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A$AP Ferg

fergTRAP LORD
RCA

As the second rapper to emerge from the Harlem hip hop collective A$AP Mob, A$AP Ferg’s debut album Trap Lord reveals a promising if not fully-formed artist. Just as breakout star A$AP Rocky’s style is heavily influenced by sounds from well beyond New York’s borders, notably Houston hip hop legends like UGK and DJ Screw, Ferg has his own regional inspirations, with a melodic flow that owes a debt to Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

The artists differ in notable ways though, with Ferg lacking Rocky’s flash, style and pop sensibilities. At the same time, he has a menacing intensity that Rocky can’t match, making Trap Lord a dark but enjoyable album. Hood Pope is the standout song, as Ferg offsets a threatening, low-end heavy beat and grim street-tale lyrics with a choir-like singsong delivery.

Ferg pays tribute to acts that clearly influenced him during his formative years with guest spots – Bone Thugs turn up on Lord, while Onyx and Cypress Hill’s B-Real appear on the hard-hitting Fuck Out My Face. It’s not a coincidence that these songs are also two of Trap Lord’s strongest, as the guests make the most of the high profile slots to deliver verses that are on-par with their early-to-mid ‘90s heydays.

Trap Lord isn’t quite the arrival announcement that A$AP Rocky’s 2012 debut Long.Live.A$AP was, although it establishes that Rocky isn’t the only member of the A$AP Mob worth keeping an eye on.

JOSHUA HAYES

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