The album is a triumph of craft and curation, preserving Rocky's immaculate taste while smartly upgrading his sound.
His first proper LP is an aesthetic marvel, fully realized and unmistakably distinct. That’s all it tries to be, other than some mercifully brief (but mercilessly clunky) stabs at humor and gravitas.
At its core, Long.Live.A$AP succeeds because it lets Rocky be Rocky: a rapper with a unique voice and an ear for captivating beats whose lyrical shortcomings can be glossed over with healthy servings of charisma and panache.
On Long.Live.A$AP he's not just a Harlem boy, he's geared for the arenas and shabby-cum-arty London nightclubs; riding the cultural and artistic wave of Americanisation to the absolute maximum.
One spin of LongLiveA$AP, and it’s clear why A$AP Rocky didn’t break a sweat when the album leaked. Debuts this good just don’t come along very often, and it all comes down to the precocious Harlem rookie’s vision.
It builds on the promise of his mixtape, extends itself into new territory, and in the process reveals some of the shortcomings of Rocky’s craft.
Unsure whether he wanted to create a sunny, party album, gangstafest, or a record of cool pop vibes, Rocky seems to have tried to make them all, and with minor successes in all departments, he sacrifices something stronger.
Rocky expands his horizons even further, indulging in relative experimentation while also adhering to the gifts that have catapulted him to stardom in just over a year.
It transpires that Long.Live.A$AP manages to build upon the promise shown on Live.Love.A$AP in many ways, yet frustratingly the lyrical problems persist, and then some.
Rocky’s debut is full of superb moments and offers a rich tasting menu of unique sounds.
This album isn’t the one to bank on what A$AP Rocky’s initial hype was really all about, opting for a sleeker, slightly more vain take on the character.
Rocky’s mixtape demonstrated that he can work his wheelhouse, but the further Long. Live. A$AP takes him from that cloud, the more RCA’s $3 million dollar investment begins to look like a reckless impulse buy.
LongLiveA$AP is a hollow, characterless listen from a young artist who I can still tell you next to nothing about.
His vocabulary is limited, his concepts thin, his persona over-reliant on empty rags-to-riches-to-bitches clichés.
It’s hard to conceive of an artist as being a part of some progressive/futurist movement when they’re busy repeating many of the same ideas their precursors did first (often with more verve) and without the refinement, intelligence, or personality of their generational peers.
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