Album Review: “At.Long.Last.A$AP” by A$AP Rocky

Album Review: At.Long.Last.A$AP by A$AP Rocky

Rocky continues to gorge us in a year packed with high-profile releases.

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Rating: 4.0/5.0
Release Date: May 26

A$AP Rocky is a near mythological figure, a fresh-faced rapper who came onto the rap scene with a classic mixtape and afterwards, enormous expectations. He was the pinnacle of unsigned talent with catchy hooks, had the best production this side of a Kanye album and possessed natural charisma. He was a star in the making, and a $3 million offer by Sony cemented it in 2011.

Unfortunately, Rocky’s debut album “Long.Live.A$AP” was a resounding disappointment. The project was devoid of the carefree attitude, murky production and persona of before. “At.Long.Last.A$AP” is his saving grace, the needed natural evolution from his first mixtape, looking past the mess of his debut album by simultaneously scaling back and expanding on an epic scale. Out with the overproduced, sterile beats and back in with the hazy production that defined his early days but also more versatile, laden with psychedelic guitars and the soulful vocals of Joe Fox.

Photo courtesy of Viper Magazine
Photo courtesy of Viper Magazine

We’re greeted by a chilling sample from a speech in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” establishing the mood of subterranean anger and frustration that fuels the album. The ubiquitous beat switches are even tighter and more daring, creating album-defining moments on songs like “Fine Whine” and “L$D” and showing off how Rocky’s flow has only gotten better with time. His ability to adapt to beat switches without pause is a testament to his versatility and improvement as a rapper. It’s wild but cohesive for the most part – much like him. There’s a sense of competition instilled among the guests, almost all delivering greatness. Rocky somehow got the best verse from Lil Wayne in years, ravaging the now infamous Cash Money and proving that his talents never went extinct but are simply dormant.

However, the album isn’t without its flaws. Lumbering in at 18 total tracks, it can’t help but feel overstuffed. The album could have even been one of the year’s best by cutting down to 10 or 12 tracks. Instead, it’s needlessly weighed down by tracks like “Westside Highway” and “Pharsyde,” where Rocky seems to have sat back and turned on autopilot, delivering subpar verses and relying on his extravagant production in the worst of cases. Yet Rocky’s dedication to curating an experience outweighs the weaknesses. The hypnotic, dreamy pulses of muffled drums follow us throughout the album, grounding us in a hazy state. The ominous samples sputter and drawl in the lowest of frequencies, making the album a natural companion to your subwoofer.

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