Live Review: The Trap Lord A$AP Ferg Howls In NYC

Live Review: The Trap Lord A$AP Ferg Howls In NYCImage via mrawebb on Instagram

A$AP Ferg & A$AP Mob
Where: New York, New York
Venue: Irving Plaza in Manhattan
On: 11:00 p.m. Off: 11:56
Crowd: Coke & white bitches.
Industry Presence: For a rainy Friday night, surprisingly big. The New York Times, GQ, various publicists and members of the RCA family were all in the building.
Spotted: Jon Caramanica, 40 oz. Van, a kid who had nodded off in VIP before A$AP Ferg came on. (A security guard came over, poked him with his walkie and said, “No sleeping.” The kid shook his head and blinked.)
Overheard: “Why is Jim Jones here and opening up for A$AP Ferg?” No answer.
Basically: A YouTube video of a rap show from the '90s but with the energy of a rock show from the '80s.

Written by Jeff Rosenthal (@itsthereal)

“All the animals come out at night—whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”

Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver

It rained last night in New York City, one of those steady drizzles that feels like piss and sounds like knuckles lightly tapping a hollow surface. The streets were quiet; those burn-outs, those freaks were all inside A$AP Ferg & A$AP Mob’s “Turnt & Burnt” tour stop at Irving Plaza. Finally, the sidewalks would be clean. Except for puke. That sat outside in a puddle, as gross and sad as the kid sitting next to it without a ticket. People came dressed up in their best A$AP costumes from two years ago, channeling the “scum” they could only hope to be: Commes Des Fuckdowns hats, long black hoodies over white shirtdresses, black and white flags, white shoes ruined by wet and gunk. So much black and white that everyone looked grey. A guy walked by and said, “Everyone looks like a Karmaloop promo code.”

Ferg opened his set with arms outstretched, in a San Jose Sharks jersey, backed by four Mob members in Jason masks. "Aye, New York City, this is my hometown. You ready to get trill?" He barked, everyone barked. Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, chugging arms up and down. Somewhere, far away, a truck driver beeped his horn. A$AP Yams stood in the wing, Birdman’s face on his shirt, bigger than his own. A yellow light hit Ferg in such a way that he looked like a golden God. Maybe that’s why later when he draped his arm around Rocky, he said faux-important nonsense like, "This shit is prolific, man. This shit is really prolific.” That means nothing, those are nothing words. There was more meaning within Ferg’s improvised seminar on how to pronounce “frrruh!” where he had a thousand people growling like Chewbacca.

People came dressed up in their best A$AP costumes from two years ago: Long black hoodies over white shirtdresses, black and white flags, white shoes ruined by wet and gunk. So much black and white that everyone looked grey. A guy walked by and said, 'Everyone looks like a Karmaloop promo code.'

Kanye West had to build himself a mountain, stand atop a pile of naked women, make the world shower snow from the inside of an arena for people to understand his power. A$AP Ferg just had to stand still, raise his hand, and watch the waters beneath him raise to a boil. Yeezus on Ice may have been more cohesive, magical, artful, and Instagram-worthy, but the Turnt & Burnt Tour is…efficient: Hit play, stand back, watch the bass hurt bodies. Ferg stands like a wrestler on the top rope, leaning, barking into a microphone. “Work,” “Dump Dump” (aka “I Fucked Yo Bitch”), “Shabba.” The whole thing is dark and hell is hot, people landing from above, writhing below. It’s not a show you see, it’s one you feel: the ground shaking, the pushing, the sweat.

A sign was posted next to the will-call: “Although not encouraged by the Promoter, Artist or Building, moshing or crowd surfing activities may take place. Moshing, crowd surfing and entering such arenas may be dangerous, and you do either at your own risk.” Beneath it: “Enjoy the show, and remember, be Cool, be Courteous, and BE CAREFUL.” It’s not an A$AP show if someone—Tarz, Twelvyy, etc.—isn’t 40-yard-dashing from the side of the stage and jack-knifing into the eighth row, as if iPhones and faces were unbreakable. (From the balcony, you’d regularly see dots of light snuffed out, hit by a limb or bottle and dropped to the floor.) Ferg, for his part, said, "If I see you on your phone, I'm gonna come over there and fuck you up,” before pointing out a guy with, “Hey, white boy.” Moments later, he did Rocky’s "Wild for the Night;" clearly, he was done being polite.

Setlist
“Lord”
“Dump Dump”
“Persian Wine”
“Gotham City” feat. A$AP Nast & A$AP Twelvyy
“YNRE” – A$AP Twelvyy
“Trillmatic” – A$AP Nast
“Black Mane” – A$AP Nast
“Coke & White Bitches” – A$AP Ant
“Told Ya” – A$AP Ant
“The Way It Go” – A$AP Ant
“Wild for the Night”
“Goldie/Kissing Pink”
“Let It Go”
“Work”
“Work (Remix)” feat. A$AP Rocky
“Shabba” feat. A$AP Rocky
Encore - “Hood Pope”

It’d be a nearly perfect show if A$AP didn’t always manage to take themselves too seriously. (Last year, Rocky recreated Miss Saigon and lamented how “no one understands” them. Ack.) They’re best when all thirteen or seventeen or thirty-five of them come out and do the Peanuts dance. For most of the show, everyone stands on the sidelines, stiff, when they clearly just want to dirty bird. Instead, Ferg squats down and offers to pray for everyone: “Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins, watch over my enemies…” Moments later, he’s screaming “Say, ‘Fuck that side’, say ‘Suck my dick’,” and barking. Put it all together and it feels like watching DMX’s Wiki page come to life. (Then again, I wonder if DMX would dedicate a song like “Work” to anyone who’d ever been called names for “being different or trying new things,” as Ferg did.)

With each Mob show, one has to recalibrate the group’s depth chart: Ferg is popular, sure, but only scraping the ankles of Rocky. Ferg said, “Someone told me Flacko Jodye is in the building.” If only cars had been parked in Irving Plaza, people would have flipped them. Nast is being set up to be next (in what had originally been Twelvyy’s spot). But his verses on “Trillmatic” sound asthmatic, too many words crammed into nooks and crannies. Ant, maybe? Another one? How many are there? Another Mob tape is soon to come in March, perhaps things will be sorted out by then. But for now, it's Trap Lord season. 

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