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When they first came on the scene, A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky offered two very different perspectives on rap’s new Harlem. In Rocky’s case, he brought a strong sense of fashion, with musical branches extending to Houston and Atlanta. Ferg stayed with the conventions of trap music, though his cadence and lyricism diverted from the genre’s formulaic sound. And just like that, the Trap Lord was born. His debut was aptly titled, full of chest-beating cuts that suggested Ferg was artsier than Rocky and slightly more overbearing—the Kanye to his Jay. But what happens when you’ve run out of superlatives for yourself and self-reflection kicks in? Well, you work in reverse, which is exactly where Ferg resides on his follow-up project Always Strive and Prosper. If Ferg secured a strong group of followers off Trap Lord, then his new album will surely lock them down as a cult.
An argument could be made that ASAP is the prequel to Trap Lord, where we’re finally understanding the Bruce Wayne before the Batman. But the underlying self-awareness suggests that Ferg has tasted fame and rejected the poisonous parts. The opener “Rebirth” makes that declaration in no uncertain terms. Over a joint production effort of DJ Khalil and Clams Casino, a chopped-and-screwed Ferg talks to himself: “Now that you’re no longer a lord that’s trapped/ You have graduated to the Hood Pope/ You have made it to represent your people/ Show them another way/ Be the voice of the people who couldn’t make it out the hood.”
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It’s hard to think of a hip-hop album with more heart, one with a narrative more thoroughly interwoven with the love of family and friends, than “Always Strive and Prosper,” the second full-length by ASAP Ferg, the restless experimenter of the ASAP crew.
Here is Ferg, remembering his reckless uncle, on “Psycho”: “Wanted to be like you, jail tat on the chest/With the rugged cornrows and a stab on my neck.” And here, celebrating his tough grandmother, on “Let It Bang”: “Grandma hid that hammer in her mattress from my uncle/He would listen to Wu-Tang while walking in the jungle.” On “Beautiful People,” Ferg’s mother shows up for some spoken-word poetry, in between rhymes from Chuck D and Ferg proclaiming, “Watch what you put in your body, so we can live it long.”
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Traplord season is here. A$AP Ferg released the track list to his forthcoming album Always Strive And Prosper. The album includes features from Missy Elliott, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Big Sean, Skrillex, and much more!
Pre-order the album now on iTunes!
Find out when Ferg will be in your city here. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 4th!
This Spring, A$AP Nast will be making his way through the UK and Europe as part of The Nasty Tour. Check out the tour dates above and stay tuned for more information.
A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg make their cameos on HBO’s new series “Animals.” Watch them rap as a pair of bodega cats in the video above.
In a uniquely candid conversation with VICE Autobiographies, A$AP Ferg talks about his father and how their relationship catalyzed his growth as an artist. VICE follows Ferg to Harlem to watch him express himself on canvas and in the studio.
Get a look at the new Marvel Avengers mobile game, which features the voices of A$AP Rocky, John Cena, Alexandra Daddario, Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Priyanka Chopra and more. Grab the app on the iTunes store today.
Ben Stiller is back as Derek Zoolander in Zoolander No. 2, coming to theaters February 12, 2016. Check out the official trailer above featuring cameos from A$AP Rocky, Skrillex and more.
Check out exclusive footage from A$AP Ferg’s stop in Atlanta w/ Peach Castle & WISHATL.