A$AP Rocky - O2 Academy, Glasgow, Sun 26 May 2013
A powerful, swaggering show from the Harlem rapper
With a slew of recent hip hop hits played over its PA system serving as the only warm-up, the anticipation for A$AP Rocky’s impending arrival is palpable in a packed, hot but not quite full Academy.
Owing his moniker to membership of the Harlem-based collective of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers and bikers, known as the A$AP Mob, an abbreviation of ‘Always Strive and Prosper’, the 24-year old, born Rakim Mayers, was probably destined for a career in rap once he was named after one half of the legendary New York hip-hop duo, Eric B & Rakim.
Wearing an almost designer-like football kit, black socks pulled up to the knees, A$AP eventually appearance onstage, bedecked in white cloth. The rapper grabs the mic stand like a rockstar before launching headlong into ‘Long Live A$AP’, accompanied by flashing strobes.
A power-punch of shouted raps and swaggering bravado, it seems a distant version of the woozy, pop-chorused track leading the New Yorker’s January-released debut album, Long. Live. ASAP, but it’s exactly the kind of explosive start the expectant crowd needs, to help them release their obvious, pent-up energy.
'I heard Scotland was crazy,' booms the rapper; sure enough this statement is greeted by huge cheers. 'I want mosh-pitting, crowd-surfing, titties out', he adds, more in wish fulfillment than the kind of demands likely to be met.
‘Wassup’ follows with its infectious 'Harlem’s where’s I’m repping' line, though again, performed it seems far removed from the hazy, Clams Casino production of its Live. Love. ASAP mixtape counterpart. Regardless, the enthusiasm of tonight’s audience isn't dampened by such trivialities: they’re here to party and A$AP feeds on this, striding determinedly across the stage, oozing with braggadocio.
Flitting rapidly through his set, the Skrillex collaboration ‘Wild For Night’ with its warped, thudding bassline stands out, easily getting the biggest reaction of the evening, the floor of the Academy’s balcony given a rubbery, trampoline-like feel as the crowd pogo simultaneously in appreciation. The reception given to the distinctive panpipe melody and juddering beats of ‘Goldie’ comes a close second, both tracks showing off A$AP’s aggressive rapping style.
The night ends in a disjointed manner. Following what is actually the finale, ‘Fuckin’ Problems’, A$AP starts to hand-pick female fans to dance onstage with him, later allowing male members of the crowd to join them as his DJs plays on with everyone else left wondering if he’ll perform a proper encore – alas, he doesn’t.