A$AP Rocky’s Long. Live. A$AP is the latest ushering in of rap relevance. It’s hard to escape a conversation about the genre without dropping a mere mention of the hip- hop superstar. Still fresh off his prestigious mix-tape rounds, A$AP Rocky continues his lyrical onslaught and rap takeover. He immediately introduces himself by chronicling early struggles and bleak outlooks while proving that the most educated voice from the streets can come from this 24-year-old in “Long Live A$AP.” Transcending to genre-bending dubstep with Skrillex in “Wild for the Night,” the album embellishes the poised and confident presence of a skyrocketing lyricist. Thanks in part to Santigold, “Hell” is what might play through the head of Tony Montana as he rolls back into his black leather chair, nose snowed. With all the snarl and flow of true professional candor, “F*ckin’ Problems” puts the rap game’s elite on full display with Kendrick Lamar and Drake. No topic is off-limits, from FEMA and ’90’s rap history lessons to Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Where many have faltered before him, A$AP Rocky transitions from underground build-up to a major label statement album rivaling that of collaborator and recent top-marked MC Lamar.
★★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)