Label: ASAP Worldwide/Polo Grounds/RCA
On the one hand, it's hard not to appreciate Long.Live.A$AP for what it is: An all-around solid debut album from a budding star. A$AP essentially doubles down on the aesthetic he established on his 2011 mixtape, Live. Love. ASAP, but adds the sheen of pop polish. He upgrades his sound, adds some high profile guests (including Skrillex, Danger Mouse, and Santigold), and spends an entire album rhyming proficiently in the pocket.
On the other hand, that's the whole problem with the album: It plays like a company holiday party to Live. Love. ASAP's rachet house party. If the album was the first time you took a serious listen to A$AP—which is true for more people than you'd think—then you'd have every reason to be impressed with A$AP's persona and delivery. But for early adopters who love to nitpick, it's all mastery without magic. An unfair standard, maybe. But no one said it was easy being a young rap king. Still, this just the beginning, so even if it isn't mind blowing, it will certainly do for now. —Insanul Ahmed