Introducing A$AP Rocky’s new music and new label


Above is the cover art for TESTING. A$AP Rocky has published three studio albums. “I knew it was going to be good the second I saw the album cover,” said Elise Bender ‘19.

Joe Caswell, Features Editor

In his third studio album, A$AP Rocky changes things up from his painstakingly similar LONG.LIVE.A$AP (2013) and AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP (2015) to the more experimental and personal sound of TESTING, which dropped last Friday.

This was Rocky’s first album without direct oversight from his late friend and mentor, A$AP Yams, who passed in 2015. Those first two albums were obviously great and instant classics, but lacked something other rappers had. The projects felt too devised from A$AP Mob, and although Rocky assumes that role well, fans yearned for something more personal.

The result of this newest release is a new Rocky, still very much a rockstar creation of A$AP Mob, but with that new layer of personality and a feeling that this album is purely Rocky.

TESTING is structured like many other major-label rap releases, and yet it avoids so many of the problems that plague its peers. It is stuffed with different ideas and messages, yet never wastes a second of its 15 tracks for random interludes that don’t supplement the main idea. The album is clear and concise and although sometimes a little bland under close analysis (“Gunz N Butter”), this album is truly fillerless.

Two examples of this embracement of a truly new sound is in the tracks Tony Tone and Praise the Lord (Da Shine) which add elements of gangster, underground rap and even explores the world of flute-rap; two things that just a few years ago would never have been able to be said about Rocky.

However, if you’re looking for nonstop bangers, the second half of the album will come to be a disappointment. Although they explore the ideas of of life in a world of excess and the revealment of a broken heart from a failed relationship, they can quickly become uninteresting if you’re not in the mood for it. But if you are, the ideas are insightful and personal enough to keep one’s interest.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of A$AP Rocky, there’s no reason not to love this album. Although it experiments with new styles, it does so confidently and with purpose.

Sidenote: If you think this album is too experimental and strays too far from the style that made him famous, just listen to Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven by Kid Cudi- you’ll see this is quite an improvement for the rap industry when it comes to reinventing artists.