"My mixtape is better than a lot of people's albums," A$AP Rocky declares two days after the release of his much-anticipated mixtape debut, Live Love A$AP (Oct. 31). Before signing a $3 million deal with RCA-distributed Polo Grounds Music-and before the notable co-signs ( Lil Wayne, Drake, Jim Jones) rolled in-the 23-year-old rapper had independently charged up buzz for himself and his crew.
Soon after the rapper debuted his video for the track "Purple Swag," A$AP was courted by several labels, including Polo Grounds. "It didn't sound like anything that was coming from New York," says Bryan Leach, president of Polo Grounds and senior VP of urban of RCA, of the artist's doozy, speedy raps over spacey soundscapes inspired by Houston rap. "I haven't seen anybody with this hustle and spirit since I signed Lil Jon and Pitbull, or since I witnessed the beginnings of Kanye West as an artist."