So far this year, three notable hip hop albums have come out: J. Cole, Pusha T and A$AP Rocky. Not to mention Cardi B’s album. It is – without a doubt – a big year here. We are still looking for two big names, Kanye and Drake. Of everything I have heard so far this year, however, one track in sticking heavy. And it is from the least likely source, A$AP Rocky.
MTV News writes about Rocky’s new album, Testing, here. And of that record, the track “Purity” is a standout. Why? Instrumentals and lyrics.
Regarding a song’s instrumentals, that is the first determiner of whether a song is worthy or not. From the very beginning of this song, one hears melodic strings, wind instruments and harmony from low voiced instruments. Putting such an instrumental arrangement together is essential for a good song to be great and memorable. This song starts with a lovely acoustic guitar heading into natural voices. Then the rapping starts with electric drums. At the first stanza’s end, high pitched voices come in to match the bass beats. Wonderful!
A lyric ain’t a lyric if you cannot remember it. This aspect of rap is known as memorable quotes. Can you remember the quote? Does that quote stick in your mind? If the rap and/or song is good, it should. Rocky has a number of memorable lyrics in this song. They are really good. They sounds very natural: “when Noah’s Ark broke” is one such lyric
Another aspect is who is featured on a song. In “Purity” Frank Ocean is the feature and he adds tremendously to the greatness of the record.
Overall, a very substantial entry into the pond of hip hop and rap. Even better if it is not a radio record and you can impress someone by knowing it without it being totally mainstream. That adds to one’s coolness.