The Week in A$AP Rocky


A$AP Rocky may, right now, be at the peak of his hype. The man of extraordinary swagger and a #1 contender for trillest rapper in the game, has had a week to match. His crew, A$AP Mob, is quickly establishing itself as the heaviest hitting rookie crew in the game, just a tier below Maybach, Young Money, GOOD, and Odd Future music groups. His music is on the forefront of the up-and-coming genre “trillwave,” combining proto-crunk, somewhat syrupy-somewhat spacey, chopped-and screwed soundscapes, and the swagger and style of mid-90s New York rap. The blending of a Houston and to a lesser-degree Memphis hip hop aesthetic has found a tenuous home in New York with the A$AP Mob, creating a transcontinental force that hip hop fans across the country can appreciate. That, with the chillwave aesthetic that swept indie three years back transposed on top of the rap game, makes for a horrifically entertaining combination that shows signs of sticking around longer than its much-maligned indie counterpart.

His crew started the week by jumping a rapper named Matt Stoops, which imaginably would not be newsworthy except for the fact that Matt Stoops (@klvnmattstoops) is a member of the Raider Klan.

The Raider Klan is the crew centered around sometimes-contributor, rapping partner to the A$AP Mob, SpaceGhostPurpp. They have done some great work in the past, working to pioneer the trillwave sound, but recently the camps have become separate, with A$AP Rocky causing trouble and SpaceGhostPurpp responding in kind. This alleged attack—from A$AP Mob member A$AP Twelvyy—comes at a time when A$AP Rocky may be moving in a direction away from SpaceGhost’s sound, working with producers such as Hit Boy and toning down the syrup that defined most of his work up until this point (and still defines SpaceGhostPurrp.) Purrp, meanwhile, is claiming inspiration for the A$AP sound that has emerged and the success thereafter.

 

The above “subtweet,” a term for tweets referencing someone else in an indirect way—in this case the term “phonk” referring to Purrp’s recent 4AD debut album, Mysterious Phonk—provoked fury among the Raider Klan. Purrp responded by launching a series of tweets, along with Raider Klan members, criticizing the subtweet and particularly attacking the concept of “purple swag,” the essential element of A$AP’s trillwave for which SpaceGhostPurrp takes credit. One tweet cited the below video as the true sound of Rocky before he co-opted the purple swag style.


And the new sound, from 2011, the most notable song from A$AP Rocky’s DatPiff mixtape EP. The expanded sequel off LiveLoveA$AP, “Purple Swag: Chapter 2,” features SpaceGhostPurrp.

The whole dispute was broadcast throughout many twitter feeds within the last week. It comes off as exceedingly contrived, based on age-old hip hop concepts of conflicting crews and regional disputes—the Miami-based Raider Klan criticizing A$AP for stealing their southern style. It appears that the Raider Klan/A$AP Mob feud won’t be escalating for the time being, but don’t be surprised if the two keep going their separate ways.


Next up in A$AP Rocky’s action packed week was the announcement of his next album LongLiveA$AP. It will be dropping September 11th. Still no word on the official release date of the anticipated A$AP Mob collective album (the rumored release—from Rocky himself—was in February). For the time being, the only guaranteed track is “Goldie” produced by Hit Boy, but the rumored contributors include Santigold, Pharrell, and Lana Del Ray. Fingers crossed his fantastic track with Theophilus London, “Big Spender,” is featured as well. If “Goldie” is a sign of things to come, though, A$AP Rocky will be bringing his A-game this fall.


The aforementioned rumors of a Lana Del Rey contribution were advanced from tweets from Rocky and the announced appearance of Rocky in Lana Del Rey’s music video for “The National Anthem,” the fourth single from January Born to Die. The video got both a teaser release and the full length (7:40) music video this past week. The video itself was a bit of a tease, leaving some awed and some confused, much like the music of Lana’s short career in the spotlight. She starts out in the role of Marilyn Monroe before becoming Jackie O. to A$AP’s John F. Kennedy. Taking the black version of Jack Kennedy, along with some mixed in Zapruder-esque scenes and quite a few children, and you’re left with a video that’s all over the place. The winning review goes to Drew Millard for NBC New York who concisely states: “At the risk of hyperbole, Lana Del Rey’s music video for her new single “The National Anthem” offers conclusive proof that everything is weird and nothing will be normal ever again.” Throughout, though, A$AP brings extraordinary swag to his role—the closest thing America has had to a Playboy President, smoking on a (assumedly) Cuban cigar while adding a fascinating extra layer of meaning to the president who kicked off Civil Rights legislation. A$AP Rocky as John F. Kennedy would have stared down Krushchev and Castro with no problem, assuredly.


Lastly we have Lana Del Rey contributing to A$AP Rocky on the track “Ridin’.” The backstory here is fascinating, so bear with me if you’ve heard it before. Back in April, the production team The Kickdrums were prepping a mixtape, Follow the Leaders, to release of various work and songs that they had put together. The day before the mixtape’s release The Kickdrums released a short snippet of a collaboration between Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky called “Ridin’.” At a mere forty seconds, the clip still rocked the web, skyrocketing in views to the point that Rocky decided it would be best if he released the track on his own terms. So the song, that had yet to be released, attracted so much hype that it was pulled from the mixtape just hours before its release. According to the Kickdrums at least, A$AP Rocky’s reason was to include it on his album.

 

Just yesterday, the alleged collaboration leaked. A$AP Rocky, having changed the name to “My Bitch,” claims that the track does not have the official lyrics. And if you listen closely to A$AP Rocky’s main verse, the production does seem a little incongruous. Hear it below.


And for an added bonus, which is not from this week, we’ve included the “Back & Forth” discussion between A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown from Noisey. It’s great, a meeting of the minds on part with the Solvay Conference—only poolside.


Attribution

Pitchfork
NBC New York
Photo credit: Chad Batka for The New York Times


  • nmaher13

    love the ASAP coverage. couple things though:
    1. comparisons to YMCMB, GOOD, and Maybach are a little bit of a stretch. they are much further down the totem pole than just one level. Odd Future is also nowhere near that top tier vicinity.
    2. “Big Spender” has been a Theophilus track from the start.
    3. “Purple Swag Chapter 2″ was nowhere close to being the most notable track off the mixtape (“Peso,” “Brand New Guy,” “Wassup,”), and the video you embedded was the original song off “Deep Purple,” not the sequel. 
    4. The September 11th release date for ASAP’s album was retracted by him.
     
    Also you coulda mentioned that ASAP Rocky and Spaceghostpurp are both going to be at Pitchfork, and it will be interesting to see if the beef continues there…

    • nmaher13

       @nmaher13 disregard that last pitchfork comment, mixed up artists.

    • Tony Russo

       @nmaher13 I was referring to Purple Swag all along, which was most definitely the most popular off “Deep Purple.” 
       
      I maintain the legitimacy of my crew comparison. Without a doubt they’re in different spheres, but TDE and A$AP Mob are in a group of extraordinary up and coming crews. OFWG occupies a strange state of having achieved recognition as a group on par with GOOD but without the critical acclaim. Perhaps OFWG occupies their own sphere below the aforementioned big three, and below them are A$AP and TDE. I have no trouble grouping them and acknowledging the still present gap between the top and second tier.
       
      “Big Spender” definitely has the trademarks of a Theophilus track, is credited to him, and landed on his mixtape released today. Still, as we saw with the “Ridin’”/”My Bitch,” Rocky can have some pull when the song is quality. The entire thing is pretty great. http://soundcloud.com/theophilus-london/01-mothertree

    • Tony Russo

       @nmaher13 Also thank you for extremely legitimate criticisms in the form of a comment online. This is much too rare.

    • Tony Russo

      @nmaher13I was referring to Purple Swag all along, which was the most popular off “Deep Purple.” 
       
      I maintain the legitimacy of my crew comparison. Without a doubt they’re in different spheres, but TDE and A$AP Mob are in a group of extraordinary up and coming crews. OFWG occupies a strange state of having achieved recognition as a group on par with GOOD but without the critical acclaim. Perhaps OFWG occupies their own sphere below the aforementioned big three, and below them are A$AP and TDE. I have no trouble grouping them and acknowledging the still present gap between the top and second tier.
       
      “Big Spender” definitely has -some- trademarks of a Theophilus track, is credited to him, and landed on his mixtape released today. Still, as we saw with the “Ridin’”/”My Bitch,” Rocky can have some pull when the song is quality.

    • Tony Russo

       @nmaher13 Also thank you for extremely legitimate criticisms in the form of a comment online. This is much too rare.

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