NEW YORK rapper A$AP Rocky’s debut has been a long time in the making. Originally scheduled for release last September, it was then mysteriously delayed twice before finally seeing the light of day nine months after its lead-off single appeared.
Whatever tweaking and rethinks were going on, the end result is just fine. Rocky may be a tad generic when it comes to subject matter – basically, his love of sex, bling and Cristal – but his flow and beats are vivacious enough to make you overlook such deficiencies.
His menacing, gravelly growl is also a distinctive asset, both on brooding monologues such as ‘Goldie’ and ‘Fashion Killa’ and on a slew of high-profile duets. Santigold lends her disco-diva drawl to the lithe throb of ‘Hell’ while Skrillex contributes testosterone-heavy beats to ‘Wild For The Night’: Florence Welch and Haim also make unexpected but oddly effective cameos.
The clumsy ‘F***ing Problems’, featuring Drake, is less effective and ultimately Rocky outshines his guest stars. Maybe next time around he should follow his instincts more, and spend less time prevaricating and second-guessing.
© Ian Gittins, Virgin Media Music, 14 January 2013