After a long three years, A$AP Rocky is finally back with his latest album TESTING. It seems as if he’s spent that long stretch of time vibing with other artists, as the 15-track project features a mass of big names: Skepta, Juicy J, FKA Twigs, T.I., Kid Cudi, Kodak Black and French Montana. Even more recognizable monikers appear on the credits; however, the one name missing is A$AP Yams — TESTING is the first album Rocky has dropped since losing his best friend after an accidental overdose in 2015.
While the commingling of Ocean and Rocky is a tad predictable (See: “Shoutout to A$AP” in Frank Ocean’s “Nikes”), the Harlem-born rapper also branched out; the second song on the album uses Moby’s “Porcelain” as its backbone. Rocky has also joined other American rappers in the adoption of grime music into their albums, which is demonstrated in “Prasie the Lord (Da Shine).” The song, which features legendary grime artist Skepta, utilizes the Tottenham-native’s rough, staccato style.
Throughout the album, Rocky remains true to the voice-distorting and high-pressure beats that he’s worshipped for. Yet, he also exposes a highly vulnerable side of himself. The track “CALLDROPS” is centered around a phone call with a prison inmate, where both the receiver and placer sing a hauntingly beautiful lullaby-like song together. Rocky also ends the work with a slow, overwhelmingly emotional track, “Purity,” in which he’s continuously begging to “find piece of mind.” It’s clear that he’s extracted from below the surface in this dark album.
Check it out here: