Promoting his recent album “At.Long.Last.A$AP”, A$AP Rocky stopped by “The Whoolywood Shuffle” with DJ Whoo Kid on Shade 45. The 30-minute interview is laced with gems; Rocky speaks on losing the ring that Swizz Beatz gifted him, PacSun pulling his “anarchist” merchandise from their shelves, being instrumental in Mos Def changing back his name from Yasiin Bey, working with Rod Stewart on “Everyday”, Rick Owen’s wife Michèle Lamy paying homage to A$AP Yams with the artwork for “A.L.L.A.”, Lil B cursing the Houston Rockets and diffusing a beef that Rocky had with another rapper, and more.
The interview ends with Rocky putting Wiz Khalifa on blast. It’s out there that Rocky turned down a weed challenge from Wiz, but he sets the record straight and how he got Wiz back by popping his mushroom cherry. Tune into “The Whoolywood Shuffle” each and every Saturday from 12p-6p EST, with a re-broadcast on Sunday’s from 10a-4p EST exclusively on Eminem’s Shade 45 (Sirius XM).
“I hope you all enjoy this, nah’mean? If it’s one thing I can say about this album, it’s that I wanted to make music the way I wanted to, not like any of this other wack sh*t out here.” This is how Rakim Mayers, alias A$AP Rocky, recently addressed an intimate crowd of about 25-30 journalists, label reps and industry folk at his pre-release album listening event.
Of the 18 tracks that make up his second studio album, A.L.L.A (At.Long.Last.A$AP), the crowd only heard about seven or eight songs, but one could already get an impression of the trippy, psychedelic sound Rocky was experimenting with for the new project. With anticipation already building for what A.L.L.A. would bring from the banger of a single “Lord Pretty Flacko 2,” all buzz seemed to fall to the wayside with the sudden and tragic death of A$AP Mob founder A$AP Yams. How the Mob will move forward without their fallen captain remains in question, but with Rocky at the forefront, they’ve made it known that it would be business as usual, with them dedicating all that comes next (including A.L.L.A.) to their longtime friend.
It’s been a long afternoon, but A$AP Rocky has just gotten a second wind. The rapper is sitting in a swivel chair in a control room at Jungle City Studios in Chelsea. He’s in the middle of a nonstop press day, giving consecutive interviews to promote his new album A.L.L.A. — an acronym for “At. Long. Last. A$AP” — and despite the fact that we’ve been here for hours, the Harlem native is bright and alert…although he’s lost track of time.
“What’s today?” he asks, holding an almost-smoked joint to his chest. His hair is pulled back neatly into braids and his smile glistens from a gold bottom grill. He’s wearing all black and what appear to be red slippers — both comfy and very expensive-looking — on his feet. His amnesia is understandable; it’s been a whirlwind week. On May 26, he dropped his sophomore album a week early with a party at Milk Studios. A family affair, the event was attended by his A$AP Mob collective, relatives of his late former manager Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez and his mother. “She just be chillin’. She’s happy for me. She keeps me humble,” Rocky laughs about his mom. “She kind of had something going when she named me Rakim. She was onto something!”
In a year that has seen a plethora of major releases already, the bar has been raised on what it takes to stand out as artists have begun to focus more on whole albums then single tracks. A$AP Rocky’s sophomore effort At.Long.Last.A$AP. is an achievement that does just that.
As it begins with a sample from the Coen Brothers O Brother, Where Art Thou before dropping into a deep instrumental framed by guitar bells and a driving bass, the listener is quickly aware they are in unchartered territory. “Church bells and choir sounds tell ‘em, quiet down / Bow your head, the most high’s around” is the first time we hear Rocky and the introduction to 66 minutes and 15 seconds of his greatest art to date.
The album’s range is sometimes vast both sonically and thematically. It is a puzzle that fits due to soul-searching work by Rocky, Danger Mouse, and the newest name on the tongues of Hip Hop heads across the country, Joe Fox. Fox’s story is that of biopic foder. He literally bumped into Rocky on the streets of London while trying to get people to listen to his mixtape and found himself in the studio with the rapper later that night.
A$AP Rocky has been a significant style star since his early days wearing a “dress” during his appearance on 106 & Park. He released a collaboration for Adidas with Jeremy Scott in 2013 and has been a front-row fixture at Fashion Week over the past few years. On his new album, At.Long.Last.A$AP, he raps, “I swear we gon’ have drama if you touch my tailored garments.”
The album, which had a surprise midnight release last night, is full of fashion references. Here’s an annotated guide to his new lyrics and all of the style shout-outs.