A$AP Rocky debuts a smooth full-length

asap rocky

A bright new name shines in black and white on the album’s cover beneath an American flag: it’s A$AP Rocky’s official entry into the rap world. Long.Live.A$AP shows valor in the rapper’s first full-length release, collecting heavier and more full-throttle songs than the first mixtape titled Live.Love.A$AP, which was released last year.

A$AP Rocky changes the pace in many of his raps, proving to hold stamina in keeping energy high as the tunes run slow, which works toward the rapper’s ultimate advantage throughout Long.Live.A$AP. Examples of both are present in gritty, dubsteppy, sonically intense “Wild For The Night,” which features Skrillex in one of the album’s biggest surprises.

Much of the album comes as an unexpectedly well-rounded compilation of songs. We weren’t sure we would like the record, given the rapper’s already respected status that may have been premature — but the “Fuckin Problems” singer lived up to the hype, and we imagine his debut album will perform very well for itself. And at least A$AP’s content doesn’t totally revolve around violence and objectifying women. This seems like a dream come true for listeners who wish rap music would move in a more respectable direction. A$AP’s style, though thuggish and intimidating, shows an intimidating façade with a rather soft take on his genre.

Though A$AP Rocky’s rhymes may fall steadily on both fast and slow tracks, the singer has a long way to go before solidifying staying status. People in the hip-hop community really like the rapper’s music but his tunes will take a while to start charting on big name counters. This is due to sometimes amateur lyrics which show off a young talent with plenty of room to grow.

A$AP Rocky’s early singles became instant commercial and critical successes for good reason.

“Goldie” struck chords with hip-hop fanatics with a “good life” sort of anthem, proclaiming of wealth and sexual prosperity while others become ridiculously jealous. Still, the track remains a highlight of the album before most other songs come into play because of the same “get money” ego as “Fuckin’ Problems.” When others take a stab at this viewpoint, it seems cocky (ahem, Kanye), but for some reason, A$AP gets away with it. And with names such as Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar on “Fuckin’ Problems” ranting about people who bring them down, the song shows an all around good time.

Long.Live.A$AP promises vibrant additions of hip-hop stars with unbelievable mixes to accompany the rapper’s fiery spits of lyrics. In the album’s title track, the singer promises longevity as he confidently professes “Who said you can’t live forever lied/Of course, I’m living forever I’ll/Forever, I’ll live long/You can’t ever deny,” having outlived many of the factors that once threatened the artist’s life.

The year 2013 already shapes up to be a wonderful start for a young artist in A$AP Rocky, and we see a jump start in the hip-hop game that we haven’t seen since Kendrick Lamar’s debut in October. And though the rapper uses intimidating tactics in his verses, he can’t be blamed for fitting into the status quo of today’s hip-hop writing techniques. But at the same time, A$AP’s lyrics challenge the norm by working in new beats and great raps, and that’s why Long.Live.A$AP might completely surprise you.