An album that had potential, but is ultimately brought down by a bloated track-listing and weak lyrics.
At. Long. Last. A$AP is an admirable attempt at a sophomore album, however the direction that it hoped to go in ultimately fell short. The project marks Rocky transitioning away from his larger club songs, such as his most popular single ‘F**kin’ Problems‘, to a more chilled out style, and in some cases fully-fledged musical drug trips.
In the midst of the promotion for the album there have been several key themes the press have focused on; his increased use and promotion of LSD, the ending of his engagement, and the death of his friend A$AP Yams. This would give the impression that this is going to be a more personal work that would go into the details of his thoughts and emotions about the last year, however, only two of these themes are actually noticeable. The first being LSD, which actually has a song named after it (yes the S in the title is again a dollar sign) and the second being his friend’s death, who is featured on the cover, but only announced in the final verse: “Rest in peace Yams”
While it would be wrong to base the quality of the music purely on the level of which it goes into his personal life, the main criticism with this record is the overall lack of character in the lyrics and sound. The closest it gets to confirming they are even Rocky’s own words are the descriptions of which celebrities he’s slept with. I know that you’re curious so I’ll just list them here: Iggy Azalea, Rihanna, and Rita Ora, about whom he is uncomfortably detailed. The topics in this record don’t really go past standard rap themes (anger at labels, humble beginnings, women, drugs, wealth, etc.) and fail to accomplish anything to differentiate himself from similar rappers. Most songs are delivered at a surface level, as though he is checking off boxes in the rap guidebook. In the second song he states that “your favourite rappers’ corpses couldn’t measure my importance”, but there’s nothing to prove that on this record.
What isn’t skimped out on is the production and the number of tracks, which is good news and bad news. The good news is that throughout the LP the instrumentals are largely high quality, and if you were paying attention to Rocky’s flow rather than the actual lyrics it would make the album much more enjoyable. The bad news is that there are far too many songs. I mentioned earlier that Rocky is simply checking boxes but by the second half it seems as though he’s forgotten what he’s already done, making the same statements with nothing more to add.
Despite the large amount of forgettable songs on the album, there are some highlights. In the first half ‘Fine Whine’ offers a chilled beat which gradually builds, adding in features from M.I.A and Feature that despite (again) the weak lyrics, make it one of the more satisfying songs. ‘L$D’ sounds as though it would make a good enough soundtrack for the titular drug, while ‘Jukebox Joints’ has the fun stylings of an old Kanye song, but ironically ends with a very weak Kanye feature. The second half has one standout song, ‘Everyday’, which offers the closest to an emotional piece on the LP and is probably the best song on the album.
Overall the change from a mainstream style clearly shows that this is A$AP Rocky’s intention, I’m just not sure the quality is there to match.
At. Long. Last. A$AP was released Tuesday 26th May via RCA Records.