A$AP Rocky's upcoming album is a riddle wrapped in an enigma.
Those who have been paying attention know that A$AP Rocky’s new album is coming. The New York rapper has been taking his time to perfect the project, a testament to his visionary status. A man like Rocky is not about to get on Instagram and rattle off the entire tracklist. True, he can’t resist the urge of posting an occasional snippet. He’s only human. Yet there’s a certain mystique associated with A$AP’s ringleader that pervades his forthcoming project.
His rollout has at once in-process and pending. A trifecta of un-mixed songs felt more like artistic statements than official singles. Perhaps that’s why he deemed them “for testing purposes only.” Yet even that felt calculated, given the album’s frequent visual motifs.
Behold, the promotional singles:
Strangely enough, it feels like Rocky’s forthcoming album has yielded more questions than answers. For that reason, we’re here to compile an extensive list of everything we know. To be honest, Rocky’s secrecy has proven sound. Yet beneath the veil of mystery lies the truth. Let us commence.
2 Days Ago. The Rollout has begun. With an eerie, lo-fi visual, Rocky suggests a promising blend of dark imagery and an even darker banger. We welcome this direction.
At the beginning of February, Rocky took to a Berlin stage with some magnificent news. His album was “done,” for all intents and purposes. “"A lot of ya'll don't know but the only reason I came to Berlin was to finish my album," he explained. "And I just finished." While assumptions tend to make asses out of you and I alike, perhaps it’s safe to conclude that “done,” in this instance, can be understood as truth. That means tracking, mixing, mastering, sequencing, and the like. If that is indeed the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the project sooner than later.
Perhaps a youthful A$AP Rocky used to binge watch the 1993 Fox hit “The Incredible Crash Dummies.” Perhaps he simply enjoyed their strange anthropomorphism. Either way, the imagery clearly left a lasting effect on the rapper. While the project has yet to officially land a title, consider that both Testing and Dummie were both heavily featured on the artwork of the promotional singles.
Not only that, but Rocky has also adorned his studio with sexually suggestive dummies; perhaps this signifies a more twisted and deranged creative direction. Perhaps he’s merely young at heart. Either way, expect Crash Test Dummies to feature prominently in the album’s artwork.
Rocky’s secrecy regarding his new album is frustrating, yet respectable. He really hasn’t given us much to work with, but that’s not to say he’s been utterly mum’s the word. In October of 2017, Rocky spoke with GQ about his process, which seemed to suggest a more experimental approach. As you read the following excerpt, take note of the word “test” in the opening sentence.
“People are scared to test new sounds, so they go with what’s current ’cause it’s the easy thing to do. The top 100 songs sound a certain way. People cater more to that because it’s a bigger demographic behind that, or it’s a guaranteed demographic behind that. I prefer to experiment and have my crowd grow with me and to reach new crowds. I don’t just rap—I actually make music. That’s why it takes time.”
Not exactly breaking news here, but something for the true geeks among us. According to that same GQ cover story, the majority of this project was recorded in London. “London has a cool sound. I always record in London,” says Rocky. “But I needed to get away. London’s my second home.” It’s hard to say whether or not UK influences will seep into his craft, but he did contribute to Skepta’s Vicious EP. Let’s be real though - locale and geography can play a pivotal role in influencing one’s creative direction. Rocky also later confirmed that parts of the album were recorded in Berlin.
As secretive as Rocky has been, it’s safe to say that no rapper can resist teasing new music. The allure of sharing one’s craft is simply too strong to resist. Thus, we do have some previews on deck. Remember, it’s impossible to confirm whether or not any of these cuts will appear on the forthcoming album. Still, it does signify a glimpse into his headspace, albeit a brief one.
First, Rocky hit Yams Day audiences with a first hand glimpse at one song from his upcoming project. Footage can be seen below, and bars have been provided for your perusal:
"First things first, I done heard the worst things/ Like if I'm, in your top 10, mines better be the first name/ Out your mouth or even worst sayin'/ Lil n****s is my offsprings/ They deserve a n***a first name, middle name, third name/ From another planet birthplace/ Cloud 9, hello earthlings”
There’s also this low key banger, with the potential title of “Gang:”
Perhaps the following snippets signify a much-desired return to the “chopped and screwed” sound of vintage Rocky: