LORD FLVCKO is really back. In this past week, Rakim Mayers has put on a unique album reveal called Lab Rat, introduced the cover of his newest project, and has now released his long awaited album Testing. After listening and absorbing this album less than an hour after it dropped, I think it is important that we analyze the history, come up and career of Rocky before he begins to receive his recognition as one of the greatest ever to enter the hip hop scene. We have witnessed an absolutely iconic transformation of a poor Harlem rapper into a symbol and visionary for all of the culture…let’s take a deeper look into A$AP Rocky.
A$AP Rocky is a Harlem rapper that has been around for a while, and if you do not know who he is at all then you might have been in a coma. Rocky made his introduction as an artist with his first mixtape in 2011, LiveLoveA$AP, where he mixes sounds of New York with a simultaneous twisted, pompous and trippy style of his own that most people can easily recognize as his own lane these days. Rocky is also highly credited for his vision regarding the start of a creative collective known as A$AP, while making their name known worldwide and putting his hometown of Harlem on the map for years to come. It has formed into a way of life that is ambiguous but also focused at the same time and is held very close to his heart, wearing A$AP MOB wherever he goes.
Rocky has since released plenty of instant classics throughout the last half decade, including his first studio album Long.Live.A$AP, which really made his name known to the common music listener. Through collaborations with a ton of notable artists such as 2 Chainz, Skrillex, ScHoolboy Q, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and more, A$AP was still easily able to shine through all of these stars and show the world the new sound he was providing to hip hop. Songs like “Goldie” and “Fashion Killa” became instant classics and showcased core images and sounds of what he was going to individually bring to the scene. His lane continued to become even more distinct when he brought that same essence to his second studio album in 2015 At.Long.Last.A$AP. This album provided the same Harlem vibe that people came to love, but with a clear, newfound maturity from Rocky. He drove this project with a mix of hard raps such as “M’s (feat. Lil Wayne)” and “Canal St (feat. Bones)” while mixing in trippy production with “L$D” and “Electric Body (feat. ScHoolboy Q)”. It was clear how much Rocky had grown over just a couple of years, especially with his interest in fashion and culture growing by the day.
It was obvious that A$AP Rocky was on the verge of creating an empire by the time fall of 2016 came around. Appearing flashy and jiggy as ever, Twitter and the rest of the internet was excited to see Rocky modeling for the very popular French fashion company, Dior. Around the same time, he had directed an extremely ambitious collaborative effort from A$AP Mob known as Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends which peaked at 13 on Billboard, calling for a sequel to be released nearly a year later.
There is definitely lots of struggles and secrets underneath the infamous Fashion Killa, that especially came to light during Lab Rat, his recent performance/album cover reveal…thing. It was definitely experimental to say the least. We learned that he likes his nipples kissed, can handle being dunked into an ice tank multiple times, and often thinks about human existence. Through the slightly corny sci-fi Alice in Wonderland esque presentation, Rocky revealed one of his darkest sides. Every time he has worked on a project, someone close to him has died, including some of his best friends like A$AP Yams and Country.
After listening to Testing for the first time today, I have no doubt in my mind that A$AP Rocky’s legacy will go down in the books. His ability to innovate, create, and contribute is astonishing and it is impossible to deny that he has done a lot for modern day hip hop. Rocky is always pushing new boundaries and frontiers, with a whole family on his side. Through losses and experimentation, he is certainly an inspiration to many people, especially youth within the scene. Go listen to Testing right now and tell me otherwise.