G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer/A$AP Mob - Lord$ Never Worry | Album Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret

G.O.O.D. Music/A$AP Mob

Cruel Summer/Lord$ Never Worry

Not quite breaking the mold.

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Author: on September 29, 2012
G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam - Independent
September 14, 2012/August 28, 2012

It is with good reason that most crew records spawning from various labels and cliques in the modern era are presented to fans in the form of a free mixtape. With the staple artists at times reserved to the fact that maybe their buddies are not quite up to par yet. A$AP Rocky I feel assessed his compatriots similarly and hence they dropped Lord$ Never Worry via various internet outlets for your immediate, free, listening pleasure. And while the ambitious mixtape is less a strike against A-Mob’s talent and more a confirmation of their inexperience it is also, overall, not that much worse than Cruel Summer. You know, that long delayed, incessantly previewed compilation record of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label that was supposed to somewhat resemble that really-a-Nas-record by The Firm in Kanye’s feverish presence, not necessarily the questionable output. Well, apparently he forgot all that shit in the studio as the record is about sixty-percent good, a cruel summer indeed it seems even as the bangers are unforgettable. The issue, with both records, is that the most pristine corners are exceptional but the rest is generally overlong and forgettable.

I step into Def Jam building like I’m the shit / Tell ‘em give me fifty million or I’ma quit,” Kanye totes during his verse’s house-breakdown during “Mercy” one of Cruel Summer’s handful of singles and standout tracks. While it’s not absurd to assume Kanye, could, would and did exactly what he relays to us, it is difficult to see Def Jam bending to a break following Cruel Summer’s release. Simply put: Kanye’s post My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) artistic tear is suspiciously reeking of the same egocentric stink that helped hinder both Graduation (2007) and 808s and Heartbreak (2008). Whereas MBDTF saw Kanye reach an unparalleled precipice concerning pop music from the one of the genre’s finest, Cruel Summer is Ye and his G.O.O.D. Music buddies reminding us all there is more to this label than just its founder. Problem is they don’t do much of a bang-up job showcasing the upside of Big Sean and the revival of Pusha T instead preferring to make a conscious play for the charts. Not that there’s anything really wrong with this—I mean we are discussing Mr. West, he makes money and slams charts to a fine powder—it is just previously he never seemed to be trying to get play on the radio waves as much as he bent Top 40 to his will.

While G.O.O.D. Music are seemingly still discovering their direction, A$AP Mob pretty much have their intentions laid out bare (booze, drugs, women and money; also we look better than you, or something). Where Lord$ Never Worry begins to falter is when the guest begin to outshine the main cast—“Coke And White Bitches” is an otherwise average track with an entrancing beat, this is of course until Danny Brown pops in to take command of the song. Even Flatbush ZOMBiES’ appearance on the excellent “Bath Salts” doesn’t help A-Mob provide proof there’s more to their crew than Rocky and Ferg’s rough edges. Sadly too, with Lord$ Never Worry, A-Mob’s stalwart is strangely absent. I can understand why Rocky chose to take a step back from the spotlight as his debut is prepped for releases but this mixtape leaves little question that the future of A$AP Mob solely rests upon his shoulders and save some strange turn of fate (A$AP Nast remembering he can rap) Rocky is their road to riches. Or concerning A-Mob, riches, blow, some weed and a heavy touring schedule with a bevy of attractive women—but that is all relative. Both crews will likely progress into brighter horizons and produce quality music, regardless if they still can’t shake the steadfast cliché that crew albums are shaky at best. Thankfully we have enough shit-hot bangers on both these records to keep summer bumping even as the snow begins to fall.

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