The hottest name in rap's long-delayed debut teems with a creative edge and an appeal that extends beyond the genre's core fan base.
If Macklemore (whose album The Heist received a rave review from us last month) is an ambassador of conscious rap, A$AP Rocky is, pure and simple, his antithesis. Born Rakim Mayers, the Harlem-based MC shot to fame when he self-released a mixtape called Live.Love.A$AP, in 2011. It was full of blatant promotion of self-aggrandisement, drug use and general moral decay. But despite that the breakout mixtape, containing his hit singles Peso and Purple Swag, generated a buzz in the rap/hip hop circuit. It was lauded by music critics as ''a marvel of contemporary rap music'', and a ''triumph of immaculate taste'' _ the latter is especially true considering the fact that he handpicked lesser known indie producers such as Clams Casino and SpaceGhostPurrp to work with rather than artists such as, say, Kanye West.
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