Asap Rocky
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TESTING, BY ASAP ROCKY: NEED IT OR KEEP IT?

Recently, creative artist and fashion enthusiast ASAP Rocky just announced that he is 90 percent complete with his new upcoming album, which has been dubbed “All Smiles“. For this reason, I thought it would only be reasonable to review the psychedelic and experimental precursor known as “Testing“, especially because today is the anniversary of this project. This project is very significant to many hip-hop heads because for many, it was a hit or miss. This project is something that one would have to continuously listen to for it to resonate correctly.

To begin, one of the most significant parts of this project is the fact that Rocky was a part of a study where he took LSD while creating the album. According to Elevator Magazine, Rocky states “I had this psychedelic professor, he studies in LSD. I had him come through and kinda record and monitor us, to actually test the product while being tested on.”

WHAT I LISTEN FOR IN PROJECTS

When looking at music, I listen for the vibe of the song, lyrics, and production. As a listener, I expect artists to get out of their comfort zones and experiment. That is part of creating art. For this project, I will be discussing lyrics, production, features, sales, and I will give this project a rating, but, as with all art reviews, my review of Testing is based on personal opinion.

TESTING LYRICS

This project features some lyrically solid bars. I think the project was significantly experimental in this case. While mentioning topics of stereotypical rap, I applaud Rocky’s ability to create new topics, including the disrespect of haters, the death of his sister, and themes of growing up. I think this project is more of something to vibe to, rather than listening to for heavy-hitting lyrics, like my previous review of “J Cole’s “The Off- Season”. I think the flow, along with the lyrics is what brings this project together, but we also have sound effects in the form of lyrics that really bring the atmosphere together. Not only did Rocky provide in lyrics, but we can also see the likes of Frank Ocean and Skepta showing their abilities.

*Lyrics provided by Genius.com*

Some heavy hitting lyrics include:

“My ice like the stars, I tell that bitch, “Cover your eyes, ‘Cause smokin’ with me, you go blind“- ASAP Forever

Born before the virus was cured, pitch perfect, violence on the floor
Fast forward, honors on my skull, type of design I could afford
Fast forward, bands out
Got the hands out like they acknowledging the Führer
“- Frank Ocean on Purity

I sold the pack, the loose, the hard (yeah)
I listened to X, I’m peak, the bars (yeah)
The snakes, the rats, the cats, the dogs
“- Skepta on Praise the Lord (Da Shine)

9/10

TESTING PRODUCTION

The production features the likes of Skepta, Hector Delgado, FnZ, etc. Every song on this project is unique in its own way in terms of production. I think it really fits the feel that Rocky was going for. I appreciate that he gave us more mellow songs like “Purity, Kids Turned out Fine, Fukk Sleep, Brotha Man, etc.“. On the other hand, we also got the ASAP anthem “ASAP Forever“, along with other heavy hitters that can hype up a crowd at concerts. These include “Distorted Records, Tony Tone, Buck Shots etc.” According to Who Sampled, this project consists of many samples from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Salt-N-Peppa, Moby, Project Pat, etc.

9/10

TESTING FEATURES

Testing features include the likes of Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, Smooky MarGielaa, Playboi Carti, T.I., and many more. I really applaud Frank Ocean and FKA Twigs as features on Purity and Fukk Sleep respectively. I like that we got the iconic humming from Kid Cudi on the remix of ASAP Forever. I like the upbeat verses that Smooky MarGielaa and Playboi Carti on Buck Shots. Overall, I had no problem with any of the features on this album. They contributed their unique abilities that aided in the experience of the album

10/10

SALES, RATINGS, AND OVERALL REVIEW

According to Complex, ASAP Rocky’s “Testing” sold 75,000 units upon its first week. This was a close race, considering that Pusha T’s Daytona was released the same day and sold 77,000. Now being established within the rap industry, I think this album continues to expose the experimental nature of ASAP Rocky, which was shown in songs like LSD.

Overall, I initially thought this project sucked. This project was so garbage to me. It felt like a half-baked idea. I think I only really liked ASAP Forever. I thought that song paid respect to the likes of Moby and A$AP Mob. This music video was epic and deserved a reward. Unfortunately, it has been age-restricted from Youtube for reasons unknown. (And yet, we have videos like Crybaby, but that’s a topic for another post.) That was how I felt in the beginning. Then, the project started to grow on me. I think Rocky really showed a good flow, lyricism, and samples to create an experience that lives up to its name. This felt like experimentation. I would compare this project to the likes of Playboi Carti’sWhole Lotta Red“, or Kanye West’sThe Life of Pablo“. If you plan on listening to this project, give it time because I guarantee that you may not approve if it’s off-kilter feel upon the first listen. Hang in there, that is what makes this project a gem.

Initial Rating: 5/10

Retrospect Rating: 8/10

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM HERE

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