Have you ever tried running “Asap Rocky” through Google's search engine? One of the first search suggestions offered is “asap rocky feels underrated." This makes perfect sense seeing as how A$AP Rocky has made it very clear that he isn’t a fan of his name frequenting the "overrated" sections of rap nerd lists. While there are worse categories for a rap star to find themselves in, Rocky once asked in a Twitter rant, “How Sway?” - and promised to make his detractors eat their words.
It's difficult to say whether or not Rocky’s life goals to level up have come to fruition in 2017. At this point in his career, a year that includes killing multiple guest appearances, signing deals with a sneaker behemoth like Under Armour, releasing capsule collections with brands like Guess, stunting in campaign ads for high-end designer labels like Dior, and working as MTV Labs’ creative director somehow doesn't seem too far out of the norm for him.
Rocky did, however, deliver Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: Too Cozy alongside his crew. Though a group effort, the sequel to last year’s Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1: Friends can be considered the first full-length project delivered by Rocky, who shows up on 12 of the album's 17 tracks, since blessing fans with his sophomore set At. Long. Last .ASAP. in the spring of 2015. Too Cozy has a hoard of guest appearances from Gucci Mane, Jaden Smith, Joey Bada$$, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Chief Keef, Schoolboy Q and Frank Ocean, and features the Rocky single "RAF," which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
The album also serves as proof that A$AP Rocky truly is one of hip hop’s most underrated.
The focus is normally on the waves he and his crew make on the fashion front, but it should be understood that A$AP Rocky can rap. On “Frat Boyz,” a Too Cozy highlight, Rocky rides the Hit-Boy and Southside production alongside Playboi Carti and Big Sean, who has built a reputation for murdering his peers on their own beats. Victims of Sean’s lethal guest verses have included just about everybody, from Drake to Kendrick Lamar, yet Rocky finds himself keeping up with the Detroit rhyme-slinger over the course of the almost four-minute song. Elsewhere on the album, he's often heard lyrically coasting over the diverse selection of beats, like on “Perry Ave,” “Bahamas” and “Feels So Good,” when he raps:
I set the bar, don't give 'em a break / The bar's too high to give it a raise / A flow, like God, so give him a raise / Stones I got, I get 'em appraised / Draw my Glock and get him erased / Flow you got, I give it away
By Billboard's standards A$AP Rocky may not have the proper amount of hits to support a claim that he's the leading genre’s most overlooked contributor, but he does make fire music. His catalog houses several noteworthy mixtapes, Grammy-nominated albums and cult classic-esque anthems. On display throughout Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: Too Cozy is the “Goldie” rapper’s knack for selecting a jiggy assortment of instrumentals, while delivering an intriguingly cohesive body of work. Without ever feeling out of place, the menacing production of “Get the Bag,” the warped sonics of posse-cut "What Happens," the Atlanta-flavored "Please Shut Up," the thumping “Black Card” and groovy "Walk On Water" are all present on the album. Even the Too Cozy skits are lit.
One feat A$AP Rocky has managed to accomplish that many rap stars have failed at is putting their crew on. Almost immediately after the “Peso” rapper burst on the rap scene, he alerted us that he was squadded up with the A$AP Mob. The Harlem-bred rapper's unique and creative collective, comprised of the late A$AP Yams, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Bari and several other key members and close affiliates, has dropped hot records and hit collabs with some of the most popular apparel, sneaker, and tech brands. A la JAY-Z with his The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album, Rocky presents Too Cozy as a platform for the homies to show out, especially his little homies like Smooky Margielaa and his latest protege Playboi Carti. Both young artists make several noteworthy appearances throughout Too Cozy, showcasing their potential to carry the A$AP torch.
In a league that includes MVPs like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, A$AP Rocky has consistently put all-star types of numbers on the board. He raps well, makes quality music, puts on for his team and makes shmoney moves. Rocky may not top many rap nerd lists of favorite rappers, but he is sitting cozy at the top of his own budding empire. Having carved out his own lane at the intersection of music and fashion, the moves the multifaceted creative makes shake up both industries. Although lists are debated every day, lists compiled by Forbes are rarely questioned. A$AP Rocky, has landed not only on Forbes' Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Acts list, but also on the cover of the magazine’s fifth annual 30 under 30 issue, which means the Harlem native is making some pretty noteworthy business moves, as well as killing it on the music and fashion fronts. If he delivers on his promise, we should have new reasons to believe in A$AP Rocky very soon.