Release Date: May 26, 2015
Record label: RCA
What with Kanye’s messianic ravings and Kendrick Lamar taking himself to church, hip hop’s been having an hallelujah moment of late. Now A$AP Rocky is back with ‘At.Long.Last.Rocky’ – ‘ALLA’ to its friends – a second studio album its creator intends to signal the “return of the god MC”. But what would the gospel according to Rakim Mayers look like, anyway? After all, this is a man whose alleged sexual rap sheet would have Jay off The Inbetweeners raising a brow of suspicion.
Critics have charged hip-hop with becoming a conservative space with redundant production, predictable feature appearances and safe musical choices — and justifiably so. Which makes the left-path decisions made on the 2015 sophomore studio albums by two artists at the forefront of the game, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, so refreshing. Too frequently an artist coming off a breakout debut tries to duplicate that success by sticking to the formula.
Graduating from good weed to good-trippin' LSD, rapper A$AP Rocky tunes in, drops out, and turns down for what on At. Long. Last. A$AP, a positive and psychedelic LP that is -- due to the death of A$AP Yams -- touched with the hippie version of wistful. Yams shares the executive producer credit ….
In a year that has seen a plethora of major releases already, the bar has been raised on what it takes to stand out as artists have begun to focus more on whole albums then single tracks. A$AP Rocky’s sophomore effort At.Long.Last.A$AP. is an achievement that does just that. As it begins with a sample from the Coen Brothers O Brother, Where Art Thou before dropping into a deep instrumental framed by guitar bells and a driving bass, the listener is quickly aware they are in unchartered territory.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. "A$VP X LIFE X RIP YAMS" A$AP Rocky tweets just hours after his second studio album has prematurely leaked onto the interwebs, to a feverish online audience manically clicking Sharebeast and Zippyshare links, an entire week before his June 2 release date. To battle the hasty exposé, Rocky announces an early release of the long-awaited project, and at long last, At.Long.Last.A$AP is here.
The epitome of the phrase “fit but you know it”, A$AP Rocky returns two years on from his excellent debut still gazing adoringly in the looking glass. Trumpeting his superiority over his entire peer group, his ability to convert lesbians and his familiarity with the clothes of Rick Owens (yeah, you and every other rapper this side of Milan), he’s snide and bad-natured – particularly in a gross kiss’n’tell about Rita Ora. But the sheer equilibrium of his bars elevates him to near-greatness; few can cook up the bland stock of bitch, whip and suck into such tangy, lip-smacking morsels.
A$AP Rocky ain’t a rapper, folks. Dude is a bona fide All-American rock star, the type who uses good looks and a magnetic personality to bed gorgeous celebrities and vaguely ethnic models who peddle waist shapers on Instagram. A hell-raising pretty boy clad in designer fashions like the legions of those that came before him, dude does a lot even when it turns out he’s not really doing anything of interest.
We are in the age of the curator, from meticulously-arranged, aspirational Tumblrs to Drake’s recent stint at Sotheby’s. As it’s grown easier to translate our identities through these careful assemblages of stuff we fuck with, good taste has taken on a new leveraging power. A$AP Rocky, the baby-faced fashion killa and primary figurehead of zeitgeist-wheelie-poppin’ Harlem goon squad A$AP Mob, has always understood this better than anyone else in the rap game.
A$AP Rocky :: At.Long.Last.A$APA$AP Worldwide/RCA RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorA$AP Rocky went from being homeless and dealing drugs to having a label, gold album, hit records, a clothing line, a series of famous girlfriends, and a career directing videos, all in the span of a few years. So how does he follow up his successful 2013 debut "Long. Live.
ASAP Rocky wears many hats. He’s been the Harlem-based Tumblr rap prodigy, the luxury fashion name-dropper, the de facto face of ASAP Mob, and a guy who loves rapping about all things purple. Now, he’s added another facet to his repertoire: dude who really likes taking and talking about taking acid. At.Long.Last.ASAP would be my new favorite album if I had taken LSD for the first time last week, but seeing as that isn’t the case, it’s pretty easy to identify the album’s flaws, of which there are a fair number, while still basking in the moments of greatness that Rocky managed to create out of a bad situation, of which there are also plenty.
There are a whole lotta cooks in A$AP Rocky’s kitchen: five executive producers (including himself), plus a couple handfuls of other producers. So the fact that At.Long.Last.A$AP is so unmistakably streaked, chopped, screwed, swirled, and stamped with Rocky’s own personal aesthetic is impressive. Then again, they’re following a proven recipe. Some spooky Three 6 Mafia sparseness here, a shock of hyperactive electronic music there.
"Your favorite rappers' corpses couldn't match up to my importance," A$AP Rocky boasts. To put yourself above the sainted ghosts of Biggie and Pac, you've got to either be really good, crazily ambitious or just plain high — and on his second studio LP, the Harlem rapper is all these things and more. At.Long.Last.A$AP takes the gritty East Coast classicism and syrup-drippin' Houston screwiness of his killer 2013 debut, Long.Live.A$AP, and adds an extra level of psychedelic sprawl via a newfound taste for acid.
Although A$AP Rocky has tried to avoid referencing brands for fear of an onslaught of “fuccbois” copping his style, he didn’t do so well in name-checking designers on A.L.L.A.: Cartier. Rick Owens. Raf Simons Stan Smith. Jeremy Scott. Hermès. Audemars. Issey Miyake. Kanye West. M.I.A. Future ….
A$AP Rocky would be the first to admit that he couldn’t keep his soul “from the devil”. In fact, this message rings true for the opening statement on ‘At.Long.Last.A$AP’, a twisted, brutally honest and strangely beautiful second release from the Harlem rapper. A pastor makes the claim in LP opener ‘Holy Ghost’, and as the rest of the record unravels, it reveals a story of excess, self-discovery and gaining of identity.
At age 26, A$AP Rocky already has one iconic mixtape to his credit (Live. Love. A$AP.), one monster hit single to his name (”Fuckin’ Problems” of course), and even with the early surprise release of At. Long. Last. A$AP., two chart-topping albums. Yet there is a chasm of difference between ….
There’s already talk of 2015 being one of the most significant years in recent rap history. Partly because it’s only June and we’ve already been graced with a generous handful of contenders for album of the year (some might say decade), and there promises to be more in store. But I think there’s more to this preemptive designation of 2015 as rap’s official “renaissance year.” As the forms and aesthetics that were slowly shaping in the fog of the social media era have begun to crystallise and solidify, we are at the same time beginning - artist and listener alike - to understand more clearly what rap looks and sounds like in the “post-Internet” age.
A raw masterstroke, A.L.L.A. is a depiction of underground millionaire culture that should have "think of the children" conservatives shitting their pants. A$AP Rocky is a charismatic, dangerous leader in a teetering world. On Danger Mouse's gospel-tinged Holy Ghost, he exhibits all of his gifts as a nihilistic, conscious MC, vividly conflating slavery and spirituality in a gnarly knot of thoughts on what hip-hop reflects about the world today.
A$AP Rocky has made a career for himself by defying expectations. The pretty muthafucka reppin’ Harlem heavy has always resisted the patented sound of his New York City hometown in favor of trippier, more Southern-inspired beats and melodies, leading some to accuse him of rejecting the East Coast by embracing outside influences. And rather than stick to the genre that built him into a leader of the new school of hip-hop, Rocky eschewed the music game for much of the past two years as he rode his fashion buzz to international celebrity status.
ASAP Rocky, "At Long Last ASAP Rocky" (RCA). One of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of the year, "At Long Last ..." showcases a preternaturally skilled New York rapper exploring the edges of grief, drug use, fame and temptation. Grief because of the January overdose death of ASAP Yams, who co ….
The images that introduced ASAP Rocky four years ago are still crystal clear: the not-quite-right smile on Anna Perp’s doll face, her blond hair and gold grill not adding up. The striking red birthmark on the right side of ASAP Yams’s face, hiding in plain sight underneath his designer glasses, much like the ASAP Worldwide founder hid himself. The homeys on the couch, sorting through Colt 45 bottles and rolling papers.
The one true love song on the new ASAP Rocky album, “At.Long.Last.ASAP,” is called “LSD.” A wobbly, slightly morbid affair, “LSD” is about the drug and the love you make — or can’t make — on it. “I look for ways to say, ‘I love you,’/But I ain’t into making love songs/Baby, I’m just rapping to this LSD,” Rocky sing-raps languidly, finding feelings inside the high but losing grip of them just as easily. Rocky has always preferred life in the ooze, and drug music is what got him here.
While playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitcher Dock Ellis claimed he was on LSD when he threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on Friday, June 12, 1970. Ellis said he used LSD “two or three times” while visiting a friend in Los Angeles. Things got a little weird. Time became irrelevant (thinking it was Thursday Ellis took a hit of the drug on Friday at noon).
A$AP Rocky's propensity to make uninformed comments has played both a positive and negative factor in his success, pitting his off-stage geniality against his tendency to come out with some impressively dumb things. In a recent Red Bull Music Academy lecture, journalist Hattie Collins asked Rocky what collaborator Joe Fox brought to his new record, to which he replied: "He's a singer and he brings you that British energy; that Bob Dylan, that Bob Marley, fucking John Lennon and Kurt Cobain feel… he's just so influenced by rock, it's crazy [sic]. " Casual viewers might have been left wondering if he's ever actually heard music or knows where - or what - Britain is, however those more familiar with his work will know that instinct has always been Rocky's biggest guiding force - and, so far, it has rarely let him down.
When A$AP Rocky first emerged at the beginning of the decade, it was by shrewdly repackaging cloud rap and Houston-Memphis hip-hop for the Fashion Week crowd. A few years later, he expanded his palette and dabbled in singing on Long. Live. A$AP, an album that air-dropped two excellent singles and featured both a not-half-bad Skrillex collaboration and a head-pleasing posse cut.