Posted by , Nov 11, 2016 at 05:49pm
EDITOR RATING
82%
Golden: 4Broken: 0
Unanimous
AUDIENCE RATING
92%
226 votes
Editor reviews (tap to expand)
82%
Patrick Lyons
Yams would be proud
"Cozy Tapes Vol. 1" is exactly the type of tape that Yams would have raved about on his Tumblr. It's low-stakes, but high-reward.
342
85%
Danny Schwartz
A good-ass time
The gritty and expansive sound, the bravado and humor and greyscale Uptown universe of the Mob, the effortless cool/chemistry of Rocky and his underlings and associates -- this is a rewarding and surprisingly cohesive project that I will be revisiting for years to come.
332
80%
Zakk Feig
Well executed reboot
A return to the 2011 swag that started it all. Breathtaking flows throughout ~ this is vintage A$AP, and they make it sound fresh. That being said, Tyler and Skepta might have been the tape standouts.
1516
82%
Angus Walker
Harlem World
The first “Cozy Tape” is just that -- smooth, familiar, and confined to the aesthetic of the A$AP Mob, which has felt like it’s been endangered since the loss of the collective’s creative leader, A$AP Yams. The new tape has proven that the crew is still one of the finest in hip-hop, despite Rocky (especially) and Ferg taking up much of the spotlight. The other members -- Nast, Ant, and Twelvvy -- are important, though, as they each sound more “New York” than the stars of the posse, reminding listeners that the story of A$AP really does come from Harlem. The skits as well as the surprise ONYX appearance help situate the album in the chilly NYC streets, and when the sounds venture elsewhere, with a slew of Atlanta features and also to London -- where Rocky has spent much of the past few years -- it feels totally natural. The Mob has managed to build a post-regional sound and image without ever abandoning its hometown roots, and the first “Cozy Tape” is a seamless expression of how well they’ve been able to bring Harlem to the world (and vice versa). Hopefully Yams will continue to inspire the Mob to create more “Cozy Tapes.” There’s potential for a great series here.
252
User  Rating:
very hottttt
92% (226)
Rate it!
audience rating
194 VERY HOTTTTT
14 HOTTTTT
7 MEH
0 NOT FEELING IT
11 MAKE IT STOP
User Rating:
92% (226)
"Cozy Tapes Vol. 1" is the anti "Lord$ Never Worry" -- a fun, easy listen that doesn't make sacrifices to showcase all of the group's members.

Group albums and mixtapes are a bit like ensemble comedies: eclectic groups of stars are given equal screen time, plot and cohesion oftentimes take a backseat to laughs, and there's far more clunkers than classics in each category. For every "Tropic Thunder," there's two or three "Grown Ups"; for every Diplomatic Immunity, there's an Eminem Presents: The Re-Up and a DJ Khaled album. In comparison with the group's first two solo projects, ASAP Mob's debut tape as a unit, Lord$ Never Worry, was decidedly in the latter camp. Whereas Live.Love.A$AP and Trap Lord both boasted massive personality and career-defining sounds, when ASAPs Rocky and Ferg joined forces with ASAPs Nast, Twelvyy, Ant, onetime crew member Da$h, and several guests, the air was by and large let out of the balloon. 

Not so much on their follow-up, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1, which arrives a whopping four years after its predecessor. This time, they've done away with solo tracks, which made up two-thirds of LNW, and instead go for a much more familial, fraternal vibe. Instead of watering down the tape, it does the opposite. Guests and producers from out of town bring their own flavors to tracks, and the Mob falls in line, making it seem like anything but a subpar collection of NY-centric B-sides, which is basically what the first was, outside of the massive "Work." Cozy Tapes 1 is still low-stakes, but with an eclectic, episodic feel to it, it's far more fun. Juicy J is on the most Three 6-sounding cut, Wiz Khalifa's on the weed-centric song, Onyx show up on the grimy NY cut, and Key!, Madeintyo, Playboi Carti, and Lil Yachty all lend their skills to tracks that emphasize the Mob's (Rocky in particular) connection to Southern sounds. If the content isn't cohesive, the boastful mood and carefree vibe are, and while in no way touching the thematic and sonic depth of Rocky and Ferg's last albums, this tape is definitely an easier listen from start to finish.

You could very well make the complaint that what is nominally an ASAP Mob tape doesn't do enough to highlight its less-recognized members, as Lord$ certainly did. Rocky's the focal point of all but two songs, no other member has more than four appearances, and Playboi Carti (playing the unofficial member role that Da$h used to) equals Ferg with two songs apiece. Rocky hasn't really given us a serious chance to get to know Nast, Ant, or Twelvyy with full projects of their own, and that's clearly not the goal here either. But do any of these guys have half the charisma and talent that Rocky and Ferg have? If Rocky attempted a more minimal, experimental approach like he did on A.L.L.A. here, you might have a case, but he's on absolute fire as a pure rapper -- long gone are the days that he relied on tried-and-true triplet flows and other skills picked up from UGK and Three 6. He's unpredictable and nimble, challenging Tyler, The Creator to step his flow up on "Telephone Calls" and easily out-rapping him while sounding ten times more natural and unhurried in his delivery. Rocky's own creative goals have increasingly taken him off the jiggy rap road he once called his only home, but Cozy Tapes is a reminder that even if they're not always manifested in his solo music, his skills have been growing.

In an era when every rapper seems eager to sell you their mixtape or tell you that it's not a mixtape, it's especially hard to judge Cozy Tapes on the same level as any for-sale project because it so clearly fits the classic definition of a mixtape. It's messy, it's shallow, guests often come and go without establishing much of a presence beyond "Walk, walk, Gleesh walk." What it feels like, more than anything, is something ASAP Yams would've championed. Back in his Yamborghini Tumblr days, the Mob's founder and spiritual guide promoted music, both new and old, that didn't aspire to much beyond sounding swaggy and fresh-- he was always a Cam'ron guy more than a Nas or Jay Z guy. You can see his type of curatorial vision in the inclusion of Southern stars and Lil Uzi Vert, as his blog didn't seem to mind regional boundaries as long as the rappers in question didn't sound stale. Yams was famous for his outlandish boasts and finger-on-the-pulse expertise, and more so than anything the Mob's put out since Rocky's debut, Cozy Boys reflects those characteristics. I'm close to positive that this tape will have no bearing on where Rocky and Ferg go from here, but it's a nice reminder that while they're capable of writing great tracks about psychedelic experiences and psycho family members, respectively, they and their friends still have the ability to kick back, have fun, and sound great doing so.

ASAP Mob's "Cozy Tapes Vol. 1" (Review)

 
82%

Editor rating

Golden: 4 Broken: 0
Unanimous

Audience rating

226 votes
92 %

Editor Rating

82%
Patrick Lyons Yams would be proud
"Cozy Tapes Vol. 1" is exactly the type of tape that Yams would have raved about on his Tumblr. It's low-stakes, but high-reward.
342
85%
Danny Schwartz A good-ass time
The gritty and expansive sound, the bravado and humor and greyscale Uptown universe of the Mob, the effortless cool/chemistry of Rocky and his underlings and associates -- this is a rewarding and surprisingly cohesive project that I will be revisiting for years to come.
332
80%
Zakk Feig Well executed reboot
A return to the 2011 swag that started it all. Breathtaking flows throughout ~ this is vintage A$AP, and they make it sound fresh. That being said, Tyler and Skepta might have been the tape standouts.
1516
82%
Angus Walker Harlem World
The first “Cozy Tape” is just that -- smooth, familiar, and confined to the aesthetic of the A$AP Mob, which has felt like it’s been endangered since the loss of the collective’s creative leader, A$AP Yams. The new tape has proven that the crew is still one of the finest in hip-hop, despite Rocky (especially) and Ferg taking up much of the spotlight. The other members -- Nast, Ant, and Twelvvy -- are important, though, as they each sound more “New York” than the stars of the posse, reminding listeners that the story of A$AP really does come from Harlem. The skits as well as the surprise ONYX appearance help situate the album in the chilly NYC streets, and when the sounds venture elsewhere, with a slew of Atlanta features and also to London -- where Rocky has spent much of the past few years -- it feels totally natural. The Mob has managed to build a post-regional sound and image without ever abandoning its hometown roots, and the first “Cozy Tape” is a seamless expression of how well they’ve been able to bring Harlem to the world (and vice versa). Hopefully Yams will continue to inspire the Mob to create more “Cozy Tapes.” There’s potential for a great series here.
252

Audience Rating

How do you rate this album/mixtape?
User  Rating:
audience rating
194 VERY HOTTTTT
14 HOTTTTT
7 MEH
0 NOT FEELING IT
11 MAKE IT STOP
 

"Cozy Tapes Vol. 1" is the anti "Lord$ Never Worry" -- a fun, easy listen that doesn't make sacrifices to showcase all of the group's members.


Group albums and mixtapes are a bit like ensemble comedies: eclectic groups of stars are given equal screen time, plot and cohesion oftentimes take a backseat to laughs, and there's far more clunkers than classics in each category. For every "Tropic Thunder," there's two or three "Grown Ups"; for every Diplomatic Immunity, there's an Eminem Presents: The Re-Up and a DJ Khaled album. In comparison with the group's first two solo projects, ASAP Mob's debut tape as a unit, Lord$ Never Worry, was decidedly in the latter camp. Whereas Live.Love.A$AP and Trap Lord both boasted massive personality and career-defining sounds, when ASAPs Rocky and Ferg joined forces with ASAPs Nast, Twelvyy, Ant, onetime crew member Da$h, and several guests, the air was by and large let out of the balloon. 

Not so much on their follow-up, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1, which arrives a whopping four years after its predecessor. This time, they've done away with solo tracks, which made up two-thirds of LNW, and instead go for a much more familial, fraternal vibe. Instead of watering down the tape, it does the opposite. Guests and producers from out of town bring their own flavors to tracks, and the Mob falls in line, making it seem like anything but a subpar collection of NY-centric B-sides, which is basically what the first was, outside of the massive "Work." Cozy Tapes 1 is still low-stakes, but with an eclectic, episodic feel to it, it's far more fun. Juicy J is on the most Three 6-sounding cut, Wiz Khalifa's on the weed-centric song, Onyx show up on the grimy NY cut, and Key!, Madeintyo, Playboi Carti, and Lil Yachty all lend their skills to tracks that emphasize the Mob's (Rocky in particular) connection to Southern sounds. If the content isn't cohesive, the boastful mood and carefree vibe are, and while in no way touching the thematic and sonic depth of Rocky and Ferg's last albums, this tape is definitely an easier listen from start to finish.

You could very well make the complaint that what is nominally an ASAP Mob tape doesn't do enough to highlight its less-recognized members, as Lord$ certainly did. Rocky's the focal point of all but two songs, no other member has more than four appearances, and Playboi Carti (playing the unofficial member role that Da$h used to) equals Ferg with two songs apiece. Rocky hasn't really given us a serious chance to get to know Nast, Ant, or Twelvyy with full projects of their own, and that's clearly not the goal here either. But do any of these guys have half the charisma and talent that Rocky and Ferg have? If Rocky attempted a more minimal, experimental approach like he did on A.L.L.A. here, you might have a case, but he's on absolute fire as a pure rapper -- long gone are the days that he relied on tried-and-true triplet flows and other skills picked up from UGK and Three 6. He's unpredictable and nimble, challenging Tyler, The Creator to step his flow up on "Telephone Calls" and easily out-rapping him while sounding ten times more natural and unhurried in his delivery. Rocky's own creative goals have increasingly taken him off the jiggy rap road he once called his only home, but Cozy Tapes is a reminder that even if they're not always manifested in his solo music, his skills have been growing.

In an era when every rapper seems eager to sell you their mixtape or tell you that it's not a mixtape, it's especially hard to judge Cozy Tapes on the same level as any for-sale project because it so clearly fits the classic definition of a mixtape. It's messy, it's shallow, guests often come and go without establishing much of a presence beyond "Walk, walk, Gleesh walk." What it feels like, more than anything, is something ASAP Yams would've championed. Back in his Yamborghini Tumblr days, the Mob's founder and spiritual guide promoted music, both new and old, that didn't aspire to much beyond sounding swaggy and fresh-- he was always a Cam'ron guy more than a Nas or Jay Z guy. You can see his type of curatorial vision in the inclusion of Southern stars and Lil Uzi Vert, as his blog didn't seem to mind regional boundaries as long as the rappers in question didn't sound stale. Yams was famous for his outlandish boasts and finger-on-the-pulse expertise, and more so than anything the Mob's put out since Rocky's debut, Cozy Boys reflects those characteristics. I'm close to positive that this tape will have no bearing on where Rocky and Ferg go from here, but it's a nice reminder that while they're capable of writing great tracks about psychedelic experiences and psycho family members, respectively, they and their friends still have the ability to kick back, have fun, and sound great doing so.

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