A$AP Rocky is a name that may already be very familiar to some but soon will be known by all. He comes straight out of Harlem, N.Y. with his A$AP Crew, and together they are helping to bring back the sound of gritty New York hip-hop that in recent years has been overshadowed by hip-hop heavyweights from the “Dirty South” (including cities such as Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans) and the ever-expanding genre of pop-rap. A$AP Rocky was born to be a star. His mother named him after her favorite rapper, hip-hop pioneer Rakim “The God.” With a namesake like that, it is safe to say that he has some big shoes to fill, and so far he’s doing a pretty good job of building a buzz for himself.
Rocky had a big year in 2011. His latest mixtape, “LiveLoveA$AP,” was released on Halloween and gained him accolades from music site Pitchfork, a difficult task for an up-and-coming rapper. If that was not enough, he also recently inked a rumored seven-figure deal with major record label RCA Records. He joins the RCA roster with a Who’s Who of music industry heavyweights including Usher, Britney Spears and the late Whitney Houston.
It may only be February but Rocky has already kicked off 2012 in style. He is supporting “LiveLoveA$AP” with a cross-country tour that stopped in Philadelphia at the Theatre Of The Living Arts Feb. 8. Rocky took to the stage for a packed crowd that was hungry not just for his rhymes but also for his presence. This crowd was insatiable from the moment he first stepped on the stage until the moment he said his final goodnight. They were ready to recite every lyric from every song Rocky performed. They definitely weren’t ready for the surprises Rocky had in store. At almost every stop on his tour, Rocky has introduced some surprise guests. Philadelphia was no exception. He brought out some of Philadelphia’s hometown royalty: Young Chris and Freeway. Both artists took the crowd to a seemingly unreachable level.
That level, however, was surpassed near the conclusion of the show when the beat for Rocky’s hit song “Peso” started blaring through the speakers. The crowd went berserk as the A$AP Crew joined Rocky onstage. They squirted water out of bottles into the audience as the crowd moshed, crowd surfed, and jumped up and down, screaming the lyrics to the song at the top of their lungs. Rocky said that he felt such a real and true connection with the audience that he actually went into the pit while performing and crowd surfed on a few occasions.
A$AP Rocky has only begun to crack into the mainstream of the music industry, but if the past few months are any indication, he will continue to ascend until he reaches a status only fitting of his namesake. Who knows, in a few years people may be calling him A$AP Rocky “The God.”
“LiveLoveA$AP” is available for download at A$AP Rocky’s website, www.asapmob.com.