Torch Music Review

A$AP Rocky’s debut finally appears, surprising us all

A$AP Rocky

Stealing an oft-used word with A$AP, the man’s an undeniably great curator.

The guest spots on this album are top-notch, with numerous artists from the latest wave of hip hop coming on to show off. Hit single “F***in’ Problems” and throwback breakbeat track “1Train” alone combine for verses from eight of the hottest young names in hip hop, most notably Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

It’s not just those two tracks, either. Even the contentious collaboration with Skrillex is bizarrely great, a dubbed up, sky-scraping party track that probably shouldn’t be as great as it is. What is getting less talk (because it’s less surprising) but shouldn’t is how great the beats on the other songs are, especially those from Hit Boy (“Goldie” and “1Train”) and underground favorite Clams Casino (“LVL” and “Hell”).

Besides these things, what also stands out is just how good A$AP himself is here. Often derided for seeing the stars and not having anything “real” to rap about (which is overplayed), A$AP brings it, especially on go-hard tracks like “Goldie” and tracks “About Something” like the Danger Mouse-penned “Phoenix” and “Suddenly.” He still doesn’t talk about much outside of fashion and being a star, but he does it so well.

The album is definitely lacking a cohesion or message, but it’s a collection brimming with songs pulling from a variety of styles (club bangers, avant-garde beats, chill confessionals) with a high rate of success from the eclectic array of talent arrayed.

“LONG.LIVE.A$AP” doesn’t have a shot at resonating the way albums like “Good kid, m.A.A.d City” did last year, but it did its job cementing A$AP as one of the hottest young names in the game.