Chosen as the next member to blow up out of A$AP Mob, Harlem’s A$AP Ferg’s debut album, Trap Lord, is a hard-hitting work venturing outside the New York aesthetic. Ferg trades the hazy hypnotic feel carefully curated for Mobmate A$AP Rocky for a more menacing, aggressive approach. It falls in between the lyrical/conceptual traditions of his hometown New York and the production trends of the dominant movements of trap and drill.
Just like Rocky’s past works, the album is carefully curated and hyper-focused with a uniform sound running from the first to the last track. His style is easily discernible and it makes the production, from a perspective of looking at the whole album, the biggest strength of the album. What’s even more astonishing is the album was produced by committee with several producers contributing to the project. This speaks of A$AP Yams’ (who is the behind-the-scenes director of A$AP Mob) ability to put together a sonic vision.
A good portion of the producers employ exotic artificial middle-eastern sounding loops. It provides the perfect intensity and aura to compliment the trap principles that ground the album. Once the hi-hats and snares smash with the loops, the listener is taken to an ominous world with violence sonically implied. It’s minimalistic music using the tried-and-true formula of a percussion loop and a sample. With this limited approach, the production is nothing special but effective in getting a listener’s head nodding.
Ferg’s street persona and thug rhetoric carry well in his flow. Ferg employs a choppy cadence that stretches the last syllable of every line, which hits emphatically in junction with heavy percussion. His flow still carries that vicious ’90s New York mentality coming off as hard as the next street artist. Ultimately, though, Ferg lacks the personality and charisma that Rocky carries, but it’s hidden in the straightforward and unabashed aggression he imposes on the listener.
Overall, the album is an immersive listening experience that can suck you in if you listen to it in its entirety. There are no tracks that standout that could crossover to other genre charts, though ‘Work (Remix)’ was released as a single earlier this year. This album is meant for hardcore trap fans and hip-hop aficionados. For others it’ll be a challenging album to get into.
For more on A$AP Ferg, visit www.asapmob.com.