"LingLiveA$AP"While a slew of fresh faces stole headlines last year, few captured the attention of pontiffs like A$AP Rocky did. The 24-year-old, New York native crafted an indelible style, one that seamlessly blends grizzled street life with the effervescent glow of the pop light. On the surface it may seem that A$AP is bound by money, weed and women – and let’s not fool ourselves he relies heavily on those tropes throughout – but with a closer examination it’s clear that he’s capable of so much more. Here are five choice lyrics that prove that this green horn has a bright future ahead.

Long Live A$AP

Long Live A$APA$AP comes right out the gate with a hardened street narrative. He exchanges details for punchlines, yet still manages to craft an engaging rags to riches tale. He takes time out to argue a code of ethics, which can be received many different ways. The parallels between good and bad, god and the devil echo throughout. Sanctified or not it’s a striking juxtaposition worth an honest listen: [LISTEN]

Where they shoot without a purpose, services n’ hearses
Kids who ain’t deserve it, can’t survive a thing, you’re worthless

Hell feat. Santigold

HellThere are elements to A$AP’s verses that suggest that he’s constantly wrestling with the parallels brought on by his newfound glory. One moment he’s glorifying the endless array of indulgences, and in the next he’s expressing a deep sense of guilt – perhaps a symptom of too much too fast. Regardless, the stark contrast fuels his creativity to an enigmatic level. Santigold adds a  touch of glamour, softening A$AP’s hard angle approach: [LISTEN]

Riding by the rules I’ll abide by it soon
See the situation we sophisticated goons
I know you live by the gun then you die by it too

1 Train feat. Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T., Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar & Yelawolf

1 TrainA sign of a good leader is knowing when to take charge, and when to step back and let others do what they do best. A$AP does just that on this new school showcase, avoiding what could have been another 4, 3, 2, 1 disaster. When there are this many personalities on one track a leader, or at least the lead in, needs to lay a proper foundation for others to build upon. Yelawolf and Danny Brown go back to back, and warrant numerous playbacks: [LISTEN]

Transition to a Lamborghini from a Mustang
Drugs slang in the drug game with the hustling (I know one thing)
Anything is better than that 1 train

Suddenly

Suddenly One of the knocks on A$AP is his inability to incorporate different lyrical styles into one. Here he answers his naysayers with a contemplative, meticulously crafted, slow-groover – an arrow to the eye of his critics. In contrast, though, he makes sure to remind listeners that he’s not on the conscious tip. Rather he’s defiant of it, doing what comes natural to him, labels and niches be damned: [LISTEN]

Don’t view me as no conscious cat, this ain’t no conscious rap
Fuck the conscious crap, my mac’ll push your conscience back
I do this for my culture, penny, nickels in the sofa

Phoenix

PhoenixWith a title like “Phoenix” it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this song is about. Unfortunately it flounders under A$AP’s refusal to explore one cohesive narrative. He talks about overcoming obstacles, being reborn, but he doesn’t give any specifics. It was a conscious choice to avoid that angle, but he needs to offer more if he plans on taking that next step: [LISTEN]

Jesus Christ never lied, still was crucified
That’s why I never judge another nigga
Life’s a bitch, but that bitch in love with other niggas