The self-proclaimed ‘pretty motherfucker from Harlem’ has undergone a metamorphic transition from, ‘street-corner spitter’, to ‘proficient and prevalent rapper’ within a space of time so small, it would have made fellow ‘new-boy’ Danny Brown seethe with green-envy.
Rocky’s rapid (excuse the pun) rise from independent obscurity began with the release of the unofficial compilation titled ‘Deep Purple’, which included the much adored ‘Purple Swag’. His first single, the wind-chimed ‘Peso’, was leaked onto the internet in August of 2011 and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. Music videos for both ‘Peso’ and ‘Purple Swag’, further escalated the buzz for Rocky, and his inexorable rise to fame was imminent.
So why listen to A$AP Rocky? Well, if the general hype and preconception that you’re instantaneously ‘cool’ by doing so isn’t enough, the guy can really rap. Although many of his braggadocio and materialistic themes and messages may be boarding merely on hedonism, ‘Pull up in that hard-top, showing off my keys, graduate school of hard-knocks, I can show you my degrees’ Rocky juxtaposes the rigours of street life (‘school of hard-knocks’) with the pleasures of high-end fashion and living (‘Showing off my keys’) in a way to create a sense of aspiration and hunger for the higher-living, as well as to give reason to the activity of hustling in the poorer areas of New York. Although his theme isn’t entirely original, the way in which Rocky delivers the messages and imagery in a reality rap with a twinge of fantasy format is.
The indulgence of beats and styles from all over North America further adds to his originality. His music is a melting-pot of the North, West, East and Southern states of North America. Rocky doesn’t sound like any of his Harlem or Houston predecessors. Rocky is smooth yet rough, wavy but chopped. Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa would be a more accurate comparison– if Wiz wasn’t a commercial, unimaginative sell-out.
Rocky has rejuvenated the genre of alternative Hip-Hop without sacrificing himself or his music for commercial value. I advise you to give A$AP Rocky a listen if you want to hear something that has the originality of OFWGKTA, without the futile ploys to cause controversy and/or to provoke a reaction (I can’t help feel sometimes that OFWGKTA are rich kids playing at rap).
With the debut album ‘LongLiveA$AP’ approaching, will Rocky be crowned a focal figure in hip-hop, or scorned as an over-hyped phase? Hopefully the album will be released A$AP, but until then everyone fans and critics alike will be watching, and waiting.
- Deep Purple: – New York Bitter Sweet Symphony
- LiveLoveA$AP: Singles
- Purple Swag
- Lord$NeverWorry (A$AP Mob): Singles
- LongLiveA$AP (TBR): Singles