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Asap Rocky Biography

Last updated: 10/29/2013 07:53:48 AM

ASAP Rocky's career is moving at high-speed. As early as this summer, the Harlem rapper was known only within the most esoteric annals of message boards and Tumblrs, until he released his eye-catching video for "Peso" in August and the hype began to snowball. Three months later, he's the most hyped-up rapper on the Web, worth upwards of $3 million after inking a major label deal that aims to make him and his ASAP crew the next rap dynasty, all on the strength of two viral videos and a thrown-together six song mixtape.

In signing his $3M deal, with Sony / RCA subdivision Polo Grounds, Rocky risks backlash from the underground and blogging circuits that spurred his speedy rise, not to mention the Herculean expectations that come along with that kind of contract. Such a rapid transition from revered Internet phenom to major-label star is unprecedented. The closest comparison available is Rocky's newly announced tour mate Drake, who only received a reported $2M in advance in his deal with Young Money, and that was after a number of well-received mixtapes.With all that money, buzz, and expectation, the stakes were Himalayan high for Rocky's first proper full-length mixtape Live Love ASAP, released for free on Monday. Fortunately for Rocky, and us, the 23 year old comes through with a thoroughly solid collection on his debut. Sleek, consistent, and highly listenable, Live Love ASAP has plenty for old fans, new fans, and the label execs with their wallets riding on him. Rocky has crafted a unique identity for himself by applying Pablo Picasso's sentiment that "Art is theft" to his favorite rappers, many of whom he name checks-Kanye, Andre 3000, Lil B, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, UGK to name a few.

Much has been made of Rocky's amalgamated sound that leans heavily on the Southern rap of Houston and Memphis while nodding at his hometown of New York only cursorily, if at all. This is part of what makes ASAP Rocky such a millennial MC, that the music he draws from most is alien to his native region, but readily available through the Internet. If NYC does figure into his style, it's in his palpably determined and cocky New York attitude, which matches up quite successfully with his laid back and often sung-rap delivery. Rocky knows exactly what kind of beats he fits well on, and has assembled a slew of blog rap all-stars, without whom Live Love ASAP wouldn't be half as strong: DJ Burn One of Gucci Mane fame, frequent Lil B collaborator Beautiful Lou, and breathy boom bap sensei Clams Casino, who produced a third of the tape's beats.

Live Love ASAP is a quality mixtape, but it's far from the revolutionary release a $3M advance might indicate, mainly because the lyrics can become quite unimaginatively dull at moments. However, the model it represents is unlike anything we've seen before. Not only does Rocky repeatedly refer to himself as "that pretty motherfucker", but he is entirely unrepresentative of his city-two things that would have made it very difficult to be a successful rapper up until very recently. Furthermore, the degree and quickness that ASAP Rocky cashed in on his Internet buzz is astounding, and will likely shift the way rappers and execs alike think, depending on how this whole contract pans out for Rocky and his crew. The flailing industry has bestowed a lot of hope on Rocky, and his story will undoubtedly be one of the most fascinating, and blogged-about, as it unfolds.