August 28, 2012

Lords Never Worry finally drops, boasting the least Jewish name for a rap record since Nigga Please. I am of the Semitic mindset that worrying is often a supremely effective artistic technique. It forces you to quit or improve. But rap and writing are wholly different entities. Drake is the most neurotic rapper of all-time and you know that I am staunchly anti-grandma sweater. Rappers are not supposed to give a fuck or at least, they’re supposed to convince us that they don’t, while low-key laboring feverishly in the lab. See also: The Beastie Boys.

It’s too early to make a legit judgment on the A$AP crew’s comp — so take this with a grain of bath salts — but the cover feels like the most overly belabored thing about it. It looks like the art director for Confessions of Fire shooting a Children of the Corn reunion album with a Color Me Bad infatuation. Or Jodeci. I’m not sure. I approve though. Word in one-listen snap judgment Twitter circles is that this is underwhelming. I need more time, but it’s clear that this tape has the same problems that the Odd Future Volume 2 tape had. Or a modern day Infamous Mobb record. No one here has shit to say and the beats all blur into one codeine-addled slightly screwed haze. It’s cool, but you won’t remember it in six months.

Of course, plenty of great rap albums have overcome this problem. If you drop nothing but bangers, have an original flow, and/or write funny punchlines, you can eat off rap for a decade. Minimum. Let’s call that the Reggie Noble workout plan. But listening to Lords Never Worry, you tend to zone out. On a memorable album, songs that don’t make sense as singles seem congruent into the larger context. “Work” and “Bath Salts” are bangers on their own, but within Lords Never Worry, they just seem like minor highlights.

That’s not to say Lords Never Worry is a bad record. It’s definitely not. The rapping is usually solid or better. A$AP Ferg kills it throughout and his solo album should stay on Christmas wish lists. And if the beats aren’t made with the rappers in mind, they’re at least chosen like Versace silk shirts on a sale rack. There are enough inspired moments (“Bath Salts,” “Told Ya,” Underground Killa$,” “Choppas On Deck”) to more than justify its existence. But it feels like it’s missing a sense of purpose. The tracks feel like they were written solely for a need to write bangers, not from a creative spark or compulsion to make songs.  No lines or hooks immediately stand out on first listen. The most energetic performances come from outside the immediate camp, thanks to Flatbush Zombies, Gunplay, and Danny Brown. It feels like what it’s supposed to be: a stop-gap to hold over the streets until A$AP Rocky finishes his debut.

No one’s about to mistake this for Diplomatic Immunity or The Professional — even if Jim Jones pops up on a Clams Casino beat to let us know that he has frequent flyer miles. That’s sort of the problem with this tape. A$AP Mob deserve their first class seats, but they could use a little bit of the chaos of coach. There are no screaming babies. No awkward encounters. No claustrophobic tension. The attitude is pure, Alfred E. Neuman. What me worry? And this seems a little early to be taking victory laps. Worries aren’t necessarily a bad thing — they tend to linger in your memory a little longer than victories.

Download:

MP3: A$AP Mob – Coke And White Bitches: Chapter 2 (ft. A$AP Ant, Danny Brown, Fat Trel & Gunplay)
MP3: A$AP Mob – “Underground Killa$ (ft. A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Raekwon)”

ZIP: A$AP Mob – Lords Never Worry (Left-Click)

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