A$AP Rocky is not New York’s rap savior. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the most intriguing, most watched rapper to emerge from New York in the last decade. It’s hard for an artist’s project to live up to the level of hype critics and fans set for Long.Live.A$AP. Like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, A$AP rose to the occasion with the (Polo Grounds/RCA) debut–not for producing an LP with a cohesive story arc like his Oakland colleague–but for its production and experimentation.
Criticized for his lack of depth on the mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, the 24-year-old Harlem rapper didn’t buckle under pressure to create a forced pseudo-deep LP. It’s unapologetic in the grandiose boasting of extra zeros in his bank account, the fly women he’s sexing and posturing of street life. “Yes I’m the s—-/Tell me if it stink/It feel good waking up to money in the bank/Three model b—-/cocaine on the sink/And I’m so ’bout it ’bout it I might roll up in a tank,” he raps on the lead single “Goldie.” The themes are much of the “look at how much money I have” and “I know fancy designers,” but his voice over the drums, snares and keyboards, it all bangs. Hard. Read more…
Bad Boy Mase has spent the past six months patiently working himself back into the game, from the pulpit to the mic, one remix verse and surprise appearance at a time. Next week, Mase is scheduled to make a big return next week with a feature on G.O.O.D. Music’s much anticipated all-star comp, Cruel Summer. And before then, he’s warming up with a quick verse on Miguel‘s slinky showstopper, “Adorn,” off of his Kaleidoscope Dreams: Water Preview.
Mase uses his opening verse to spoil his object of his adoration with vacations to all the “places Mrs. Obama went” and “gifts that are prominent.” Because “every bad girl need ‘em a good guy,” he raps, flow back in familiar form. He sounds comfortable alongside a tender Miguel, and this team-up lends a helpful relevance to a rapper long looking for a welcome back and a nice name check for the young R&B artist well on the come-up.
In a chain of events few would have expected, Hot 97 Summer Jam was as much about who was performing as it was about who wasn’t performing. By the time Tyga performed “Faded” and “Rack City” there was a dark cloud looming over the nearly 80,000 attendees, and that cloud had nothing to do with the weather. Tyga’s boss, Lil Wayne, had just abruptly pulled the plug on any of his artists performing, including the show’s headliner–Nicki Minaj.
Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg, known for his loose (opinionated) lips introduced Kendrick Lamar during the pre-show and dropped a bombshell that set the tone for the rest of the night. “I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing “Starships” later. I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*ck that bulls*it,” he said to the crowd. “I’m here to talk about real hip-hop s*it.” The YMCMB president got whiff of the perceived diss and tweeted, “Young Money ain’t doing summer jam.” With that one tweet the boss had spoken. But the show did in fact go on. And in a major way.
Opening acts like Maino
, Joe Budden
and Joel Ortiz
rattled through their old hits to a barely there crowd. That didn’t keep Budden from declaring he and his crew were the “best rappers in the universe.” People started filling in once Waka Flocka
hit the stage with the wild, crazy, party energy he seems to carry with him anywhere he goes. The signature Waka Flocka move–shaking his dreads from side to side–was in full effect during “Bustin At Em,” “It’s A Party,” “Hard In the Paint and “I Don’t Really Care.” “No Hands” served as a segue into Wale’s
set as the two shared the stage. J. Cole
proved he’s studied in the School of Jay-Z
as he was the first to perform with a live band. No entourage needed, he commanded the stage with his mere talent.