Concert Knowledge: 10 things I learned at A$AP Rocky
1) A$AP Rocky is a “pretty motherfucker” (and a “trill bitch”…and “pretty flacko”): At least according to Wassup. Even if songs weren’t windows to the truth, Rocky would have communicated this message with his clothing alone. His first costume screams Rocky Takes Fallujah, and his second is no less outlandish. He’s far too skinny for a bulletproof vest, but a holster/t-shirt works just fine, especially when it’s covered with strips of black fabric.
2) The show has been modeled off of a Pitchfork review: If the hypeman is supposed to be the most outlandish and the least talented, then Na$t would be the obvious choice. Thankfully (thankfully?), the tour manager reads Pitchfork and let, by Pitchfork’s estimation, the most talented member of A$AP Mob remain onstage to hype and complement Rocky. This, of course, is A$AP Ferg. And this makes sense, because Pitchfork is always right…and never obnoxious.
3) Hip Hop fans hate you by default: Being 6’5”, I always have a hard time at concerts. I don’t want to block anybody’s view, but I also can’t do anything about my body…a conundrum. Luckily, the fans at A$AP answered that dilema for me with only a few words: “This motherfucker is too tall”; “What the fuck is this dude thinking?”; “Daaaaaaaamn, why is Dirk Nowitzki here?” (Ed.- No one has ever, nor will they ever, confuse you for Dirk).
4) A$AP loves the ’60s: If the “National Anthem” video gave you any clues, Rocky has some sort of infatuation with the 1960s. This comes out in his show through the narrative interludes (yes, there are narrative interludes in this rap show—graduated from the skits of yesteryear), which feature songs by Jimi Hendrix.
5) Life for Schoolboy is just weed & brews: This one is self-explanatory.
6) A$AP is basically a more hedonistic Lil’ B: The whole night, A$AP was talking about youth, weed, fun, positivity and, of course, the ubiquitous ‘bitch’ that every rapper seems to know, and often hate. This preachiness is pure Lil’ B, but rather than lecturing on positive thinking and redefining masculinity in hip hop, he just giggles and makes jokes about fellatio. Swag.
7) Danny Brown looks and acts like the ‘Ready to Die’ baby if he smoked five blunts a day and never graduated high school: Front tooth-less, awkward on his feet and unaware of the existence of hair products, Brown is a goof before he opens his mouth. Then when his Slick Rick meets Childish Gambino flow kicks in, with its silly and often explicit rhymes, you really start to rethink the hip hop’s openness to budding artists.
8) A$AP Na$t belongs in Odd Future: That dude was absolutely crazy, bouncing around the stage in a “Security” hat and scoop neck. He looked like the lovechild of Frank Ocean and Tyler (both the Creator and Steven). Pitchfork gives Na$t no love because they haven’t seen him perform like a crossfaded Tazmanian devil for two hours.
9) A$AP Mob is boys with AraabMuzik: Providence local AraabMuzik was on the stage for much of the show, a fact the Rolling Stone reporter failed to acknowledge. This was pretty cool for two reasons: 1. AraabMuzik is freaking awesome. 2. He produced a few beats on the Lord$ Never Worry mixtape. Producers on stage always make the shows better, probably because more people means more random cries to drown out the overly loud backing track.
10) Schoolboy > A$AP: Schoolboy Q stole the show on Friday. His raps are darker, more complex and more technically impressive than Rocky’s…and that’s before you factor in the quality of his live performance. A$AP is as charismatic as can be, but ultimately a great practitioner of hip hop will put a bravado-heavy, grill-wearing 23 year old to shame. Rocky might have the name of a rap superstar (Rakim is his birth name), but Schoolboy will likely go down of one of this era’s most consistent and talented artists.
But seriously, this was a great show that taught us all some valuable lessons about the current state of hip hop. The days of gang banging are over, and now the uzi is just a symbol A$AP Mob can insert into their name graphic…