After A$AP Rocky's recent rise to hip hop stardom, like many rappers before him we see the release of the obligatory 'posse' album from his associates, A$AP Mob, entitled Lord$ Never Worry. I am always sceptical when it comes to these releases, and rightly so. Don't get me wrong, I love D12 and 1017 Brick Squad as much as the next guy, but it seems a bit like cheating to me. Would anyone be that bothered about this mixtape if it wasn't for the merits of Rocky and his herculean work ethic spreading the A$AP name? My guess is no but maybe it is a good thing that one breakthrough artist can pave the way for more recognition for the rappers near him.
A$AP Rocky's songs stand out on this release, though it is difficult to tell whether this is because of his rapping or the fact he probably gets first dibs when it comes to beats. 'Thuggin' Noise', produced by Silky Johnson, marries the unlikely duo of accordion and 808 style beats, but it really does work even though while reading this you are probably very perplexed about the combination. The song's ending chant of "Rocky where you been? I've been thuggin' with my team" will no doubt be sung countless times at A$AP concerts from now on, and I like that the A$AP Mob are not afraid to coin a decent hook, however cheesy it may be.
A$AP Nast's 'Black Mane' veers into sothern rap territory,, with the rattling drum beats and lyrics which fall quite simply on the beats. For all the stigmatism southern rap has received I am still a defender of its merits and it is refreshing to catch every word an A$APian is saying, as you'll be hard pressed to find another one on this release either due to overbearing beats or lyrics which are just too hard for you to catch. A$AP Ferg's 'Choppas on Deck' is a nice change in mood for the mixtape as a much more uplifting song, more like something I would expect from someone like Ghostpoet, all be it Ferg is much less refined vocally. Surprisingly my favourite off Lord$ Never Worry, 'Jay Reed', does not actually contain any of the headline players or a huge guest appearance just A$AP Twelvyy and Da$h rapping over an extremely euphonious and twee beat by P on the Boards. Twelvvy throws in a stunning Tarantino reference rapping "Mr. Orange leave your dog drowning in the reservoir." Lines like that just can not be ignored.
Flatbush zombies take the very amiable 'Bath Salts' and trample it into the ground with their frantic, frothing-at-the-mouth-with-rage Odd Future styled bars which do the song no favours at all. While I am very impressed they can fit such a large quantity of syllables into such a small space of time, it does not appeal to me the same way thrash metal doesn't; it just seems like the quantity of words are more important than quality in this instance.
Production wise it is no surprise that Clams Casino and AraabMuzik soar over the many other producers who throw their hat into the ring on this release. 'Y.N.R.E' is a strong track on the mixtape with AraabMuzik’s trademark production chops easily audible throughout, married with A$AP Twelvyy's double tracked bars weaving in and out of the rhythm. If I'm honest he may be my favourite A$APian, Sorry Rocky! Clams' one track on this release, 'Freeze', sees A$AP Rocky do his down-tuned vocals thing again, and although it annoys some people, I like the aesthetic. One thing's for sure, it works much better than it does for Tyler, the Creator.
Lord$ Never Worry doesn't stray that far from the hip hop lyrical archetype of raps about young ladies and drugs with such inspired titles as 'Coke and White Bitches' which sounds like a standard Tuesday night in for the A$AP crew. Then again what do you really expect? At the end of the day you really have to commend lyrics as boastful and upfront as "I like to sniff white in my off-white palace." On the aforementioned song it is safe to say Danny Brown's guest spot blows poor A$AP Ant out of the water and for me it even tops Raekwon’s brief appearance on 'Underground Killa$'. It's not that Brown has better flow it's just that his voice is so hypnotically colourful it makes you really stop whatever you are doing and pay attention.
The sad truth is, though eventful, this mixtape left no real lasting impression on me. Next to A$AP Rocky's solo effort the whole thing seems a bit tame really. It's a bit of a tenuous simile, but this mixtape is the equivalent to hosting a large event, getting Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to write your menu and do the shopping at all the local delis and greengrocers, and then getting the cheapest caterer possible to cook for your guests. Reading the tracklisting for Lord$ Never Worry got me extremely excited, and in reality the whole thing just lacks consistency in quality and has quite a few tedious moments. As a marketing exercise for A$AP Rocky's new album I would give this thing a 10/10, (the timing just couldn't be better could it?), but as a stand alone mixtape this is pretty limited as to what it can offer apart from the odd interesting beat and the occasional impressive word play by team A$AP.