It’s freezing out, so time for some coldest winter raps, and A$AP Twelvyy‘s contribution fits quite nicely.
Hailing from Harlem,Twelvyy is a member of A$AP Mob, the sprawling NYC rap collective which boasts major members such as A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, and is known for their low and moody take on hip-hop. Twelvyy got his start with the Mob right from its inception, guesting on projects such as Rocky’s acclaimed debut 2011 mixtape LIVE.LOVE.A$AP and dropping a steady stream of singles over the years. This past August he put out his debut record, simply called 12.
The record has got its moments, and there’s a few cuts I’ve been vibing on. 12 rolls deep, with melodic, languid production which suits Twelvyy’s narratives about the gritty streets of New York, the blocks where gentrification hasn’t reached, and the hoods of Harlem and Castle Hill in the Bronx where he came of age. Twelvyy’s got this particular high-pitched drawl that works, sounding like a real stick-up kid from the block who’s out to get his while he can.
“Strapped” feels like the soundtrack as you ride through the hood, bass booming, your seat back and your head low, with your piece right up under the seat. Anything can happen out here. The beat looms and slowly comes into being, kicking into gear with a nice knock and some pretty ethereal background vocals. I like how Twelvyy starts the song off with a quiet, almost meditative mantra about hustling, only to be brought back to hell when his boy calls on him to bring the real shit: “Show these niggas, like a movie!” Something about that moment which, while a bit goofy, definitely gets me amped for what comes next. And the song ending with a calm, rising note, feeling like Twelvyy made it through the game and he’s chilling on a beach somewhere…or not and he’s above, is a nice touch as well.