10. "Fashion Killa"
“And Versace: got a lot, but she may never wear it/But she save it so our babies will be flyer than their parents” -A$AP Rocky
“Fashion Killa” goes straight to Rocky's favorite topics, women and clothes, creating a girl obsessed with the finest fabrics and bougiest brand names. Borrowing Kanye's flow for a “Celebration”-era line, Rocky hopes to stash his newest threads as a capsule collection for the future. Long after he grows out of his current line, his kids will be fly in vintage Versace from old Rakim. Some parents keep pictures and blankets; Rocky passes down Raf Simons.
“I see dead people, I need dead people/Lord Pretty Flacko, b****, I behead people/Kneel and kiss the ring, all hail the king” -A$AP Rocky
On his Sixth Sense flow, Rocky uses the famous line to mention the sheer mass of rappers with now-dead careers in his wake. Like a medieval king, he piles the bodies of slain enemies around his throne, “beheading” fellow musicians and setting himself at the top. In order to prove his talent and rise above the masses, Rocky elects himself king and most continue to kill to always stay in charge.
8. "PMW (All I Really Need)"
“Now do A through Z for a G” -Schoolboy Q
Now that Schoolboy's career has taken off, the same people that used to diss him will follow his every command. Because they will gladly do anything for money, he can buy those around him and make them do whatever, “from A to Z,” that he pleases. At the same time, Q know that women will fight for a chance to meet him, pushing their inhibitions to have one chance at the “G.”
“Don’t view me as no conscious cat/this ain’t no conscious rap/F*** the conscious crap/my Mac’ll push your conscience back” -A$AP Rocky
The biggest deathblow to a rapper's mainstream career is the label “conscious.” Rocky is well aware of the consequences, even though he tells the sad story of poverty exactly how it is. Instead of trying to push a philosophical view of his struggle and lose his appeal, Rocky would rather put a gun to your head and make you feel what he felt. Conscious is nothing when his path to fame was littered with shell casings, murders, and scenes that no amount of world peace dreams could fix.
6. "Ghetto Symphony"
“Rolling down the lonely mile, phony smile/Warrants, police on me now, still touring” -Gunplay
The Gunplay on Long.Live.A$AP sounds differently than his MMG image and usual attitude. With the rapper facing nearly a life sentence for assault, the finality of his life seems to have hit him. While strolling down death row, the “lonely mile” to the chair or the last mile of free pavement, Gunplay realizes that he can only continue to try to live while waiting for warrants to catch up to him. The rest of his verse brings up final meals and personal battles, making Gunplay seem like a defeated, but resistant man.
5. "F**kin' Problems"
“Girl, I'm Kendrick Lamar/AKA Benz is to me just a car” -Kendrick Lamar
Never take Kendrick at face value: while living the life of a famous rapper, he remains the scholar that landed him wide success and appeal. Other rappers front with a new rented Benz to look nice, but Kendrick can afford to buy much better cars. While you sport the old Mercedes, he owns something on a different, V-12 level. Still, boasting about possessions is nothing to someone more concerned about telling a story of life's meaning and struggles. You may flip over Lamar's newest whip, but he would rather talk life, not money.
4. "Wild for the Night"
“Benjamin 3 stack, it’s a fact, she lives in my lap/On my OutKast, daddy fat, b****es on my sack” -A$AP Rocky
With Big Boi releasing the new Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors and André 3000 talking about a new OutKast album, shouting out the legends is a great move for the young Rocky. While tipping a stripper $3,000 in hundreds (Benjamins) at a club, Rocky calls up André Benjamin's nickname, 3 stacks, to keep the dances coming. By blending André-inspired stories of life with rhymes matching Big Boi's typically party-themed sweats, Rocky is trying to live the life that he watched his idols live. Completing it, Rocky uses Big Boi's nickname, Daddy Fat Stacks, to place himself as the heir to the massive gap in rap left behind after the last OutKast album.
“Painting vivid pictures, call me Basquiat Picasso” -A$AP Rocky
In a stroke of brilliance, Rocky manages to show his deep understanding of the art world and flew serious artistic muscles. Jean-Michel Basquiat was a neo-expressionist painter famous for his graffiti and urban-inspired works, while Picasso was the infamous cubist painter of distorted, bizarre scenes. Rocky's music is a mix of the old and the new – classic boom-bap and Houston screw blended with fringe style and rap's mainstream – that is like a combination of Basquiat and Picasso. The result is the deep wordplay and street-wise slang that makes the rapper one of a kind.
2. "1 Train"
“Ain't never been no rapper this cold since 2Pac was froze/And thawed out for spa date at a Coachella show” -Yelawolf
Yelawolf shines among a pack of talent, referencing the recent 2pac “hologram” during the 2012 Coachella festival. The rapper's image was revived and used for a live show, bringing the murdered Pac off “ice” and back to life for a short time. Like 2pac, Yelawolf is “cold,” a good enough rapper to stand beside the late Shakur and be worthy of a post-mortem tribute. Yelawolf is still far from reaching Pac's level of talent and stardom, but bringing rhymes straight from Eminem's book does not hurt.
“Now stay in line, don't step on cracks/So you break her back, I'm talking 'bout your mom” -A$AP Rocky
Rocky uses a triple entendre to tell a real version of the hood life: everything is dangerous. While playing “step on a crack, break your mother's back,” he warns kids to take protecting their mothers seriously. At the same time, stepping on a “crack” in the fragile neighborhood can anger the wrong people, sending your family to a funeral home to see you dead for a foolish mistake. Finally, avoiding crack cocaine dealing keeps your mom happy and you safe, a better route than the one Rocky took before rap. The advice checks out.