Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-03-08


A$AP Rocky: Long.Live.A$AP (Polo Grounds/RCA, 2013) For six highly listenable, casually unmatched tracks, every beat hooks without being obvious enough about it--in a telling segue, a track that rides a Clams Casino glitch precedes a track that rides a Clams Casino Santigold cameo. Skillfully but never dazzlingly, congenially but never charismatically, with entertainment value added by a screwed-and-chopped alter ego, Rocky raps over the music without saying a damn thing older, meaner, and sharper rappers haven't said before. Then, bang, three dynamite songs, starting with an attention grabber bearing the asterisks-in-original title and literal message "F**kin' Problems," followed by a f**k-you banger from the Skrillex songbook and the terrific virtual-posse "1 Train": hello goodbye to Kendrick Lamar, Joey Badass, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T. Then, aww, three tracks that could be more obvious by half. B+

Action Bronson: Blue Chips (free download, 2012) As previously and probably hereafter, I always eat up the food stuff and occasionally retch at the sex stuff, with the "Thug Love Story 2012"/"Hookers at the Point" pairing the test case. Sexist though both are, I'm a fan because like Ghostface's "Wildflower" they come down on the right side of that razor-thin exposure-exploitation dividing line. But where with Eminem's "Kim" I'll argue that case ad nauseum, here no one is obliged to differentiate between those tracks and the one where he makes the "joke"-I-hope-he-claims about sharing a hooker with his three-year-old son--sometimes dumb is just evil, end of story. What nobody should try and deny is this album's accelerating momentum and unstinting silliness--not only does he call the itty-bitty that needs "the surgery" his "pee-pee," he rhymes it with "TV," "CD," "3-D," and "Fiji." Yummiest food-sex confluence: cunnilingus as razorback clams with bucatini. B+

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