It has felt like forever since A$AP Rocky’s last solo album At. Long. Last. A$AP, and even though we’ve gotten Cozy Tapes 1 and 2, it’s obviously not the same as getting a solo project. I listened to At. Long. Last. A$AP only a couple times, I wasn’t as into it as I was expecting to be, but I like A$AP Rocky and I’m looking forward to hearing what TESTING is going to sound like. A$AP Rocky’s best friend, and business partner, A$AP Yams passed away a couple years ago and it is going to be interesting to see how that affects his album. In recent interviews Rocky said he was getting into experimenting with sounds and musical experiences, which has something to do with his discovery of the famous psychedelic drug, LSD, but did he decide to get into LSD because of the loss of A$AP Yams? Only he knows, let’s see what the music says.
It was pleasing to see that TESTING was 15 songs and 52 minutes long; A$AP Rocky has been away for a while, we needed a few tracks, even though he doesn’t have to cater to fans needs.
After listening to TESTING for the first time, I immediately played it again. A$AP Rocky was gone from the solo music game for 3 years, which is a long time, relatively speaking, and he did not disappoint. He delivered an engaging album that was full of unique songs and distorted sounding beats that sounded elegant, nonetheless.
A$AP Rocky opens TESTING with the first in a 15 song line of warped sounding, twisted beats. The creativity here is off the charts good. When you press play, you hear speakers being tuned, and a deep rolling bass. Rocky then comes in rapping as the beat switches to an uptempo, bass heavy, futuristic, spacey beat. Rocky gets off to a fast start, talking trash like you’d expect, letting us know he’s number one. He even throws a jab at Trump. As usual Rocky has a flow that only he can master, to add to the effect of this sweet opening song called ‘Distorted Records’.
‘A$AP Forever’, the lead single from TESTING, is the second song, and this isn’t a song by song review but it was up next. This is an important song because it is definitely the shout out song to not only A$AP Yams, but the other friends and family Rocky’s lost. He raps about being with his girl and he’s telling her about A$AP and how he’s been living and what he’s accomplished. He says he put New York on the map. Then he ends his verse by saying “I pray to God I don’t overdose”, which is the way he lost Yams, and how so many other artists have died. Kid Cudi has an inspiring verse in this song, letting the fans know that he’s free as a bird. And he gives us some hints on how he was able to get out of the mind state he was in. That’s really good to hear, and if Kid Cudi’s verses on KIDS SEE GHOSTS with Kanye West are as good as this one, then we are in for a treat. (I’m sure they’ll be better).
For the rest of the album Rocky continues to kill it and impress; with every bar and every beat. This album was rumoured to be coming out at the end of 2017 but he waited, fixed it up, made it how he wanted it to sound, and gave us something extraordinary.
To me, TESTING is about growing and exploring new ideas and believing in your own ideas. It’s about changing and accepting change and understanding that life happens, you will lose people but if you cared about them, they’re always with you. Realizing that gave A$AP Rocky the confidence to try and experiment with new sounding music, it gave him the confidence to wait until the album was perfect to his standards and released it on the same day as Pusha T. It did sound like the loss of A$AP Yams really influenced this album in an extremely positive way.
TESTING was an unusual name for an A$AP Rocky album, compared to his previous album titles. It’s obvious that he’s testing out new beat styles and he figured out what he liked. He might be anxious to see how fans like the album, too, but with DAYTONA coming out, and then Drake releasing a new song yesterday as well, there’s a chance the masses wont get around to TESTING until after the weekend. But I’m sure he’s unbothered either way.
There are a few cool features on TESTING: Moby, T.I, and Kid Cudi on ‘A$AP Forever’; FKA twigs on ‘Fukk sleep’; Skepta on ‘Praise The Lord (Da Shine)’; Kodak Black on ‘Drop$’, Kodak’s verse is over the phone from jail! Juicy J is featured on ‘Gunz n Butter’, French Montana on ‘Brotha Man’, BlocBoy JB on ‘OG Beeper’, and lastly Frank Ocean on the final song ‘Purity’.
I would rate TESTING a 9/10, and I will listen to it a bunch more times. There’s so many new albums set to come out soon. So much new music to try to listen to at once!