Sound Advice: A$AP Ferg at Bogart's (June 20)

A$AP Ferg’s 2013 debut full-length, 'Trap Lord,' is sleek and relentless, a hypnotic banger that digs in and rarely lets go. On it, Ferg is a guy with something to prove, his largely straightforward delivery complementing sharp beats and dark-hued sonics

click to enlarge A$AP Ferg - Photo: Jason Goodrich
Photo: Jason Goodrich
A$AP Ferg

A$AP Ferg’s 2013 debut full-length, Trap Lord, is sleek and relentless, a hypnotic banger that digs in and rarely lets go. Ferg is hard-edged throughout, a guy with something to prove, his largely straightforward delivery complementing sharp beats and dark-hued sonics.

Flash forward three years, and Ferg is in a different place. If Trap Lord wasn’t a huge commercial hit, it did firmly establish his place on the Hip Hop landscape — he has friends in the right places. Now 27, the Harlem native is broadening his horizons in more ways than one. His time in the limelight has also been touched by tragedy. Ferg’s mentor A$AP Yams — the visionary ringleader of N.Y.C.-based collective A$AP Mob, which also includes A$AP Rocky — died of an accidental drug overdose in early 2015.

All of which couldn’t help but color Ferg’s latest album, Always Strive and Prosper, a more diverse and pointedly personal effort.

“The reason why I went in that direction is I felt like my fans didn’t understand who I was as a person,” Ferg said in a recent interview with The Source. “So for this album I decided to take that gloss off. All of the fly shit, all of the diamonds, all of the bullshit is off, and it’s who I am as a person. That’s what this album represents — Ferg, the person, where I come from, my block, my hood, my family.”

“Beautiful People” is a Roots-style ballad of sorts about digging beyond surfaces, featuring spoken word from Chuck D and Mamma Ferg, both of whom add extra layers of humanity to proceedings. “Let You Go,” in which the main man aims to transcend his playa reputation, and album-closer “Grandma” are just as concerned with showing Ferg’s more introspective side. Yet the most visceral track is “New Level,” an addictive, slightly sinister horn-and-strings-aided jam marked by the grit-encrusted vocals of Future.

A$AP FERG performs Monday at Bogart’s with Tory Lanez and Madeintyo. Click here for tickets/more info.

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