sense of unease to the video, one which plays on the song’s production to bring out an urgent, dark and almost horror-esque quality, and that all impacts on the activities that take place: from the woman oddly creeping out of a bathtub to Rocky’s general setting surrounded by static TVs flashing unusual (but lyrically contextual) message, there’s almost a hidden, underworldly feel to this. The now-customary ‘illuminati’ cues are all in there too, along with occasional blurring effects, and both serve to enhance that unknown, devilishly mystical vibe that encases the video, and drag the audio along with it to give it a slightly different spin. Watchable for sure, and credit to Rocky for trying something unexpected with this.
It’s now common knowledge that Rocky’s debut album sprung a very early leak this week, and it seems the response is to let the album’s intro loose for a free stream.
For those avoiding the early leak, this is a good gateway into the album. The thudding bass and intense soundscape are reminiscent of several productions from the A$AP Mob’s mixtape, whilst the rather more gentle yet somewhat haunting hook balances that out with the style of Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP tape. It’s a solid effort without being enormously spectacular. The beat makes it one worth some time turned up loud, but the raps aren’t hugely notable, and in places are almost directly repeated from previous tracks, and hence it’s not going to get any long-term play time. Still, worth a listen.
Why would Vevo upload this to YouTube, and restrict the countries that can view it? If it’s to get people to use Vevo’s site, it’s worked only to reveal the mess that is their own player-you can’t pause or mute adverts, and you have to work for an embed code that’s a mile long. Amateur.
After the highly successful Goldie, this follow-up solo release from a few weeks back has really set Rocky up for some continued mainstream success. Undoubtedly, it’ll be a club favourite this winter thanks to both the hook and the features, whilst the production’s slightly dark nature gives it playability outside of those realms.
The video really amps up the energy of the track, capitalising on its inherent intensity with a constantly-moving camera and plenty of activity from the rappers, whilst a dimmed colour palette tempers that activity somewhat. Rocky’s at his magnetic best here, dressed crisply as ever and oozing the charisma he’s becoming famed for, whilst Chainz brings his odd brand of chaos to the hook, Drake comes through in a lively and oddly dressed manner, and Kendrick closes by showing off a more positive and fashion-conscious side of him we rarely see on video. Over time, Drake’s verse has really grown on me and he probably takes it on flow alone, whilst I’m much preferring this remastered production too: this is a good mainstream audiovisual that will greatly enhance Rocky’s reputation.
Sir Lucius’ second solo album, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, is due for release on 11th December, and it looks like the campaign is picking up with this collaboration.
Having recently worked with Theophilus London, it’s clear Big Boi’s dabbling a little more with rising stars of hip-hop rather than hooking up with his veteran cohorts. It’s an interesting move, as he’s not massively changed the slightly leftfield yet old-school Outkast style productions he’s working with, and instead has opted to inject those beats with fresh voices. It makes for decent listening, and Rocky seems to be a great fit for the style with his arrogant raps with a naturally positive inflection works nicely with the lively, synth-heavy production, whilst Big Boi cycles through a couple of good flows to add plenty of energy and delivery skill to the track. A good effort with a nice alternative twist on the hook.
Featuring four of hip-hop’s biggest names, the feedback from various avenues has been mixed thus far, but I’m definitely enjoying this one from Rocky’s upcoming LongLiveA$AP album.
The beat is subdued in their presence but there’s enough to work with, with 40 pulling in a high tempo percussion to create energy, whilst soft electronic melodies roll around for some atmosphere. Throughout the verses, each rapper is able to experiment with more than one flow, for which you’ve got to credit 40′s beat work. A$AP’s on the opener and keeps things as confident and arrogant as ever, though it’s a more solid than spectacular performance, whilst 2 Chainz and Drake share hook duty, with Chainz’s rough energy outdoing Drake’s nasal delivery. The latter also delivers a verse that starts poorly but hugely improves, with Drake’s flows increasing in speed and accuracy for a short period that’s arguably the track’s highlight. Kendrick closes with a good verse with watertight flow execution, particularly the delivery towards the verse end which catches the beat perfectly. All of the ingredients to be a huge mainstream favourite and a popular lead single for Rocky.
As per every year, the only thing we check the BET Awards for is these excellent ciphers, and this year is no different.
The 2012 edition brings you some utterly superb lineups, with the clip up here being a personal highlight as it features several of my favourite upcomers-A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Childish Gambino and Angel Haze, alongside newcomer Driicky Graham. The rest of the ciphers feature the likes of T.I., B.o.B., Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Kurupt, DJ Quik, Xzibit, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Hopsin and more.
Plenty of promise, click on below to check out all of the ciphers. Who do you reckon had the standout performance? Big fan of Joey Bada$$ with the cipher up here, and my winners for the rest are below.
Just a quick blast for you on this one, as the latest ad spot for Fifa 13 features two hip-hop luminaries in the veteran Snoop Dogg/Lion, and the man-of-the-moment A$AP Rocky.
It’s probably just US-only (let me know if you see this one out here!), but is a big statement of how far along the appeal of the game has come in the US, meaning both Fifa and football as a whole. The clip actually showcases Fifa’s Xbox Kinect compatability quite well, and I recall reading a while back that the system also takes note of the player using bad language, with repeated use apparently affecting the referee’s harshness towards your team. A nice touch, but I’m more interested in how the proper game plays-if you haven’t already, grab that demo from the PlayStation Store or Xbox equivalent now.
A track that was very likeable on its release, and still remains so, the Mob let loose of the visuals for what appears to be the lead single from their recently-released Lords Never Worry mixtape.
The clip captures the essence of the audio well, fusing together shots of group performance and scantily-clad ladies underneath a horror-esque umbrella theme. Nothing particularly groundbreaking of course, but it’s a theme that complements the production, whilst the shots represent the energetic and carefree nature of the raps.
The highlight of the clip has to be the opening two verses from the Zombies, who bring an on-screen presence that belies their relatively ‘newfound’ status, though Rocky’s ever-laidback demeanour is an enjoyable watch, particularly given how high-octane his verse is (the best of his career so far? It’s up there). Grab this track on the mixtape now.
Huge co-sign for Rocky, as Rihanna nabs him for the official remix to what I assume is to be her next single from her latest album.
It’s clear why Rocky’s picked for this one, with the slowed down production being a great fit for his slurry style and allowing enough room for his confidence to pierce through and dominate the verse. As ever, it’s no lyrical masterpiece from him, but is full of the easygoing style that continues to endear him to mainstream audiences. It’s a very hip-hop inspired production from beatsmith Bangladesh, utilising his repetitive vocal sample style throughout the track (probably because he literally cannot make any other type of beat), which also forces Rihanna to adopt a rap-esque approach for her verse.
Can’t say I care a great deal for it overall though, as the production becomes annoying very quickly, and there’s little else going on of note. Nonetheless, this will have its fans and it’s a great shine for Rocky.
Did anyone else think this was going to be a proper album release and not a mixtape? In any case, it’s here and it’s free, so I’m not complaining.
A$AP Rocky’s gone back for his team, and shines the spotlight on the group with this 18-track stack of music, giving Ant, Twenty, Yams and the rest the opportunity to establish the Mob as one of hip-hop’s ‘power groups’. There aren’t too many real collectives doing the rounds nowadays, so I hope this one does come through; the early signs were positive with Bath Salt, though the recently-leaked Work wasn’t exactly up to par. NY veterans Raekwon and Jim Jones have shown up in support on this tape, whilst Clams Casino is amongst the many producers throwing beats forth: the ingredients are there, and you can stream or grab it for free below to taste the finished article.
The second release from the upcoming A$AP Mob album, Lords Never Worry, out on 28th August. This one’s a solo Rocky number, and will keep his fans going before his album drops in September.
The bass on this one is positively thumping, almost engulfing the track at times, and when coupled with the slow pace and haziness of the track, it’s almost entrancing at times. The rest of the production is light by comparison, with sprightly synths and intermittent sprinklings of work on the keys throughout the verses, before switching back to that thunderous bass to almost independently support the sampled hook. Rocky’s confidence oozes through as ever, throwing out his typical arrogant, far-from-sober raps that aren’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but are synced nicely with the trippy production.
The video’s an excellent fit for the audio, being very dim, slow-paced and of course, purple. At times, it almost adds a serenading quality to the song, though for the most part it’s a clip full of excess and enjoyment, which is essentially everything you’d expect from a Rocky visual. Solid all-rounder, and look out for more from the A$AP team soon.
The friendship between the two upcoming rappers has been well-documented over the last few months or so, and Noisey get the two together for their Back and Forth series. Initially, I think this series was meant to be about one artist interviewing another, but the nature of Q and Rocky leads, of course, to this breaking down into some pretty funny stuff.
The banter between the two is clear from the off, with conversations about thumbs going into foreign places, Rocky sitting around smoking some kind of bong, and it pretty much spirals from there. It’s great to see two hip-hop artists from such different places coming together like this, and that upcoming tour with the two of them and Danny Brown sounds like it could be pretty superb. Let’s hope they bring it out here.
A$AP Rocky and the rest of the team are gearing up to release their debut album as a collective and they’ve reeled in Flatbush Zombies, who released their own heavily buzzed-about project this week, for the first single from the LP.
It’s A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ant on duty for the mob here, combining well with Meech and Juice for a good hip-hop effort. The production veers between haunting and bouncy, throwing a slow pace and ominous synths in with a couple of instrumental blasts that perk the beat up each time they’re brought back in, whilst the raps from the quartet take the production on well with generally tight, slick flows and a nice mix of aggression and laidback styles from each rapper. Good effort that’s a little ‘harder’ than many would have expected, which bodes well for the full album.
Usher’s seventh album, Looking 4 Myself, is on the horizon and here goes one of the bonus tracks from that project, featuring rapper of the hour A$AP Rocky.
Certainly one of Rocky’s biggest co-signs to date and one that will surely help his mainstream exposure, it’s a collaboration that not many will have expected but many will certainly welcome. That being said, it’s a shame the track isn’t quite up to scratch. A very pedestrian, uninspired hook opens and anchors the track in a disappointing manner, and though the verses from both acts are far more enjoyable, particularly Rocky who takes to the beat well, that poor hook continually rears its head to bring the levels of enjoyment back down. With a better hook this could have been a huge hit, and it’s a shame that’s not the case.
Two of hip-hop’s fastest rising stars, and the duo come through with their first collaborative video, taken from Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP mixtape.
Most fans of the tape may have overlooked this grower of a track, no crime given that the tape had many more immediately-likeable songs, and hence this visual will help bring it back for a few more listens. Q was recently quoted by MTV saying “We kind of live the same lifestyle. I’m a little more gangsta than him. He’s a little more swagger than me. We’re kind of the same, but from different places.” This track is perfect evidence of that, with Rocky’s cool, confident verse opening things before Q runs through with aggression and tenacity, and they come together for a closer that has them coming closer stylistically, with Rocky getting a touch more intense and Q going for a little more style.
The video fits well with the audio, building on the slow, winding production with a dark palette and plenty of nighttime scenery. It’s a simple and effective hip-hop clip that doesn’t pack in any pretence, and instead focuses on the performance of the raps, bringing the charisma of both acts to the fore. Grab the full mixtape over here.
When this was released a few weeks back, there was no way I expected to still be giving it solid play time now, but here we are.
Certainly one of Swizzy’s better efforts in recent years, he rightfully follows up the song’s good reception with a video that does a decent job of complimenting the audio. The track is a cool, catchy effort that packs an awful lot of bounce into the production, and whilst the raps from both aren’t lyrical masterpieces (particularly Swizz, as usual), they’re clearly not intended to be as this is one purely to nod your head to on full volume.
The video’s full of opulence and night scenery, with the darkness of the environment allowing the blasts of colour from other sources in the video to stand out a little more and give the video a nice vibrancy. Good all-round package that will remain in my playlists for the foreseeable future. If you don’t already have it, help yourself to the track here.
The lead single from Rocky’s upcoming debut album is given the video treatment just two weeks after the audio release. Those are the kind of timings I can get on board with.
The video is a great representation of what Rocky’s all about: plenty of energy and style accompanied by huge doses of charisma and confidence. A relatively simple video, the clip lets Rocky makes the most of his lead single with plenty of solo time, varying from close-ups of him rapping to driving around at night. I expect comparisons to be drawn with an early Lil’ Wayne in terms of the gravitas he has on screen as he’s great fun to watch in full swing, and whilst I hate using the word, he has a natural ‘swagger’ that’s difficult to resist.
Fundamentally, it’s a lively video that matches the bouncy audio excellently, giving this single plenty of potential to help A$AP Rocky break that final barrier to mainstream success. Audio review is over here, and LongLiveA$AP coming soon.
Second A$AP blast of the day, and this one comes straight from Rocky’s upcoming debut album, LongLiveA$AP, with Rocky dropping off the first single today as promised.
Picking up from where LiveLoveA$AP left off, Rocky once again relies heavily on his style over substance, keeping things relatively uncomplicated and riding the Hit-Boy production crisply and with confidence, without ever really breaking a sweat. The beat is definitely a grower, thanks in part to a bevvy of small nuances that become more apparent with each listen, but mostly due to Hit-Boy’s hypnotising drum work and addictively airy melodies combining to good effect, whilst the bass snakes through various different ‘moods’ with great skill. A$AP Rocky’s key skill is his synergistic connection with an instrumental, and this is another fine example of that, with arguably more replayability than some of his back catalogue thanks to an instrumental that improves with every listen.