A$AP Rocky - Testing
On this his third studio album A$AP is going through what seems like a major change. The dark New York rapper has always been a shade more artistic than his contemporaries, but He still managed to make rap his main focus. Since then however the "show" A$AP puts on has become more of the focus than his music. This new album Testing is a bit of a moment for A$AP, his features have been a bit gutless and his appearances on stuff like the Lana Del Rey album have felt more like a gimmick than anything else. He's becomes the indie set's go to rapper, which is...kinda shit. One of the first singles from the record was "A$AP Forever REMIX" featuring Moby, T.I. and Kid Cudi samples Moby's Porcelain, actually sample is a bit generous because most of the song is just reused with A$AP and his cohorts rapping over it. It's the kind of choice that is bold in it's audactiy, but the finished product serves as little more than a "hey remember this Moby song we all loved? we're rapping over it now.". There seems to be a whole lot of sizzle to this album but very little steak. Rocky's conclusions are often base level and generic, relying on his personality to push the album forward rather than his lyrical skill. Frank Ocean makes two appearances on "Purity" and "Bortha Man" and in a lot of ways Testing feels like Rocky's version of a Frank Ocean record. He tries to be experimental and deep with murky soundscapes, but A$AP knows what is cool He doesn't necessarily know how to make what's cool.
Don't get me wrong there are points on this record where it truly does bang. A$AP manages to find space for both club bangers and sweeter tunes like "Kids Turned Out Fine" even if sometimes He feels like He is leaning to far into Kid Cudi territory. "Changes" feels like his big emotionally charged empowerment tune, but his delivery and the lyrics make the whole thing feel like a shadow of the song He is trying to make. "Black Tux, White Collar" is this confused electronic mess that closes with a space singal going out, that only boosts the lameness of the whole damn thing. You finally get your full dose of Frank Ocean on the last track "Purity" and it might as well be a Frank track with a little does of A$AP. The albums 52 minute rum time never gets away from you though and it all flows rather beautifully. This is an album that is not going to set the world on fire but it shows that A$AP does have some real emotional depth even if He emulates it from Frank Ocean. Testing despite all it's artistically driven lead up manages to be a pretty decent album with plenty of stuff you'll be hearing all summer, not to shabby.
7.1 out of 10