Harlem rapper ‘spits’ odes to H-town scene

A$AP Rocky at Warehouse Live - 2/26/2012

Photo by: Derek Key

Amidst a standing, sold-out crowd, the rap crew known as the A$AP Mob, which has notoriously taken over music blogs, emerged under the venue’s lights in black attire and kneeled together in fellowship at the head of the crowd.

Once the ceremonials were complete, the star of the night, A$AP Rocky, launched into his single “Pretty Flacko.”

The Sunday night crowd at Warehouse Live swayed and leaned like a lazy mosh pit as Rocky spit his lyrics over the track’s booming production.

The Harlem-based rapper’s set consisted of a string of songs from his acclaimed 2011 mixed tape, “LiveLoveA$AP,” which features a bevy of talented producers whose beats are tamed by the confident rapper.

Many of the songs he brought are definitively post-regional, incorporating much of Texas’ sound while utilizing historical aspects of other cities steeped in hip-hop culture.

“I feel like it’s only right that we do the next song,” Rocky said to the crowd before jumping into his hit, “Purple Swag,” a woozy tribute to the Houston rap scene, “I’m Texas Trill, but in NY we spit it slow.”

Rocky worked the crowd and announced, “Houston is everything I am.” He then questioned his fans, “How many purple people out there, yo?” He was met with a roaring response.

The recent surge of efforts like “Purple Swag” that pay tribute to the Houston scene brought about by artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Drake, has touched the city — giving Houston more reasons to revitalize its great hip-hop scene.

In a way, Rocky has contributed to a buzz that has brought a critical eye to the city’s hip-hop scene — a scene that hasn’t been popularized since its commercial rise in 2005.

The appeal of the rapper attracted a collaborative effort from Drake, who welcomed Rocky and fellow tour mate Lamar — who performed his own hit, “A.D.H.D.” — onto the ticket for his current Club Paradise Tour.

Rocky wasn’t scheduled to perform in Houston, but traveled here before the collaborative tour reached Austin.

After the A$AP performance, Houston’s Slim Thug took the stage to perform his verse from “Still Tippin’.” Apparently, the song was influential to Rocky because he raps “Tippin’ 4s since back in ’06” in “Purple Swag.”

Close to the end of the show, Rocky accompanied fans in jamming to popular Southern rap hits.

Soon after, fans rushed the platform and began crawling over the stage barrier. Although security attempted to ward them off, they succeeded in crashing the stage. But Rocky wasn’t bothered by them.

He stood his ground in the middle of the crowd, as he performed, but was unseen once the music cut off.

The packed stage and the rest of the fans continued to shout, “ASAP, ASAP, ASAP,” before finally dispersing.

By Alex Pechacek

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