@ASAPYams Breaks Down A$AP Rocky’s Song Influences
ASAP Rocky, the flashy Harlem hip-hop star, just released his first major-label album, “Long.Live.ASAP” (Polo Grounds/RCA), which made its debut atop the Billboard album chart. Behind the scenes is ASAP Yams, his longtime friend and collaborator, who serves as something of a spirit guide, helping to shape Rocky’s hybrid hip-hop. Below are samples of Rocky’s songs, and excerpts from a conversation with Yams in which he discusses the influences — his and Rocky’s — that have driven Rocky’s career.
“We needed an introspective record for his album that really lets you into his life,” Yams said of this song, which ends “Long.Live.ASAP” (not counting bonus tracks), and which he likened to “Blueprint (Momma Loves Me),” the closing song from Jay-Z’s album “The Blueprint.” “It kind of lets you into what Rocky’s gone through the past year and a half, and on top of that, growing up, his family.”
The Influence Jay-Z, “Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)” (Roc-A-Fella, 2001)
“It was completely inspired by Master P,” Yams said of this dis record aimed at a former ASAP associate. “Master P was actually supposed to be on the hook originally. Master P inspired Rocky for that song as far as the flow. I wouldn’t say it sounds like P did like in ’97-’98; it would be more like something P would have done like in the ‘Ice Cream Man,’ ‘West Coast Bad Boyz’ time.” Yams also links “Jodye” to a long tradition of hip-hop feuds: “I think people misinterpret that record so much. That record is a classic move from a New York rapper: he took your style and dissed you with your own style and sounded better than you can, you feel me?”
The Influence Master P, “Ice Cream Man” (No Limit, 1996)
Though Yams doesn’t guide Rocky’s sometimes outlandish fashion choices, he acknowledges the overlap between the rapper’s fashion and his music, especially on songs like this. “That was him having a chance to be cocky,” Yams said. “He’s literally bragging about trends that he started that everybody’s following this year.” The inspiration for that sort of trash talk: the fellow Harlem rapper and peacock Cam’ron, known for his intricate rhymes and his flamboyance, including wearing pink for a long spell in the early 2000s, starting a trend. Then, “when everybody was wearing pink, he disowned pink,” Yams recalled. “That’s just the whole Harlem mentality when it comes to fashion. When he sees too much people doing what he’s doing and doing it wrong on top of that, he’s just going to disown it.”
The InfluenceCam’ron (Seth Kushner/Retna)
This song is Rocky’s unofficial dedication to Yams on the album, the No. 1 subway line being how Yams traveled from his home in Riverdale to the Brooklyn studio where Rocky recorded early in his career. The song is a posse cut in the classic sense – several rappers placed end to end on the same beat, each trying to have the best verse. “I remember the ‘Banned from TV’s, the ‘John Blaze’s, things of that nature,” Yams said. “When’s the last time a posse cut came out and people get hype just off seeing the features? It’s been a very long time since that happened that wasn’t just a remix.”
A$AP Rocky interview with eMUSIC
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None of us knew it at the time, but when the Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky swung through the eMusic offices last spring, accompanied by a good portion of his entourage, his major-label debut Long.Live.A$APwas nowhere near seeing the light of day. That day, it was slated for a July 4 release, and “Goldie,” Rocky’s glossy gold-plated lead single produced by Hit Boy (“Niggas in Paris”, “Clique”), had just hit radio. He was riding high on the buzz from his free mixtapeLiveLoveA$AP, which had delivered on the promise of his tantalizing earliest songs. Those songs, accompanied by compelling, stylish low-budget clips, suggested a marketable phenomenon, but even then he was on his way to proving he was also a budding star.
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In 2012, A$AP Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) took the music and fashion world by storm with his hybrid hip-hop sound and unique sense of fashion style. The 24-year-old Harlem native is ready to kick off 2013 on a high note with his debut album, ‘Long.Live.A$AP,’ due in stores Jan. 15.
A year ago, Rocky was virtually unknown until he dropped his hard-hitting mixtape ‘Live.Love.A$AP,’ which was celebrated by music bloggers and tastemakers alike. Record labels started calling, and Rocky inked with Polo Grounds Music, under the RCA-Sony banner.
And a star was born.
CONGRATS to A$AP Rocky for receiving 6 nominations for the BET Hip Hop Awards. Tune in to the BET Hip Hop Awards October 9th.
- Rookie of the year
- Best Hip Hop Video
- Director of the year
- Made you look award
- Best Mixtape (LIVELOVEA$AP)
- Best Performer
Shout out to the whole A$AP Mob, ALWAYS STRIVE AND PROSPER.
A$AP Rocky with Ricky Black, he lost his older brother a couple of yrs ago.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY & R.I.P RICKY BLACK, LONGLIVEA$VP.