Best way to sum up A$AP Rocky? Young, black, and don’t give a fuck.
Coming out of Harlem, Rocky has caught a lot of attention and praise quickly over the past few years, known for his laid back demeanor, laconic delivery, and spaced-out vibe. He became an overnight celebrity with his 2011 mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, a strong project which definitely drew me in back in the day, especially with his choice of beats, many of the most notable listens coming from the endlessly dope and somewhat reclusive NJ producer Clams Casino. Since then, Rocky has been riding a steady wave of mainstream success, with radio play, high profile collaborations, and the blowing up of the collective he’s a part of, A$AP Mob, with other artists in his camp catching shine (well, A$AP Ferg at least). Gotta respect the hustle, and he’s helped define the sound of NYC rap in the 2010s.
Last year he put out his second LP, At.Long.Last.A$AP., one album I wasn’t exactly rushing out to hear at first but once I gave it a listen, I was impressed. There’s some solid cuts to be found on the record, and a few of them have found their way to my playlists.
“Canal St.” is certainly one of them. Named after the street in Manhattan known for its bazaars, this track simmers. It’s slow, low, and somewhat menacing as Rocky speaks on his come up, mentioning how he’s gotten the last laugh in the end by showing the world that he can make it, whether in the rap game, the drug game, or anything else. The beat is wonderfully evocative, playing out like a smooth trip on lean, and Rocky is calm, confident, and collected. This track is so cool and assured it just feels like he’s got the whole damn game on lock, and this is just a victory lap. It’s one of those listens that makes you feel powerful.