10 Best A$AP Mob Songs
Suddenly, they were everywhere. A$AP Mob, the Harlem rap crew, was created by the late A$AP Yams in 2007. But they didn’t become a hip-hop household name until A$AP Rocky’s “Peso” dropped in 2011. Since then, critics and fans alike have called them the saviors of New York rap. They’ve been steadily rising and unstoppable ever since.
A$AP Rocky, who will participate in a public discussion on May 7 as part of Red Bull Music Academy Festival NYC, has had the most success. Two years after his breakthrough mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, his studio debut, Long.Live.A$AP, was released by RCA and Polo Grounds, and has since been certified gold. His next album, the highly anticipated At.Long.Last.A$AP, is supposed to drop later this month.
The most promising A$AP Mob member is A$AP Ferg, whose Trap Lord debut was one of the best albums of 2013. As a collective, A$AP Mob’s first and only mixtape is Lords Never Worry, which featured squad members Dash, Ant, Nast and Twelvyy, as well as beats by in-house producer Ty Beats. We’re still waiting for the Mob’s first studio album, which has been in the works for nearly two years.
Here are the top 10 songs on the A$AP Mob discography so far.
10. A$AP Rocky: “Purple Swag”
The Houston and DJ Screw sound is evident across the early A$AP discography, and Rocky paid them homage on “Purple Swag.” “I’m Texas trill,” he insisted, live from Harlem. It caught on quick; if rap fans weren’t already saying “swag” every two minutes, they were after they heard this. The popularity of “Purple Swag “ — not just the song, but also the video which, like Rocky, was very fashion-focused — was largely responsible for the $3 million record deal he was offered soon after it dropped. With a blink of an eye, everything shifted from purple to green.
9. A$AP Nast with Method Man: “Trillmatic”
We don’t expect much from Method Man these days. But he got some newfound juice and grit when he teamed up with young lion A$AP Nast on “Trillmatic.” The track, which was supposed to be the lead single on A$AP Mob’s never-released L.O.R.D. debut, was produced by Ty Beats and showcased the two swapping bars in 2013 like it was 1994.
8. A$AP Rocky: “Goldie”
This lead single from Rocky’s Long.Live.ASAP, his studio debut, was produced by Hit-Boy and showed him coming out fierce. He shouted out his crew and rapped about how amazing he was by rapping about how amazing his Ferrari was. He also rapped about how he has a home in every state; that was probably not true, but it sounded very cool. In the video for the song, Rocky and Yams cruised in a killer convertible through the mean streets of Paris. That’s so A$AP.
7. A$AP Rocky: “Peso”
This was not where A$AP Mob started, but it was when we all started paying attention. “Peso,” Rocky’s first official single, later appeared on his debut Live.Love.ASAP mixtape. But he already acted and rapped like the entire world knew him and the whole thing revolved around him and only him. It had a solid, dancehall-inspired hook, and Ty Beats provided an instrumental that slammed tough into smooth to create that signature Mob sound. “I be that pretty motherf*cker,” Rocky declared. Ain’t that the truth.
6. A$AP Twelvyy: “Xscape”
Twelvyy has only appeared on a few A$AP Mob tracks, and “Xscape” is his best. Like “Trillmatic,” it was supposed to appear on the Mob’s L.O.R.D. debut, but that never happened. It featured Twelvyy rapping about growing up in Harlem and waxing introspectively, thus doing something that’s not typical of A$AP Mob songs. Rocky and Ferg are superb at boasting and sounding like the coolest people in the room, but they are not very interested in telling stories that involve a range of emotions. Twelvyy did that here, and maybe one day we’ll hear more of it.
5. A$AP Rocky: “Wassup”
The early A$AP Mob style, infused with DJ Screw and cloud rap sonics, was chill and laidback. But this song leans back even further, a bonafide slow jam. That doesn’t mean Rocky rapped about his feelings or love or anything like that. Like always, he rapped about making money, rocking gold teeth and getting zonked. That’s what made it so startling when he spat this: “I ain’t talking about no money, I ain’t talking about no cars / Ain’t talking about no diamonds, ‘cause that shit’s just a façade.” Well, when you rap over a beat this slick, nobody cares if you’re contradicting yourself.
4. A$AP Rocky: “Keep It G”
“This is music for the villains.” A trippy, otherworldy beat allowed Rocky to zoom to the stars and own this deep Live.Love.ASAP track featuring verses by Chace Infinite and SpaceGhostPurrp. Produced by SpaceGhostPurrp himself, the smooth-as-silk horn sample and cloudy atmospherics contrasted well with the hard raps. The stellar combination, adding up to something like “contemplative hardness,” was what made this first significant A$AP tape so compelling.
3. A$AP Ferg with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: “Lord”
Ferg made an excellent decision linking up with Grammy Award-winning Cleveland squad Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on this gem from Trap Lord. The beat was sinister and alien, and Ferg crushed it, dramatically flipping his tempo and tone. And Bone Thugs unleashed that singular flow we’ve always loved them for, and that has clearly been an inspiration for Ferg.
2. A$AP Rocky with Main Attrakionz: “Leaf”
Rocky linked up with Main Attrakionz for this Clams Casino-produced slow-banger from Live.Love.ASAP. This was peak cloud rap, the almost-asleep, ambient, dreamy subgenre that emerged in the early 2010s, largely around the production work of Clams Casino. It was a rugged but polished statement, with Rocky rapping about being sick and tired of nearly everything under the sun while making that sound like the coolest way one could possibly feel.
1. A$AP Ferg with A$AP Rocky: “Shabba”
This second single from Ferg’s Trap Lord remains the ultimate A$AP Mob turn up track. Produced by Snugsworth, and featuring Rocky, the title is a reference to Jamaican dancehall music legend Shabba Ranks. It exploded with that same energy Shabba had and unfolded into a series of epic boasts: “eight gold rings,” “four gold chains,” “two bad bitches,” “one gold tooth.” Turn. Up.