CD Reviews

LongLiveA$AP, Folarin, Trouble Man: Heavy is The Head

Anthemic Rap

A$AP Rocky, LongLiveA$AP (Sony)

The hype around Harlem’s A$AP Rocky has been enormous heading into his debut album, and meeting fan demand figured to be daunting. With that, LongLiveA$AP is a strong debut that will likely please his rabid fans. Unlike other cult-rap icons, there is no insightfulness to A$AP Rocky so you better understand him. His draw is his pompous anthems with magnetic appeal. His braggadocio throbs on the shit-talking “LVL” and trunk-rattling “Goldie.” The Drake, 2 Chainz- and Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Fucking Problems” takes arrogance to another level. The album falls into several stale pockets, however, where everything sounds the same. But aside from those minor hiccups, LongLiveA$AP proves to be a successful debut. ★★★☆☆

What We’re Buying

1. Dropkick Murphys, Signed & Sealed in Blood
2. Black Veil Brides, Wretched & Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones
3. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city
4. The Game, Jesus Piece
5. Mumford & Sons, Babel
6. Hollywood Undead, Notes From the Underground
7. 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
8. Imagine Dragons, Night Visions
9. T.I., Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head
10. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox

According to sales at Zia Record Exchange on 4503 W. Sahara Ave., Jan. 7-13.


Wale, Folarin (Maybach Music Group)

Since signing to Maybach Music Group, the clever DMV wordsmith knows how to make music for everyone. He keeps it sexy for the ladies (“Bad”), rowdy for the fellas (“Flat Out”) and reminds doubters of his lyrical prowess (“Georgetown Press”). The Scarface collaboration, “Limitless” and the Nottz-produced “Skool Daze” find Wale at his most introspective and prove that even though he can make the club jump, he’s most comfortable crafting insightful narratives. If there’s a knock on Folarin it’s that it shifts gears so suddenly that you can never ease into listening. Other than that, it’s another victory lap for Wale as his star rises. ★★★★☆

Street Rap

T.I., Trouble Man: Heavy is The Head (Atlantic)

Although T.I. has become more like Bill Cosby thanks to his hit reality series, his eighth studio album comes as a reminder that Clifford Harris still has his ghetto pass. On Trouble Man, T.I. often tries to be like the T.I. of old. It works on the trash-talking “Addresses” and the defiant “Trap Back Jumpin.” However, when he takes a stab at a Top 40 hit, T.I. falters. The half-singing rhymes on “Cruisin’” and the effort to tear the club up on the Lil Wayne-assisted “Ball” fall flat. All is redeemed when he rhymes alongside Andre 3000 on “Sorry,” where they half-heartedly apologize for not pleasing everyone. Eight albums down and T.I. isn’t going anywhere. ★★★☆☆


Upcoming albums on Andreas’ radar …

FEB. 5: Joe Budden steps out of reality TV with No Love Lost and chances are there will be more ears listening than ever before. FEB. 12: LL Cool J drops Authentic Hip Hop, but is he still capable of creating raw raps? We’ll find out.

Suggested Next Read

Bad Men

Bad Men

By Drew Grant

On Sunday night, as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were making history as the first two women to successfully elbow out a male host for the Golden Globes, audiences took in an unprecedented display of girl power. With Lena Dunham winning for Best Actress in a Comedy, Girls taking Best Comedy, and Julianne Moore winning for Game Change, we trumpeted a new era … one in which women could not only captivate an audience but do so with an unlikable protagonist. (Hannah Horvath is no Tony Soprano, but she can be plenty unappealing at times.)