By Zach Roubos, Contributor
A perceived knock against A$AP Rocky that critics bring up over and over is that he is a style over substance rapper. Entirely on the contrary, Rocky’s (a.k.a. Rakim Mayers’) style is his substance; his ear for beats is ridiculous, and his debut album Long. Live. A$AP. (out January 15) is a testament to that.
With production credits from Jim Jonsin, Hit-Boy, Clams Casino, and 40, amongst others, there are many varied styles on the album, yet nothing feels out of place. The first standout track is undeniably “PMW (All I Really Need),” where Schoolboy Q steps in and arguably steals the show on the incredibly infectious ode to all one needs in life. “Hell” finds Clams Casino on the boards with a banger that sounds like it was made in the far reaches of deep space, which Rocky flows nimbly over while Santigold slides through on the chorus. “1 Train” sees the resurrection of the posse cut featuring an insane lineup. Over a throwback grimy string sample based beat cooked up by Hit-Boy, Rocky spits what is probably his best verse on the album, followed by six of his most innovative crew joining in.
Deluxe editions of the album wrap up nicely with Rocky getting surprisingly personal about lost love on the Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine fame) assisted “I Come Apart.” That is the version I recommend getting, as it also comes with three additional bonus tracks, making what is already a solid listen last even longer.