Label: A$AP Worldwide/Polo Grounds Music
Released: August 4
Jamel Phillips had a lot to overcome to release his debut album. There were the years of expectations—the record had been almost done since around 2014, and anticipated since that time. There was the fact that his first two ASAP Mob crewmates to go solo had become stars. And, of course, there was the January 2015 death of his friend and Mob co-founder Jesus Steven “ASAP Yams” Paulino.
But ASAP Twelvyy turned tragedy into musical gold on 12. “Man, I do this shit for Steve,” he raps on “Ea$t$ideGho$t.” And it sounds like it. Twelvyy is determined that this is his “last year being broke,” and he cooked up his own New York-centric spin on the ASAP Mob sound to help him do it. With the exception of “Hop Out,” which hews too closely to the Migos-aping sound of the moment, every beat and rhyme on 12 sounds distinctive—a mix of old New York and new Atlanta, boom-bap and trap, but somehow like nothing else.
The project loosely tells the story of Twelvyy’s rise from a childhood in the Bronx’s “Castle Hell” to stardom, which is admittedly well-trod territory. But he makes it sound both new and comfortably familiar at the same time. Somewhere, Yams is smiling. —Shawn Setaro