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A$AP FERG – TRAP LORD

It´s been a long time coming, hella long, and now we have a new voice from A$AP MOB.

Leaded by Asap Rocky, up steps a new face to the million selling frontman, Asap Ferg.
His name has been floating around like a sour deisel stench in the past year, through his two massive singles “Work remix” and most recently “Shabba”, and with a notable verse on Asap Rocky´s ‘Pink Kisses‘ where he shone like the silvery grill he too sports when he spits.
Now comes his debut record ‘Trap Lord‘ released this week. So to help with the confusion, of to what is indeed ‘trap‘, now in a generic sense, simply as the Mob put it, ASAP is Trap, it’s cutting bricks, a generic ice over everything.
It could indeed refer to the fever pitch crowd at one of the shows, the bounce from front to back, like a TNGHT show ( the word that they refuse to be under).
And, if according to Asap Ferg, trap isn’t dead, its alive and praise the lord.
The fat is certainly out on the beats, short sharp high hat drums, repetitive strolls, white gold teeth, no floss this is indeed. Fat bass beats, trippy sequences, if you see an Asap Ferg show, trap is the crowd, its hustle, all encompassing, trap is rap, and hustle Asap Ferg does indeed. As Asap Ferg wingman Lord Tarz explained at a recent concert in Philidelphia… “Trap lords walk on the hands…Jesus walks on water. Case closed.
First song ´Let It Go´ starts things off with a hypnotic primal drum beat, banging you into submission, singing along, snarling with intent, like a jungle tribal anthem hummed throw a broken whistle, but truly infectious, with the kind of easy flow akin to Jay Z ‘Big Pimpin’ mixed with R Kelly ‘Fiesta’ except remove the bikini clad titty bitches and throw in some molly poppin’ sweaty girls in a predator film sountracked by Asap Mob. These beats hit hard on Rocky ‘Goldie’ levels, but we all knew that after ‘Work Remix’, Ferg is more fight than Asap´s fashion conscious and female inflagranti forwardings, the drum high hats take over on xlyophone bashing ´Shabba´ and funny yet evil grinding ode to the man himself Jamaican dancehall legend and gold lover Shabba Ranks, lan uncomfortable but heavy beat taken straight from movie ‘The Exorcist’ where Ferg is out with intent from moment, where we start to see where Fergs talent lies, a kind of fast spoken statement with a squeal here and there, almost a welcome up to the big time or passing the torch for the moment, pass the dutchie to the left hand side.
The gold repetition:

“ Eight gold rings like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks
Four gold chains like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks
One gold tooth like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks”

is an easy rap, repetitive and catchy, its all in all a good lead into the album, it gets in your head, over that beat. Asap Rocky comes in an takes over, like he does best. With the squeal, its a different voice, not to say its not good, look at Drake and Kendrick only 2 perfect examples. It sets him apart from the rest of the mob, where there was explosions or a distorted deep as fuck voice the barks and shouts replace them. Next song`Lord´takes on a pharoah menace, an Egypitan beat, and featuring the steller Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

If you bought the record, you would be checking why it wasn’t playing at 33rpm, its a slow pounding affair., the boys Bone Thugs turn up and tear the fuck up with a flow so fast you surpised the drugs have kicked in so early, they’ve had a song or two with the best, Biggie and Tupac to name but a few, and they raise the bar on the 3rd track.
Religious epiphanies and lyrics come from everywhere and are often noted, if Asap Mob are the disciples of New York Rap then Ferg is almost like the Judas to Asap Rocky’s Jesus, a silver grilled kiss but no betrayal, merely his ploy being the aim to become the new Harlem Gospel everyone wants to hear. Standout track `Hood Pope´ follows on this, Ferg singing the best chorus and album highlight,
“Let me sing my song, if you feel this shit, mothefucka sing along
It´s the Hood Pope, chain hang low, red rubies and the gold
Young trap lord, feel your pain, I be down for my people,
Drinking Jesus Juice, jeans hang low, red rubies and the gold”


Sometimes simplicity is the key, its simple, and its an effective chorus, a sort of smooth singalong showing his prowess on both fronts, singing and rapping with a skill and fervour with a scaly beat and the minimalist of minimal production courtesy of Veryryre . An amazing song, as he outlines “let me sing my song, motherfuckers sing along” this is where Ferg hits hardest, minimal beats and a slow statement, less rapping, and as he quotes “enlightening” his followers. The beats and production is akin to two rocks being bashed together, two kendo fighting samurai, the beat is biting your ear, the producion is tight and fresh as an Asap tee fresh out the packet.
Fergivicious‘ sounds lifted from the best moments of ‘Zomby – Soliloquy‘.

 

Here is he is at his most melancholic, dark and overpowering, with some electronic beats thrown in, trill, bass, chill trill, more introspective, “All I feel is pain, surviving on my own” throw in some ‘Thom Yorke – Eraser’ beats and lyrics and you got this track, a real compliment. When the beat is slowest, when the production is sparse, Ferg works best. This aint no Trap, this is trill shit, and it works.
Biggie was getting head (really) on his records and it seems like ‘Trap Lord’ could be renamed ´Lessons in giving and taking head Volume 1´ especially on ´´4:03”, a downtempo mid-record pause, speaking through a decoder voice, more at pains to push things forward., effects everywhere, right through this record, bringing effects and mixing them together like an intricate puzzle, a Jenga tower of trap bricks, that grows tall and never falls, it sounds interesting, new and fresh.

´Dump dump´, is the hardest of songs, Ferg at his most angry, halfway through when the beat drops, almost TNGHT like in its ferocity, Ferg speaking of how (he would) “pop a pill in her asshole”. Where once it was dick pointing now it´s his gun, as he rides round the streets in a car, this continuing boast does at times seem a bit dreary and at times lacking imagination never more so than the repetitive claims of “ I fucked your bitch, she sucked my dick”.

The difference between Asap Ferg and Kendrick Lamar is that Kendrick can make you feel like your actually there when he ryhmes, he takes you to another place, where Kendrick relies on words, Ferg relies on bravado and just doesnt convince 100% , he is a good boy after all, it even verges on the comical a la Ol´ Dirty Bastard, its OK in his fantasies, if indeed they are fantasises, we must imagine, unless the clothes shops he frequents and seems obsessed become gun violent.
He got the hustles, he hustles, but does he really hustle that hard? Competition is good in this game, and Kendrick Lamar’s recent statement of “ King of New York” on the verse that everyone the World over now knows on ‘Control’ was met with a response by Ferg “ What’s a King To a Lord ?”, confidence and posture he does not lack. What he lacks in storytelling however, he does make up in beats, and biggest hit and another highlight and where the ASAP sound is at its fullest is in ‘Work Remix‘. The song is failed by the appearances of guests Trinidad James and French Montana, who just don´t seem up to the status of the ASAP Mob, and despite Trinidad´s success, the two non ASAP members never manage to pull this one off, and its up to Ferg to call in Asap Rocky “Pretty Flacko put him in the dirt” to save the song on the last verse with quite possibly the best lyric on the whole record “But I’m so damn fine make a bitch look average’. Ferg matches Flacko and sounds intense on `Work Remix` and we need more of this, his high pitch screaming giving him a new edge, a conviction, with an intense scream like a triple death match between the evil Lo Pan in ´Big Trouble in Little China` mixed with Dustin Hoffman´s character in ‘Rain Man’ with Danny Brown in a headlock. All in all, in the sum of all it’s parts, ‘Work Remix’ just doesn’t work.
Back to a more to a lounge sound which again suits more Ferg’s flow, production heavy on ‘ Didn’t wanna do that ‘.
Waka Flocka Flame comes in and delivers a bouncy rhyme in `Murda Something `.
“Make a Scene” brings the first female voice to the record, Maad Moiselle, always with the beats, its beats and grind, downtempo, a speech about the harsh realities of life and life in the Harlem that Ferg has experienced. Maad Moiselle works well with the piano beat, but it falls a bit flat. Penultimate track ‘Fuck Out My Face’ ft Aston Matthews, B-Real and Onyx, should be Asap Ferg at his most threatening, a last throw of the dice on the ´Trap Lord´ card.
The guests bring their game, but its more of a slowing down, and again just doesn´t seem real enough and menacing enough, like Asap Ferg is carrying a foam baseball bat, instead of a a wooden one….or a steel one with barb wire wrapped round it and set on fire. Finally, ‘Cocaine Castle’ comes to the rescue, a 5am party song, where the drugs take over from the alcohol and shit gets heavier. It´s also a warning, a statement about the people around Ferg who lost battles with drugs, and the dangers of them. After the past few songs, it is a finale that matches Ferg’s intent, its filthy, otherwordly, reflective about the dangers about “gettin lit up” and the downward spiral that drug dependency can cause.
This is his mixtape, his first record, his statement of intent. Whereas Rocky had the mighty ethereal production skills of Clams Casino, which brought another dimension to his record altogether. Instrumentals that matched perfectly with the clean cut spit of Asap mob, Ferg on the other hand, the production is just everywhere. There´s more dick sucking and shooting guns on this record than a massacre at a porn convention, and it does become somewhat tiring. He does come all out literally all guns blazing, but there’s no stamp of authority, there is preaching, there is enlightenment, but there is no everlasting sense of a great record which Rocky achieved. From what we know, Ferg is a man of many talents, a jack of all trades, among others, Asap Ferg is a painter , before he became a rapper, but his paints and raps dont mix, whereas Kendrick truly paints a picture with his rap skill, you can imagine yourself in the backseat ( no pun ) with Kendrick and his crew rolling around Compton, he maps it out for you, maybe the most you can imagine is a fashion party with Asap Ferg with plenty of fellatio. When his anxiety and self reflection comes out on record, he is at his best, he is preaching a sermon for the fans. With his art collection, jewellery line, and designer belts, and all the silver and gold teeth than the remnants rich kings skulls in the Parisian catacombs, Ferg seems like the Cyril Sneer, the tycoon in the Evergreen Forest of New York, while his ASAP MOB Yes Pigs drink up the champagne from the golden trough. Really, mogul and label head Asap Yams is the real shrewd businessman, who sold the world Asap Rocky and Fergie and won, just look at him strutting round Paris in the video for ‘Goldie‘.
Synths and 808s are everywhere on this record, and it sounds fresh, Ferg has brought a new sound to Asap Mob, a new Harlem from 2013, (for the onomatopeic lovers) its enlightening, entwining, eerie, emotional, exotic, and ethereal, edgy at best. It could be the soundtrack to a permanent chase scene from Beverly Hills Cop, sounding from the 80’s with a 2013 twist. Its more trippy than trappy, its trip trap.
What we do know is Asap Ferg is a serial live performer, a three headed mask wearing beast with the help of Marty Baller and Lord Tarz, giving the record another edge all together, the self confessed Robin Hood of the Hood, the enlightenment is here, and probably the biggest statement about the rise of Asap Ferg today was the quote by Sports commentator John Buccigross, stating that Tom Brady was for the Patriots like Asap Ferg is for Asap Mob, a sureforce and a no1 pick, its a winning touchdown throw from team Asap Mob, and judging by the hype surrounding this release and the rise of Asap Ferg, quarterbacks can get away with anything…….

8/10

written by:
Michael Williams