At.Long.Last.A$AP (A$AP Worldwide/RCA)
The title of A$AP Rocky’s sophomore full-length, At.Long.Last.A$AP, looks to be a cheeky nod to the album’s having faced a few delays before landing.
Considering the two years of hype built up following the release of his breakthrough effort, Long.Live.A$AP, which led to side stints as a fashion plate and actor, the album only occasionally feels like it was worth the wait.
“Holy Ghost” is a strong opener, though, entwining a dirtied-up swirl of psychedelic guitar lines lifted from an old Lucero song with Rocky’s lyrics about questioning faith and the music industry. Those looking for the syrupy, hypnagogic hip-hop rhythms of older work have friends in the hustle number “Canal St.” and the doomed boom of “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2”.
While the once Harlem-based Rocky’s last album had him high on “PMW”—an acronym that stood for “pussy, money, weed”—a move to Los Angeles has turned him on to acid.
He admits as much on both “L$D”, whose icicle-drip digitalism backs a discussion of love, and “Better Things”. The latter runs especially ugly, though, as the rapper rebounds from lines about being lonely into a venomous tirade targeting R & B singer Rita Ora.
Solid guests spot are offered by M.I.A. and Future, on “Fine Whine”, and Kanye West, who jumps on a gleefully erratic tapestry of soul samples called “Jukebox Joints”.
That said, an unknown named Joe Fox contributes efficient but mostly unmemorable hooks to five songs. Inspiration seems to be cashed out when Juicy J and UGK drop by on the languid, money-minded “West Side Highway”.
Later, penultimate track “Everyday” has Rocky noting that he’s got a few screws loose. If the monolithic At.Long.Last.A$AP had tightened things up with some judicious editing, the album would have held up a lot better.