Evan Nabavian knows the real secret of the Flaming Moe.

If you’re a rapper trying to be famous, you face a grueling existence. After you drop your groundbreaking mixtape, you smile and joke your way through daily press appearances, release songs according to a regimented promo schedule, dutifully avoid having a Charles Hamilton moment, and watch the ebb and flow of social media metrics as you work toward your bar mitzvah day. The date is set, pushed back, then set again. There’s a listening session, a release party, and then finally the album leaks and the line is wrapped around J&R Music World so that Geraldine can give you a hug after you sign her copy of Attention Deficit. You then face judgement from SoundScan and the peanut gallery.

ASAP Rocky played the game well, owing little to cosigns and more to the machinations of ASAP Yams. LiveLoveA$AP cemented him as the next big thing, whereupon he parlayed a televised Rihanna ass-grab into two great singles and a debut album that was just good enough. The outcome? My barometer for mainstream relevance today is my friend Alex, who retweets Kim Kardashian and reveres Lady Gaga the way you’re supposed to revere Bob Marley. Alex went to see ASAP Rocky at the Best Buy Theater last year, so by my standards, Rocky won and is now famous.

Unlike other starry-eyed rappers of the day, ASAP Rocky has radio records to spare. “Same Bitch” with Trey Songz would have made a fine single but instead turned up a month after the album leaked. It’s a redeeming entry in the pretty boy rap category because Rocky has revitalized the New York banger with a little help from Southern hi-hats – essentially, the opposite of what Fat Joe did with DJ Khaled. Fame affords ASAP Rocky a premium selection of groupies and on this track, he scoffs at them like he’s choosing which thoroughbred racehorse to buy.

The city has been hurting for music like this and ASAP Rocky is a welcome champion of the cause. The last accessible street record out of New York was “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley” and I had to do a lot of soul searching when I realized I enjoyed a Lloyd Banks song.

MP3: A$AP Rocky & Trey Songz – “Same Bitch

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!