There’s a certain type of pandemonium that only A$AP Rocky can spark, and on Thursday (May 24), the eve of the release of Rocky’s new album TESTING, New York City’s Sony Hall felt the power of his eager fans who filed into the venue to get the first taste of his long-awaited album.
The aroma of weed blanketed the intimate space as Sheck Wes’ “Mo Bamba” ripped through the speakers. With booze and blunts in hand, guests mixed and mingled until the lights dimmed and the shimmering keys from Rocky’s early hit “Wassup” crept in before the self-proclaimed “pretty motherfucker” galloped onto the stage with his equally eager hype-man.
Rocky dedicated the first half of his performance to his early hits like “Goldie” and “Lord Pretty Flacko Joyde 2.” A$AP’s devotees, at his beck and call, didn’t hesitate to help the Harlem native turn his album listening event into a full-fledged party, so when Rocky called for a mosh pit merely 10 minutes into his event, the crowd parted in two to allow fans enough space to form one. Adrenaline seemingly rushed through Rocky because in a blink of an eye, he dove into the crowd and began crowd surfing with TESTING cut “Distorted Records,” featuring Moby, Kid Cudi, and T.I, as the soundtrack.
From the onset, Rocky made clear he was forgoing a traditional listening party. “This ain’t no show, man,” he proclaimed. “This ain’t no show, it’s a fucking experience.” Between rapping along to his tracks and calling for mosh pits, Rocky repeatedly asked fans to “listen closely” to the songs instead of just attending his event to get “fucked up.”
“Feel free to party, feel free to get drinks and smoke weed,” he offered before he introduced the Puff Daddy-featuring track “Tony Tone.” Over a menacing beat and hard-hitting drums, Rocky and Puff sound off on their haters, rapping, “I can tell if I could give a fuck about a list, ya heard?/I could give a fuck about a diss, ya heard?/I could give a fuck about your clique, ya heard?/Shut the fuck up ‘fore I rock your bitch, ya heard?”
He paused to place emphasis on his particular verse: “My mama named me/My papa gave me cock to take a piss with/To fuck ya bitch with/Life is different for me, that’s instance,” he said, telling the crowd, “I need y’all need to listen.”
“Sometimes when you young and shit and successful and shit, you miss out on a lot of things,” Rocky said at one point, adding that it’s important to “acknowledge flaws.” For TESTING, Rocky piled on the features, like the haunting trap banger “Fukk Sleep” featuring FWA Twigs and the twerk-inducing “Praise The Lord (Da Shine)” featuring UK rapper Skepta, a song Rocky admitted he created while he “high off mushrooms and LSD all night.”
Another standout on the album was the Kodak Black-starring “CALLDROPS,” which Rocky said he had to call the imprisoned rapper from hail in order to get the feature. “I want y’all to feel the pain on this song,” he added. “This is a very mature album. This album should’ve been called Testing Vulnerability because I’m just giving y’all my vulnerable site and there’s no holding back.” “CALLDROPS” started off with a sparse, eerie sound moving behind Rocky’s hushed, solemn voice and then a muffled audio clip of Kodak singing through the prison phone is heard. Rocky only wallows in sadness for a brief moment and then jumps right back into a partying mood with “Buck Shots.”
Rocky ended the show by inviting a phalanx of his friends and A$AP Mob crew members on stage for assistance on “Hun43rd.” Sans his collaborator, Dev Hynes (who also produced the track), Rocky’s entourage and the crowd helped the man of the hour put an exclamation point on his rousing performance, leaving fans pining for an extended show.
Check out footage from the night and stream A$AP Rocky’s new album below.
#asaprocky #testing pic.twitter.com/jRlvby06Gd
— GabrielJose (@gabeville) May 25, 2018