LongLiveA$AP Review

I have waited for months and months and then more months for this album, and let me say, it is a banger. This album is going to be heard nonstop in 2013, and you better be ready. But if I have to choose one word to describe it for me; disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good album. A very solid debut from A$AP, but simply doesn’t have the strength of LiveLoveA$AP.

The first three tracks on LongLive get off to a good start. The title track would fit on the mixtape, with a great beat and smart lyrics. A$AP spits with the dexterity that gets him love, and it feels like he’s back, unfortunately this is one of the best tracks on the joint. The hook is classic Rocky, and it’s a great track. Then it’s followed up with “Goldie,” the single that we’ve been hearing and loving for months, fine. PMW is solid as well, with lines from Schoolboy Q, who I love, but from there the album starts to melt together. The rest of the songs start to fade together, and A$AP continually talking about his new lifestyle and how well he’s doing gets old quickly.

Everyone is going to love this album. Critics are already all over him, and fans are loving his hype and antics, and this will be commercially a huge success as a result. But I never did love A$AP Rocky, I loved his crew, his history, the lifestyle he was promoting and the thoughts he was having. Tracks like “Leaf” and “Demon” made LiveLove as strong as it was, and nothing on this album has the same effect. Sure “Phoenix” may have him questioning himself and describing emotions, but it all feels phony surrounded with his Kanye like obsession with expensive clothing. I mean, goddamn, we get that you wear Givenchy. Simply wearing Givenchy isn’t cool, what was cool before was wearing it and not giving a fuck, doing it effortlessly. And that’s the main issue with this album.

In my opinion A$AP is nervous about the hype surrounding him. He feels all the pressure of following up such a hyped mixtape and isn’t performing as well as he was before under the stress. Just look at how many times he pushed the release date for this album. The whole mood of this album is one of almost loneliness. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but that’s what I took from it. Part of LiveLove’s appeal was the whole “I love my New York crew, but I can be introspective too” this seems to shout, “I love what I’m doing, I love me, I love those homies too. But look I’m as good as everyone says.” He just is trying too hard to prove himself, and it’s inauthentic to me.

I still like this album a whole lot more than most other new hip hope. Longlive is a great track, 1train is absolutely incredible, Goldie is goldie, but I got too excited by the wait and the predecessor, so overall I was let down.

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New Music: “The Flower of Life” Cocaine 80s

DAMN THIS IS FIRE! I heard a few singles from this mixtape over the past couple months, but as I’m spinning it now I realize just how good this is. Flying back to Boston from LA tomorrow, and I know what I’ll be spinning. Cocaine 80s is comprised of No I.D., Common, Steve Wyreman, Rob Kinelski, Kevin Randolph, James Fauntleroy and Makeba and previous albums include The Pursuit, Ghost Lady and Express OG. The download link below includes those joints as well. http://www.mediafire.com/?xzjt2j5b11pz4fa

New Balance Numeric

With their new line “Numeric” New Balance is entering the skateboarding industry. Their announcement has been met with a wide range of opinions, and while some have been very positive from New Balance enthusiasts others have been a little more lackluster, to put it gently. Skaters spent years finding their own solutions to their problems, whether it be slicing Vans silhouettes into half cabs, or building their own boards from roller skate wheels and plywood, and eventually began starting their own companies such as Element, Plan B, Enjoi which fulfilled the needs of other skaters and found success through the niche market no one else was interested in. Now skateboarding means big bucks, with the largest evidence being Nike’s emergence with “Nike SB.” Many skaters argue that Nike entered the industry throwing cash at the best skaters, stealing them from grassroots companies, and developed shoes that have only decreased in quality as their presence has grown. Now these original companies have been struggling financially, and skaters find themselves with little way to fight back.

And now New Balance, long seen by many as the antithesis of style, has entered the scene. Why should this be any different?

The answer is simple. While New Balance is a corporation whose motive is making money, they know how to reach a niche market successfully. The best experts to ask about this? Runners. While the low end sneakers are far from high quality, their “true” running shoes hit the highest standards of the market. Virtually all serious runners won’t argue over New Balance’s superiority to Nike. Within their community, New Balance is widely known for the quality of their construction, fit, and technology. If New Balance approaches the skate industry as they do the running one, they will have one hell of a skate shoe.

So far, New Balance has been taking the right steps. It’s clear that any approach to this market from them would be unpopular, but they have at least intrigued many critics by direction they’ve taken thus far. This was primarily a result of the announcement they’d be working closely with Black Box distribution. Well known in the skate community for being genuine and original, this was the best choice they could have made, and a good introduction. At the Long Beach Trade Show they announced their first rider, and showed the first samples of their product, and a lot of people are thinking their may be some potential here. But all this means nothing until the shoe is on the foot, and people are giving them a try.

The biggest obstacle Numeric faces is the preconceived ideas the skate community has about New Balance, and they’ve approached the situation as well as they can, at least now it seems that some are willing to try them out, and we’ll see if the shoe can speak for itself. Personally I feel like it really is shitty that big name brands are overpowering the originals, but with a capitalistic economy it’s pretty much inevitable, and I’m excited that we can hopefully expect higher quality from this name. More images and links are available after the jump, let me know your opinion in the comments section, I’d love to hear from more serious skaters than I.

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