by Trevor Jones
First Impressions of A$AP Rocky’s, TESTING
A$AP Rocky has finally returned from his three year hiatus with the release of his 3rd LP, TESTING. Before a comprehensive review, I’m just gonna jot down my first impressions of the long awaited project:
Very gritty song. Rocky’s echoey verses and hook give a very solid opening to TESTING. This production definitely sets the tone for an abstract and avant-garde album.
A$AP Forever (feat. Moby, T.I. & Kid Cudi)
This song was already incredible, but with a verse from Kid Cudi, adlibs from T.I., and a little extra detail in the production, it got a whole lot better.
This may be the hardest song on the album. On top of the trumpet sample, “Tony Tone” includes some funky and unique adlibs from Puff Daddy. Very rich production.
F**k Sleep (ft. FKA Twigs)
A dark beat with trap influences. This track has a particularly catchy hook and FKA Twigs provides some really pretty vocals that go really well with the overall vibe.
Praise The Lord (Da Shine) (ft. Skepta)
The beat is very appealing and unique. Skepta’s flow and Rocky’s verses are also impeccable. This will definitely be bumped throughout summer 2018.
Calldrops (ft. Kodak Black)
I was a little nervous when I saw Kodak’s name featured on this song but it surprised me. Rocky slows it down with a simple guitar ballad while he shows off his surprisingly good voice.
This track includes some distorted vocals from Rocky as he raps over a synthy 80s style beat. AWGE members Playboi Carti and Smookie Margiela provide a few interesting verses.
Gunz N Butter (feat. Juicy J)
Rocky continues to utilize amazing samples to enrich this album’s distinct sound.
Brotha Man (feat. French Montana)
Again, I was skeptical when I saw that French Montana would be on this song, although his contribution is surprisingly good. The track has a jazzy noir vibe to it. Although this is my least favorite track, it is still enjoyable.
This track features a strange piano synth that repeats throughout. BlocBoy JB’s adlibs throughout make this track very catchy.
The Kids Turned Out Fine
Like “Calldrops”, this track includes a guitar progression but this time, there are some underlying 808s and Rocky provides a few verses along with his underrated singing. The track has some trippy aspects as it continually changes tempo.
Another slow track that has a trippy sample repeat throughout as Rocky lays down some smooth verses. Devonté Hynes provides a good contribution.
All the slow tracks in this album include guitars. About two minutes in, some bassy production kicks in. About a minute later, there’s a complete beat-switch and like “Brotha Man”, it has a jazzy sound. Overall, this track effectively packs in so many different sounds into one five minute song.
Black Tux, White Collar
Impeccable production from Clams Casino give this song a dark, yet captivating sound. This track is on par with other Rocky x CC tracks like “Lvls” and “Angels.”
Purity (feat. Frank Ocean)
For years, I’ve been waiting for a proper Frank ocean and Rocky collaboration and this album-closer does not disappoint. Frank shows off his dynamic talent as he raps and sings over a sample of Lauryn Hill’s “ I Gotta Find a Piece of Mind.” Rocky also offers an incredibly personal verse.
Expect a full review of TESTING soon.