Harlem-born and blog-bred, ASAP Rocky first made a name for himself with the ethereal and hyper-referential YouTube favorites "Peso" and "Purple Haze." For "F--kin' Problems," the breakout radio hit from his major label debut Long. Live. ASAP., he mostly abandons this aesthetic—and the mic, handing it to more radio-ready guests Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar to complement a more upbeat and playful sound. So it's something of a relief to hear that the bulk of the album tends to retain the fog of his early work. Rocky is a competent rapper at best—a slithery midpoint between present-day Drake and early Three 6 Mafia—and isn't particularly present as a personality or songwriter, but he can still sound downright glorious when he sinks into the right bed of feathered and fuzzy production.
Andrew Nosnitsky, Google Play