After nearly a three-year layoff, ASAP Rocky dropped his third album TESTING. The main producers on the new album are Flacko himself as well as Hector Delgado. Rocky has been down all different avenues since the last release of his album. He’s been on his grind as a fashion connoisseur as he inked a deal with Under Armour a little less than a year ago. Also, The Harlem rapper was putting his clique on with Cozy Tapes: Vol. 1 Friends and Cozy Tapes: Vol. 2: Too Cozy. Finally, he has been influential in the rise of one of the game’s best young talents, Playboi Carti.
All the while, Rocky’s fans have been patiently waiting. There was news of his album finishing a few days ago via Rocky’s Instagram, but no one believed it would drop soon. A simple tweet is all it took to get his fans going.
The hit song is “ASAP Forever” as many have been listening to it for a while. One can say they saw this coming from Rocky, in terms of the album, but the fact of the matter is the fashion mogul moves at his own frequency. Before ALLA’s release, Lord Flacko dropped Multiply before making fans starve a bit more until he dropped that album. Oddly enough that song didn’t even make it to that album so it was surprising to see “ASAP Forever” on this one. Nonetheless, ASAP showed why he is one of the most tantalizing artists and here is a look at the best tracks (notice I didn’t say all of them).
“Distorted Records” was a quick warm-up for Rocky as he was debriefing us on what he has been up to. He’s still his same self as he is about getting money, women, and being belligerent to the fullest extent. This is a song you can’t listen to at low volumes as the bass is something serious. As Rocky said in the song, “big bass make the floor shake.”
TI came on “ASAP Forever” with a brief speech to set the table like what Birdman and Diddy do these days. Kid Cudi and the beat of the song meshed well as there were some evangelical vibes going on there.
“Tony Tone” had an older sound to it as it sounded like something that he would have dropped when he first entered the game with LIVE.LOVE.ASAP. He went full Harlem on the track as the beat is something that can only be tied back to his roots. The constant saying of “YOU HEEEEARD” is another giveaway as well.
“Praise The Lord” featured London rap icon Skepta. This track was mainly about him as he was the sole producer of this track. Rocky effortlessly graced the track, but Skepta had an unusual flow that might open new avenues for rappers that aren’t good at riding beats. He rapped with a cadence that had a pause in between every three words or so. It will be weird on the first listen because his verse mixes in with the hook, but you will catch yourself nodding to his flow.
Kodak Black was featured on “CALLDROPS” and this track was a little trippy. It was nothing like I had expected as I thought the song would consist of some turn up music. This is a song you just float through life listening to as Rocky is singing in a way that could put you in a trance. Kodak sings his verse from a phone in jail as he is locked up. I would say this was a trap melody as you can feel the pain of the incarcerated Florida rapper.
“Buck Shots” has gun shots going off in the background as the beat is strategically made with static. The production on this song will probably be overlooked, but Kelvin Krash was really in his bag on it. Rocky, Carti, and Smooky Margielaa each rap with a nonchalant demeanor. This is personally one of my favorite tracks as I listened to it three times in a row after the first spin.
BlocBoy JB on “OG Beeper” was something special as his adlibs and quick hitting lines were needed. Rocky was painting a picture of what life was like before fame for him. Basically, he was talking about the life of being a dope boy.
Every now and again the Harlem rapper will slow it down with a song that sounds like it could have been dropped during the hippie era. That’s what “Changes” sounded like to me at first. After the long hook, he came out the gates like Andre 3000 did on UGK’s “International Players Anthem.” No, I am serious he said the same words before adding his own twist. Lord Jodye showed a different side of himself that we aren’t used to as he opened up about things that float around in his subconscious. Rocky was vulnerable in this one and this is a song many should relate to as we all have something deeper affecting us.
Carti revealed himself for a second time on this album only this time he floated around in the distance as a hype man. “Black Tux, White Collar” had five different producers and you can hear how each one influenced the final product of this track. Rocky matched the number of producers as he rapped different styles.
Rocky ended the album smoothly with Frank Ocean on “Purity.” The song samples an old Lauryn Hill song as well for good measure. Ocean surprised me with his rapping skills as I knew he could rap, but he went in. He rapped about a lot between freeing his mind to eggs (yes the food) to the idea of purity. It was a nice way to conclude a well-put-together project.
Best Feature: Frank Ocean (on “Purity”)
Best Tracks: “Praise The Lord”, “Buck Shots”, “Black Tux, White Collar”
Album Rating: 8.9 out of 10. Rocky is best known for his unapologetic demeanor, effortless style, and versatility in the music realm. The production on this album is immaculate.
Overall, TESTING exemplifies Flacko’s versatility as an artist as he is one of the most underrated in that regard. Three-year hiatuses make people forget though so it will be interesting to see how long we have to wait for album number four. Still, the album shows that Rocky is stop on top of his craft.