500 Words or Less: A$AP Mob — Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends
Over 4 years removed from their last collaborative project, the A$AP Mob was able to coordinate between its members enough to churn out their long-awaited debut album. Cozy Tapes was the brainchild of the late A$AP Yams, who left behind a notebook full of ideas. A$AP Rocky, the new man of the house, took this notebook and used it as a blueprint to create Cozy Tapes. Rocky appears on 6 of the album’s 12 tracks, leaving ample space for his crew mates while maintaining his leader status. Cozy Tapes features an assortment of “who’s who” in hip-hop at the moment, mixed with longtime A$AP friends: Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Skepta, Tyler, the Creator, and A$AP-signee Playboi Carti (who maybe will drop a mixtape one day. Maybe).
The tracks featuring Rocky as the lead are the stronger songs of the album, but that’s not to say the other members didn’t hold their own. “Young Nigga Livin” is a track that stands out, thanks to A$AP Ferg delivering the best verse of his life. A$AP Ant, the butt of jokes for years due to his “Bath Salt” verse, showed remarkable improvement on songs like “Yamborghini High” and “London Town.” A$AP Nast built on his 90’s style with “Nasty’s World,” but the track seems dull compared to what he did 3 years ago with “Trillmatic”.
The production on Cozy Tapes is one of the stronger efforts of the year, taking the trippy A$AP sound and giving it a trap-heavy software update. Hard-hitting tracks like “Money Man,” “London Town,” and “Telephone Calls” make it easy for the artists to shine. “Put That on My Set” is the best-produced song on the album, providing the perfect template for A$AP Rocky and Skepta to showcase their chemistry. Even without the guidance of A$AP Yams, A$AP Rocky was still able to arrange all the moving pieces of this album to create a cohesive work where no one seemed out of place. His back-and-forth verses with Key! on “Crazy Brazy” and Wiz Khalifa on “Way Hii” add a flair to the tracks that wouldn’t be there if they had their own separate verses.
Overall, Cozy Tapes is an impressive effort from a crew that, as a group, never really had much direction. This album does a good job highlighting the positives of each A$AP member, along with making sure every outside guest feature was put to good use. Come for the trendy features, stay for the consistent fire. Here’s to hoping that Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 won’t take another 3 years to create.