A$AP Rocky doesn’t fit in a box. In fact, he is so outside the box that it becomes something special. His latest project Testing is the perfect example of this. In a sort of avant-garde style, he utilizes features, beats, and samples in ways that very few rappers have done yet. The young rapper from Harlem is in a sense coloring all over the page while the rest of the industry is still in the lines. Let’s dive into this album!
Any time that Rocky puts out an album or single, you can almost guarantee that he will step up to the plate. He did just that with Testing. The vocals are extremely well done. Rocky is a lyricist and that shows when it comes to his rhyming capability. “Gunz N Butter” has some of the most politically charged verses and yet also includes rapidly fired off rhymic sentences. The best example being:
“The President a a-hole (f@#k off) / Prayin’ for a JFK, all we got was KKK / AKA AK that you target not from Target but from Walmart / Then it’s a-ok”
Rocky also utilizes features in ways that we haven’t seen yet from the rest of the industry. On “OG Beeper”, he brings on BlocBoy JB solely for the purpose of ad-libs. With “CALLDROPS”, Rocky also includes a verse from Kodak Black that was recorded from a call to him while he is serving his prison sentence (Free Kodak).
This was the aspect of the album that was somewhat weak for me. Not going to lie – the beats on “Praise Da Lord”, “Tony Tone”, “Buckshots”, and “Kids Turned Out Fine” were fantastic. The assortment of producers who developed those beats seriously killed it. But for the rest of the album, many of them just felt a little boring and unspecial. However, the one beat that I felt was most unique was “OG Beeper”, with its funky electric, almost video game-like sound.
Rocky set the tone for the project the second “Distorted Records” starts. With its scratchy static sound, he immediately makes clear that this will not be your average rap album. He creates a set of songs that are unique and different, each in their own way. With a combination of bouts of singing and rap verses, Rocky establishes this pattern of back-and-forth between tracks filled with hard verses and others consisting mainly of soft vocals. Rocky and his team of producers wanted something outside of the box. I am not even sure if it’s even near the box.
“Kids Turned Out Fine”, “Black Tux, White Collar”, “OG Beeper”, and “CALLDROPS” plus that combo of Skepta and Rocky on “Praise Da Lord” is just too damn good.
The album isn’t perfect, but the uniqueness is. It is different and extremely well produced. A$AP Rocky demonstrates his pure talent throughout and shows how he is not like any other rapper out there. In my mind Testing is a:
Now go watch some World Cup soccer and always “Create, explore, expand, conquer”.