A lot has changed in the three years since the hood pope last left us with a collection of songs to knock. For one, the A$AP team lost their rock, Yams, who died of a drug overdose in January of 2015. Secondly, he’s gone back to his [fashion] roots in a major way, teaming up with Adidas to produce signature sneakers and gear; however, Ferg could only keep his day one fans waiting for so long. With a significant buzz that began with the single/video “Next Level” featuring Future, his latest album Always Strive & Prosper is here – and it’s full of surprises.
As a self-identified Ferg fan, the album has an unexpected aura to it. Unlike his Trap Lord LP, AS&P is much more introspective and personal. He walks us through his past, gives us a look at his family, speaks openly about his relationship, and pays respect to his fallen comrade. He sets the tone for the album on the second song – and first leak – “Hungry Ham,” a reference to his OG stomping grounds of Hamilton Heights. The Skrillex produced banger sees Ferg opening himself up and speaking on finite personal anecdotes, like his mother’s reaction to him dropping everything to rap. He talks more about his family on the [two-part] “Psycho,” where he breaks down his relationship with his gangster uncle, and the influence it had on him; the story continues seamlessly with the song “Let It Bang,’ featuring Schoolboy Q.
The surprises on this album, though, are his professions of love on “Let You Go,” and – the damn-near marriage proposal – “I Love You.” As well, his pro-positivity techno-infused dose of reality, “Strive” (featuring Missy), is bound to the song of the summer. He also drops a very gentle/surface call to [#blacklivesmatter] action on “Beautiful People,” and pays proper tribute to Yams on “Yammer Style,” which ends with (Yam’s) mother proclaiming that they are keeping his legacy alive.
After three solid listens to the 18 song effort, I feel as though I’m more into Ferg as a person; he gives listeners a chance to get to understand him a bit more clearly. From fashion to rap, Ferg is ahead of the curve. Always Strive & Prosper is a fantastic notch under his belt and a perfect start to the warm season. Give it a bunch of spins!