x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Long.Live.A$AP

This album reaffirms the 24-year-old A$AP Rocky's vocal talent and demonstrates his knack for picking collaborators.

A$AP Rocky
Long.Live.A$AP
RCA
****

For a while, things weren't looking too hopeful for the great hope of New York rap. After being signed by RCA in 2011 for a staggering US$3 million (Dh11m), the Harlem artist has finally delivered the follow-up to dense and woozy Love.Live.A$AP mixtape five months overdue.

But anyone concerned that the 24-year-old artist might have buckled under the weight of expectations can breathe a sigh of relief. The LP doesn't just reaffirm A$AP Rocky's vocal talent but also demonstrates his knack for picking collaborators.

Some may have balked at the idea of a joint effort with Skrillex, yet on Wild for the Night the pair create a sound closer to the amped-up dance hall of Major Lazer than the brain-dead "bro-step" the producer is known for.

Elsewhere, on 1 Train, he recalls the self-assured excess of late 1990s hip-hop, while the lead single Goldie manages to be ghostly and minimal and at the same time catchy. If there's one criticism, it's that Rocky's musical dexterity isn't matched by great lyrical depth, with women, partying and expensive attire being his main areas of interest. But with so much else that feels fresh, it hardly matters.