Ask Slava P about hockey right now and you will get cross-checked.
One day, in the not too distant future, we’ll look back on the A$AP Mob with fond memory. As your read this, there are no doubt children in high-school who are digesting every song in A$AP Rocky’s catalog, pouring over each lyric and quote with the same youthful vigor as the previous generation did to Curtis Jackson and G-Unit, Cam’ron and Dipset, and the generation before to Wu-Tang. Whether we like it or not, millennials have placed the generational pin in A$AP Mob, allowing them to be their soundtrack throughout the day as they scroll through their tumblrs and watch their favorite MTV Teen Mom take it in the ass on their tablet devices.
However far removed you are from the high-school experience or however dead you think it may be due to the advent of new technologies and mediums with which music can be consumed, the thrill of showing your friends a new piece of art that you feel has been discovered by you and you alone remains constant. And while the cliques undoubtedly remain, there’s some kind of intangible about the A$AP Mob that makes the listener feel “cooler” for knowing Rocky and his supporting cast. It’s not as bugged-out and purposefully rebellious as Odd Future – nor is it as derivative and painfully nostalgic as Pro Era, and as far as the rapping goes it’s certainly not any “better” if you approach it from a technical standpoint, but A$AP Mob has somehow found a way to toe the line between decadent and accessible — to be everything to everyone.
I say this to preface A$AP Ferg’s Remix for “Work.” While the song itself may leave you feeling unfulfilled, it acts as the perfect cross-section for what exactly “cool” is in today’s rap music landscape. It shines a spotlight on the ever-eroding line-in-the-sand that separates the mainstream from the underground. First and foremost, it acts as a sort of coming-out party for the aforementioned Ferg, who while acting as the Juelz to Rocky’s Cam’ron, embraces his figurative second fiddle by playing the hell of it in a Coogi sweater before blind-siding you with it and taking your Credit Card information.
French Montana, the walking personification of the phrase “style over substance” mean-mugs us while donning a steampunk ski-mask, daring us to point out the fact that he does very little rhyming, but does it with such aplomb that you can’t help but smile and shake your head with admiration. Trinidad James, the rap-game equivalent of the Vine app (in that he’s a seemingly unneeded fixture that has risen to popularity just through the copious amount of times you see him used by other people) even manages to show up with 16 bars, during which he’s able to only repeat two of them back to back, so congratulations to him on that new achievement. Even Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky, two of the best on-paper rappers on this track seemingly fade into the background in the hopes of giving Fergenstein more shine on his remix — the former bounces around dressed like a sailor and the latter pokes fun at himself by taking pride in being called a faggot while simultaneously receiving a face-full of lipstick from his lady friends, a juxtaposition that would make T.S Eliot himself blush.
Any or all of these artists may not be your cup of tea if you were around for the genesis of any of the rap-groups I mentioned in my introduction. The important thing to understand is that for someone coming of age with hip-hop music right now, this video will become a touchstone for them. It’s a juvenile and visceral heap of fun, assisted by four guys who embody the terms “juvenile” and “visceral” in their own special ways. At this point, most people are well aware of A$AP Yams’ diabolical plan to breed viralality through social media channels for Rocky to great success, but now that the secret is out it will be interesting to see how they keep the momentum going for an artist like Ferg. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch them try.