When it comes to Harlem’s most exquisitely well-turned-out crew since Dispet, the delegation of labour has been relatively well-established. Built around the manifesto of “Always Strive And Prosper,” the A$AP Mob have remained at the forefront ever since the release of Rocky’s Live.Love.Asap way back when in 2011. With Rocky acting as its main exponent and the dearly missed Yams as its spiritual guru, this ingrained hierarchy hasn’t been particularly conducive to new stars blossoming from within its ranks. Blessed with more natural charisma than most, the household name of Rocky has cast a lumbering shadow that few have successfully outran. Barring the mob-affiliated Playboi Carti, countless promising MC’s have been inadvertently left to languish on the sidelines rather than making the same strides into the mainstream as their superstar leader. But in spite of taking a vastly different route from Carti, if any man serves as ASAP Mob’s underboss, it’s the “Hood Pope” himself ASAP Ferg. Criminally underrated since the jump, Rocky’s high-school friend has served as the capo to his godfather since the group rose to prominence. Equally capable of flexing his impeccable style or asserting his street credentials depending on what’s called for, the man behind Trap Lord, Still Striving and a host of other projects seldom fails to impress whether he’s popping up as a featured artist or taking centerstage.

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?
Rocky – Christopher Jue/Getty Images, Ferg – Gregory Shamus/Getty Images 

No stranger to rapping alongside Flacko, what merits further investigation is if Ferg’s position as Rocky’s right hand is entirely fair or if he’s more than capable of outdoing him. As a way to accurately explore this hypothesis, we’ve turned them from co-conspirators into competitors on wax to determine who’s got the best of these exchanges across their shared discography. While there’s innumerable tracks to pick from, we’ve opted to go for what we believe to be the ten most essential from either Ferg or Rocky’s projects and the Mob’s joint efforts.  Now that the preamble and disclaimers have been laid out, let’s delve in…


“Kissin Pink”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

In an interview with Complex from 2012, Rocky discussed the role of “Kissin’ Pink” and the higher purpose it served. Despite its inclusion on what’s now viewed as his star-making project, Rocky believed that this LiveLoveA$AP classic was more about his closest confidant.

“I felt like ‘Kissin’ Pink’ was necessary. ‘Kissin’ Pink’ was natural. ‘Kissin’ Pink’ was a real classic. It just introduced the world to Ferg, and it introduced them to our other styles that we got,” he told the publication at the time.

Honourable as that may be, it’s not a fair summation of what actually materializes over the track’s runtime. While he may be taking a break from the intoxicants, few know how to embody the wooziness of that chopped and screwed sound better than Rocky and he completely steals the show here. Sure, Ferg’s verse may have no shortage of character on offer– “Moving like it’s turtle time feeling like the world is mine”– but Flacko accomplishes more with his 12 bars and a minimalist chorus than his partner does with 16.

Winner: Rocky

Finest Bars:

What’s the mothafuckin’ problem? Me and my n****s mob

Throwing up gang signs, fuck a goon and a goblin

Gold grill shining, don’t ask me how I got ’em

Styrofoam cups with jolly ranchers at the bottom

“Yamborghini High”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Considering there’s no shortage of talented but overlooked artists in ASAP Mob”s ranks, long-form posse cuts can be a hard-fought battle for supremacy. Complete with verses from A$AP Ant & Nast not to mention a chief inspiration in Juicy J, it was always going to take something truly special to come out on top of this one. Although Rocky’s hook propels the whole track forward, his verse seems far more run-of-the-mill and unspecified than Ferg’s effort. Made all the more rewarding by his eccentric flow, the opening portion of Ferg’s allotted time sticks more stringently to the subject matter and gives praise to his fallen comrade for bringing the Mob to unforeseen heights. From then on out, he delivers an innately fun yet boastful verse that would make even his most fervent critic take a step back and reconsider their position.

Winner: Ferg

Finest Bars:

I’m on a Yamborghini high, flyin’ high through the sky, hey yo

Yammy’s vision got us rich, catch a n***a flyin’ by in a Lambo

Sippin’ the Henny got me gone, now I’m gettin’ in my zone, hey yo

R.I.P. to my n***a, the gallon goin’ to my dome, hey yo

This how it feel to be rich, fuckin’ bitches in the mix, yeah

Where the chiquitas is at? Yamborghini with the shits, yeah

“Pups”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

For all that we’re only at the midway point of 2019, you’ll be hard pushed to hear a track where two rappers sound like they’re having the time of their life more than Rocky & Ferg on “Pups.” An exercise in reminding the world of what granted you that fame and fortune in the first place, the innate chemistry of this duo is on full display across this rework of DMX’s classic “Get At Me Dog.” While fans clamour for a remix with the Dark Man X himself, it’s impossible to crown a victor on this track due to how much they compliment one another on this track. A stalemate, but a joyous one at that.

Winner: Tie.

Finest Bars:

“Back when I was rentin’ beds, I was still catchin’ head, If I was bussin’ dishes, I’d be still fuckin’ bitches, Boof pack, gift wrapped just like Christmas, Gone for a minute, now I’m back, did you miss me?” – Rocky

“They tried to hit us like Huey with the armpits up, but we swerved through the bullets, get your targets up. Hood Pope up in this bitch, in Trap Lord we trust” – Ferg

“Shabba”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

If any track truly heralded the arrival of A$AP Ferg, it was the murky banger that is “Shabba.” A homage to the gold-drenched Jamaican dancehall legend, Rocky does a superb job on the feature and gives no shortage of quotables (“Probably bumping R. Kelly sipping Cristal, so you know the whole world getting pissed on”) but he was not to be outdone by Fergenstein on this occasion. For the uninitiated, this track acted as the perfect beginner’s guide to the Trap Lord and the irrepressible personality that radiates from his bars when he’s at the top of his game. A true coming-out party that still sounds fresh and vital six years later, all the gold-plated spoils go to Ferg this time around.

Winner: Ferg

Finest Bars:

I was broke last week but today be a new day
Mothafuckas like cavities, cause them ni***s be too fake
Walk in this bitch with the new Wang, looking like Liu Kang
With a blonde bitch that wanna snoop cane
Then she get the Batman like Bruce Wayne (Master Bruce)
I be mobbing with the A, ’til my whole body decay
I don’t give a fuck what you say, my whole team like a parade

“Max Julien”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Depending on who you ask, the ethereal sound of “Max Julien” was either helmed by ASAP Ty Beats or the Mob’s one-time friend turned nemesis in the Raider Klan’s SpaceghostPurpp. But no matter who was its architect, this rarity from Funk Flex’s 2013 release Who You Mad At? Me Or Yourself? is a stellar document of A$AP Mob’s phase one. Filled with that unmistakable self-confidence that was Flacko’s stock-and-trade for years, this The Mack-referencing number may feature an adequate verse from Ferg but he’s very much playing second fiddle to Rocky here.

Winner: Rocky

Finest Bars:

Riding ’round, I’m getting it, two chains on like I’m Tity

Versace shades like I’m Biggie, them twenties, fifties and benjis

These bitches all in my business, I mack ’em then I act stingy

I never slip with my pimping, when I holla come and get with me

“Underground Killa$”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

As their first official group mixtape, 2012’s Lord$ Never Worry proved to the world that the Mob were far more than one trick ponies. Littered with highlights across its 18-track duration, Ferg would have no shortage of attention-grabbing moments to shine on “Choppas On Deck” and “Persian Wine” to name just a couple. In the case of “Underground Killa$” however, Ferg finds himself blending into the background while Rocky takes pole position. As he declares Flacko to be a “young king,” the star of the show is made abundantly clear from Raekwon’s intro and Rocky’s showing cements it as they veer into the land of old school boom bap a la Mobb Deep, Gang Starr or vintage Wu. It’s no small feat to hold your own in the vicinity of the chef himself, but it’s one that Rocky more than pulls off and manages to make it feel like an impromptu passing of the torch.

Winner: Rocky

Finest Bars:

My uncle Snoop told me keep the biscuit on me

Said they got the scoop on me and they listen on me

Plus my bougie-ass neighbors keep the bitching on me

And the nosy bitch next door, call the district on me

And they snitching on me, self-esteem went missing on me

Chip off my shoulder, you can get it off me

“The Mattress”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

A no-nonsense return to the rough-and-tumble days that made them, “The Mattress” is another example of Rocky and Ferg’s lyrical interplay at its most potent. As proven, this scenario can sometimes allow Ferg’s bombastic delivery to overcome Flacko’s patented nonchalance but it’s that matter-of-factness that clinches it for Rocky on this occasion. Although Ferg held it down with those frenzied ad-libs, Rocky is in the pocket on this booming Digital Nas beat and his flow is almost custom-built for it.

Winner: Rocky

Finest Bars:

School of hard knocks, graduated with my Masters

See the kids jumpin’ on the mattress

Came from the gutter where the trash is

We was sleepin’ on the pissy mattress

Guess you could blame it on our inner-city habits

“East Coast Remix”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Comprised of Ferg, Dave East, Snoop, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, French Montana and Rocky, placing this “East Coast Remix” on his second mixtape Still Striving was a calculated risk on the Trap Lord’s part. Filled with no shortage of expertly crafted bars and the obligatory rhyming acrobatics from Busta, what makes this track all the more notable is that Ferg’s gamble pays off and spawned one of the finest verses of his career. A blistering outing that takes absolutely no prisoners, the “East Coast Remix” stands as a testament to what Ferg is capable of when operating at the top of his game.

Winner: Ferg

Finest Bars:

Don’t do it for the haters, I do it for the bitches

My flow Al-Qaeda, I kill rap niggas

Y’all Now and Laters, sweet ass-n***s

Soon as you get famous, they wanna ass-kiss (muah)

Only thing that I’m missing is Hov verse (JAY-Z)

I get a feeling, they want the old Ferg

“Cocaine Castle”, “Hood Pope” Ferg

Got a question to ask you: do you know Ferg?

“Work Remix”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Another murderer’s row worth of MCs and yet another exemplary display from Ferg on the “Work Remix.” While the sighting of Trinidad James may seem bizarre with hindsight, the Trap Lord proves why he’s such an indispensable part of the A$AP Mob as he fends off the advances of ScHoolboy Q, French and Rocky. The flow, the punchlines and the undeniable swagger– it’s all there and all equates to a W for Ferg.

Winner: Ferg

Finest Bars:

Kinda silly though, but I’m lyrical

Bet I put him in the dirt with the penny loafs

No tint though, on my window

So you see a nigga shinin’ in the Benzo

Ballin’, got me feelin’ like Jim Jones, I’m a pimp though

No limp though, couldn’t copy my style in Kinkos

Put in work, run up on a killer, then I put him in the dirt

Run up in the building, semi gon’ squirt

That’s what a nigga get when they gettin’ on my nerves

“FYBR”

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Teamed with A$AP Twelvyy– who is the true victor of this exchange–  A$AP Ant, Key! and Playboi Carti, “FYBR (First Year Being Rich)” is one of many exhilarating posse cuts on The Cozy Tapes Vol 2 but the finer offering of just two tracks that incorporate Rocky and Ferg on the same beat. Considering just how throwaway Fergs’ verse on “Get The Bag” is, it only seemed right to enlist this track as a way to even the playing field. But even with this precaution, Rocky still peels away from “FYBR” with the victory. While it’s neither MC’s finest hour, Flacko talent for deftly riding any beat allows him to ultimately triumph over his longtime rhyming partner.

Winner: Rocky

Finest Bars:

N***s hittin’ bricks, then they shittin’ bricks

Fuck your hit and miss, n***s missing hits

Illegitimate at hitting licks

Gold neck full of hidden gems, in the gym, like I’m gettin’ ripped

My rhetoric, n***a let it drip, a half a billion by 36

The Winner

ASAP Rocky Vs ASAP Ferg: Who Had The Better Verse?

Although the more acclaimed Rocky managed to pull out the victory, the most important finding that this deep dive revealed is that the gap between them is far narrower than sales or notoriety would have led you to believe. While he may be regarded as the second-in-command, give Ferg the right beat and he’ll give any of his contemporaries a run for their money. With no shortage of talent and energy at his disposal, the deciding factor that keeps Rocky ahead of his childhood friend is the versatility of his flow and that trademark composure which took him from drug-dealing in Harlem to an icon in the making.

Final Score

ASAP Rocky: 5/10

ASAP Ferg: 4/10

Tie: 1/10

What do you think? Cast your vote and sound off in the comments below!