Rakim Mayers, better known by the stage name A$AP Rocky, is a Harlem born rapper turned producer turned turned actor turned model turned fashion designer, he’s some what of a Swiss army knife that in 2017 has the whole world in his hands, and it appears that he has a chip on his shoulder to turn to greatness this year.
Pretty Flacko has been rapping since his teenage years but it was in 2007 he joined the A$AP Mob, and by 2011 he had dropped 2 mixtapes, the lesser know ‘Deep Purple’ which included one of his breakout tracks ‘Purple Swag’ and later in 2011 he dropped ‘Live. Love. ASAP’ which gained A$AP a lot of attention for the right reasons. Following the success of the mixtapes, A$AP would sign to a record label and drop 2 albums which one of which went platinum and the other gold and both debuted at number 1. On top of all the solo success Flacko managed to be part of two projects with the A$AP Mob, at the young age of 28 with an album due out this year it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. But you may be asking yourself can he really be New York’s greatest of all time? NYC has a truly huge talent pool, but for the time being let’s ignore that and look at A$AP’s skills, after all if he’s good enough it shouldn’t matter who else is from The Big Apple.
As it stands as of right now A$AP Rocky is a possible top 10 current rappers in the world with the creativity and ability to be top 5 with a new album, it might not sound like a lot but rap now is at an all time peak, top 10 is no easy task. As the years have passed Rocky has become more and more creative and more skilled with every music drop. His most popular work is without a doubt ‘Fuckin Problems’ which is a track Rocky now hates because he knows that he’s got better music that goes underappreciated, for instance the likes of ‘Set’ and ‘Money Man’ on the recent ‘Cozy Tapes’ album by the A$AP Mob. at one point I felt that his most recent studio album ‘At. Long. Last. ASAP’ was a great album with a few fillers, but in recent times I’ve realised those songs I once called fillers are actually an evolved Flacko who has made an album full of brilliant songs, each with an individual sound and style, the same can be said with his ‘Cosy Tapes’ work, basically what I’m trying to say is that A$AP is getting better and better, and he’s finding his feet more and more which makes me think when he drops an album in 2017 it’ll be his best yet.
When I speak of creativity in rappers only few people spring to mind before Rocky, his music videos are often second to none, for instance ‘L$D’ and the ‘Money Man/Set’ video are the best videos of their respective years, he thinks different to most in every single way he can, even in fashion terms he seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of pretty much everyone, it doesn’t make him any better of a rapper but it makes him a better all round package. On top of his creativity he has straight up skills and can put on a rapping clinic, he’s a man who isn’t afraid to fail if it means he’ll learn from the failure, and considering he’s set to be apart of his 7th project in as many years, he’s a workhorse who is only 28, he’s potentially got another 20 years in the game. Let’s say in the next 10 years Rocky can make 4 or 5 solo albums all as progressive as he has been in the last few years, we would be looking at Rocky being in the top 5 rappers, and a potential candidate for New York’s greatest.
On top of the rapping credentials Rocky has brought the best out of other rappers and inspired those around him, he’s turned Tyler, The Creator into even more of a beast than he already was, went toe to toe with all of the A$AP Mob and brought the best out of them, and has often promoted younger talents such as Joe Fox and Playboi Carti. It’s quite remarkable that someone who is in his prime has the time to make all the music he does while promote and help others as he does, it’s great to say rappers inspire one another and I feel like Tyler could be bringing heat just as much as Flacko because of the work they have done together. All in all Rocky has never ending potential to become NYC’s greatest, but who is the competition in the way.
Biggie, Tupac, Nas, Wu-tang, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay- Z, DMX, De La Soul, Ja Rule and LL Cool J are all New York based, and he has Joey Basa$$ to contend with coming up the ranks the same time as him. That’s a lot of talent in front of him that most people would say he categorically cannot beat, I mean you got the top 2 rappers of all time in Biggie, and Tupac right? WRONG. Tupac and Biggie are overrated I’ll fight that battle till I die, they are amazing rappers and they are great at what they do, they changed the game and are likely a large reason Rocky is even in the game, but they aren’t the best of all time, I’m not saying A$AP is above them yet by any means but I honestly think that’s doable. Rocky’s big problem here is with Nas and Jay- Z.
Rocky is currently a mile away from these kind of names, I think if he carries on evolving and his art keeps on getting better as it has done for so long, he’s definitely on course for top 5 in NYC, I’m a little skeptical as to whether he can top Nas and Jay- Z, in fact I’d probably just say that task is a little too much for most people, but a top 5 in New York makes you one of the GOATS in rap, not just in NYC. Let’s just enjoy Pretty Flacko and we’ll see if he can crack GOAT status in due time.