A major part of the discussion surrounding New York Rap’s resurgence has been Harlem’s A$AP Mob since the viral success of their most prominent member A$AP Rocky’s earlier singles “Peso,” “Purple Swag” and the more recent “Goldie.” Though under scrutiny for an off-kilter obsession with the musical culture of Houston, their leader’s strides have paved the way for his less heard teammates to become established within their own right. Lords Never Worry is at once the group’s formal introduction and a precursor to A$AP Rocky’s hotly anticipated next release LongLiveA$AP. Picking up where the rock star swagger of Uptown’s Dipset has stumbled, A$AP Mob is today’s reckless force to be reckoned with.
Sticking to an already working formula, A$AP Rocky’s solo opener “Thuggin’ Noise” finds his trademark cockiness and slowed down vocals accompanied by gun sounds, contrasted by companion A$AP Ant who provides a fine ode to women and cars with the Southern bounce of “The Way It Go.” Whether intentional shock value or art imitating obscenity, the straightforward “Coke and White Bitches Chapter 2” (featuring outlandish counterparts Danny Brown, Gunplay and Fat Trel) and linking up with the rowdy Flatbush ZOMBiES for “Bath Salt,” mix insane reality and ambiance to enjoyable results. The crew’s true ingenuity lies with their secret weapon A$AP Ferg, who steals the show with his harsh delivery and undeniably catchy harmonies on “Persian Wine” and “Choppas On Deck.” Stirring up further excitement, the hyperactive party starter “Told Ya” and the throwback East Coast feel of “Underground Killas” (guest starring Raekwon) demonstrate that the squad’s overall vision is vast despite narrow subject matter.
Where A$AP Rocky and his Mob mostly offer a good time, close comrade A$AP Twelvy and associate (nephew of Hip Hop mogul Damon) Da$h fail to hold interest with their grandiose boasts. As well, the raunchy “Freeze” (finding Jim Jones sounding out of place) and sensual trance of Rocky’s “Purple Kisses” make for rare dull moments of filler. The often misunderstood A$AP Mob has created a unique path for themselves, combining inspiration from the likes of the legendary DJ Screw and UGK with their youthful purpose of breathing life back into their hometown The title Lords Never Worry reflects their carefree disposition as they live for the present, contributing violent entertainment that is more cartoonish than threatening. While the projects lags at points due to redundancy, A$AP Rocky and Co. are developing an enthralling movement that may flourish if listeners can overlook the continual blatant homage paid.
DX Consensus: “Free Album” (the highest possible praise for a mixtape)