After 10 years since its initial release, A$AP Rocky’s first commercial mixtape, “LIVE.LOVE.A$AP,” is finally available on streaming platforms.
First released on Oct. 31, 2011, this mixtape sent both A$AP Rocky and his rap group, the A$AP Mob, into stardom. The mixtape boasts features from ScHoolboy Q and the Mob, and production from SpaceGhostPurrp and Ty Beats helped elevate A$AP Rocky’s album quality to new heights.
With each project release, the rapper's fame and accolades increased, and his love for fashion has slowly eclipsed his musical output. His career jump-started with this mixtape, and its importance in establishing A$AP Rocky and the Mob as serious rap artists cannot be understated.
“Palace” serves as the opener of the mixtape, and offers the listener an initial glimpse into A$AP Rocky’s world. Chopped and screwed vocals filter in and out throughout the track, while an energetic choir sample serves as the main backbone of the beat.
Rocky raps slowly and deliberately, saying, “Stone cold love, rose gold slugs/… influenced by Houston, hear it in my music.” A$AP Rocky’s New York and Houston influences are predominantly sprinkled throughout his first project, and this first track helped fans see he was meant to be a star.
“Brand New Guy” is the first feature on the mixtape and speaks on A$AP Rocky’s then-freshness in the rap game. While it feels like a strange position for him to be in now, the bars speak on his characteristics that separate him from other rappers. He raps, “I’m camo’d down to my boxers, a gold teeth, a Bathing Ape/… Swaggin’ in my J’s/ … Blue pit in my backyard, red nose my bad broad.”
Blood and red symbolize gang affiliations, while his affinity for the brand A Bathing Ape is seen early and prominently in his bars. This mixtape is also a time capsule to the most popular words of the early 2010s, with “swag” and “trill” being notable highlights in A$AP Rocky’s lexicon at the time.
“Trilla” documents A$AP Rocky’s lean obsession with details that are reminiscent of his contemporaries’ influence. He raps, “Top of the top of the line, all on my grind, purple be easing my mind/… Mixing up that syrup, call it Punky Brewster” The rap game’s obsession with lean reached a peak in the mid 2010’s, and A$AP Rocky was no exception to this craze.
“Acid Drip” illustrates A$AP Rocky’s love for psychedelics, which later became a common theme in his later music videos. His love for trippy visuals, close-up camera angles and saturated colors are now staples in his visual style, and this song shows this early appreciation for this art form.
He raps, “Craving for an acid tab for your satisfaction/Said you feeling flabbergasted, you just had to have it." While he raps this from the perspective of a woman he’s seeing at the time, using acid as a fix for pleasure and pain-reduction is a unique characteristic of Rocky and his messaging.
“LIVE.LOVE.A$AP'' certified A$AP Mob as one of the hottest acts to come out of 2011, and many of them have gone on to have their own successful solo careers. They blew up at the same time as Odd Future, and contrasting their style reveals what parts of rap each group was prioritizing.
The project helped establish A$AP Rocky as the star of the A$AP Mob and laid the groundwork for his first album, “LONG.LIVE.A$AP,” and A$AP Mob’s “Cozy Tapes: Vol 1 Friends" and "Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy." His career would not be what it is today without this mixtape, and having it finally released on streaming services is a gift to his fans and is a time capsule into the rap trends of the early 2010s.