With the deep, dark, and delicious Trap Lord, A$AP Ferg enters the A$AP Mob’s immersive murder music hall of fame, having crafted an album as out there and attractive as A$AP Rocky’s official debut Long.Live.A$AP. Big difference here is that while Rocky fits in perfectly with kinetic and weird folks like Danny Brown, Ferg comes off as a tough, cold Bun B or even Notorious B.I.G.-type character, making music that should only be listened to once night falls and cooking up stern, infectious thug anthems like the posse cut “Work.” With Jim Jonsin on production and Waka Flocka Flame firing like a machine gun dropped on the floor, Ferg’s the certain, mighty anchor of highlight “Murda Something.” When it comes to that Biggie sense of nostalgia, the great “Shabba” honors the Dons of yesterday with some clues as to whose posters hung on the young Ferg’s wall (“Eight gold rings, like I’m Shabba, Shabba Ranks/Four gold chains like I’m Shabba, Shabba Ranks”). The mighty begins to bleed into the mystical once Bone Thugs-N-Harmony join for the choice track “Lord,” and yes, that’s the brilliant hire of the old-school team Onyx for “Fuck Out My Face” which is perfectly staffed with the additions of B Real and Aston Matthews. These easily connectable numbers are surrounded by more challenging tracks as “4:02” suggests a porno soundtrack that’s been screwed and chopped by the Dark Lord himself, while “Make a Scene” is a triumphant stab at the Southern funk-rap of Outkast that drops a tab on its tongue about midpoint before bleeding away like an over shaken Polaroid picture. Juggling Masonic symbols, Golden Age hip-hop cassettes, and loaded glocks with ease, the rapper is an excellent tour guide through this warped landscape of thrills and chills, and even if Rocky remains the A$AP Mob’s most obvious and outgoing choice, there’s an argument to be made that the more interesting one is Ferg, a Trap Lord if there ever was one.
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