Latin Music Week

A$AP Ferg Previews 'Trap Lord' In NYC: First Listen

Kate Glicksberg
A$AP Ferg photographed in New York City

A$AP Ferg is a self-proclaimed "Trap Lord." So it made sense that last night (August 5) the restaurant at NYC's The Darby had been turned into a sanctuary for a listening party of Ferg's debut album, "Trap Lord."

A$AP Ferg stickers and lit candles adorned various tables in the restaurant's downstairs section, while people conversed, drank complimentary mixed Hennessy drinks and awaited Ferg's arrival. A little after 7:30 pm EST Ferg appeared and was joined by the rest of the A$AP Mob in the center of the room.

"The show is about to start," Ferg said, briefly before handing a microphone to A$AP leader A$AP Rocky, who had to leave the festivities to perform at Drake's OVO Fest that same night. Rocky congratulated Ferg for his debut album and thanked everyone for attending, before leaving to catch his private jet. ("PJ," as Ferg cleverly put it.)

Drake's OVO Fest Surprises With Kanye West, Lil Wayne, TLC & J. Cole

Having everyone's attention Ferg finally put on his album: it was time to attend church.

The night began with album opener "Let It Go," a minimally ominous trap song that sounds like the slowed down equivalent to "Mortal Kombat 2's" "Living Forest" theme music. (This is a compliment.) Followed by "Let It Go" was second single "Shabba," which is sure to become the club banger it deserves to be (if it already isn't). Produced by Portland/Houston-based beatsmith Snugsworth, "Shabba" roars with an insanely catchy hook while paying homage to dancehall great Shabba Ranks, and having one of the best "Mortal Kombat"-inspired ad libs ("Looking like Liu Kang / WOOTAH!") in the history of rap.

"Lord," which features legendary rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, was up next. The Bone Thugs' influence on the A$AP Mob has been apparent since day one, and as one would expect Ferg and the Cleveland-based collective have great chemistry. Production from Crystal Caines provides an elegantly haunting soundscape to the Bone Thugs and Ferg's half-rapped, half-sung lines, and Bizzy Bone even provides a transcendent prayer at the end.

Ferg's sing-a-long raps continued on into fourth song (and third single) "Hood Pope." From the guttural "Ugh" that drives the chorus to the "Sure-to-evoke-thug-tears" production from Veryrvre, "Hood Pope" reinforces Ferg as A$AP Mob's Jiggy Goth Casanova.

The mood remained melancholy as "Hood Pope" went into "Fergivicious," a song that, as Ferg explained, deals with how he can relate to A$AP Rocky because both are fatherless. It was a moment of retrospection that wasn't expected — especially considering that "Dump Dump," aka "I Fucked Your Bitch," followed after — but was enjoyable.

"Dump Dump," which will surely be another club banger, hits with abrasive production and an even more abrasive hook ("I fucked your bitch, ni--a / I fucked your bitch"). "The edited version will be much cleaner," Ferg joked.

It was only fitting that the "Work (Remix)" followed "Dump Dump." Fans and the A$AP Mob had reached a spiritual high point by then: everyone was reciting each rapper's lines while doing the many dances expected at a contemporary rap event.

After the "Work (Remix)" was "Didn't Wanna Do That" and the Waka Flocka Flame-featured "Murda Something." The former didn't leave much an impression —  serving as a come down from the two previous songs, if anything — but the latter was good. Ferg and Waka make an interesting pairing and the song's Timbaland-esque production was a nice touch.

"Make A Scene," another half-rapped, half-sung song, followed after "Murda Something." Featuring one of Ferg's cousins, "Make A Scene" maintained the gloominess of most of Ferg's sing-a-long songs: a half-Drake, half-Future, all-goth concoction that worked well.

"Fuck Out My Face," which features B-Real, Onyx and Aston Matthews came after, leading into album-ender "Cocaine Castle." The latter ends on a not-so celebratory note, the production smooth and slow as Ferg creates vivid images of pimps, prostitutes and other subjects.

Once the song was finished Ferg thanked everyone for coming out, and requested that the DJ put on "Shabba." Church was over, and now it was time to party.

"Trap Lord" is an enjoyable introduction into Ferg's house of worship. There are some moments where the "Hood Pope" might put you to sleep, but overall, Ferg's audio sermon is worth a listen.