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A$AP Rocky, Bass


I remember when I was 13 and chopped and screwed music was getting really popular. Then I heard the new ASAP Rocky track “Bass” and I was reminded why that faded out in 2002.

A$AP Rocky was born and raised in Harlem, New York and is no stranger to what he even refers to as, “the cliche’ rap lifestyle.” Rocky is well known on the underground New York rap scene and is slowly getting mainstream success. Not too long ago Rocky released “Purple Swag”, a tribute to Texas chopped and screwed legends and the subsequent youtube video reached an impressive 100k views in less than a week.

In the song Bass we hear what seems to be an angry Rocky give a peculiar cliche’ rant which further leads into a smooth rapping style that is met with a steady and rhymic drum beat.

Rocky’s impressive and laid back delivery opens the song nicely and in turn, this leads to a chopped and screwed hook. The rest of the song stays true and greatly emphasizes Rocky’s style. East Coast rap is known for its smooth delivery, raw content and melodic style–without a doubt Rocky encompasses all these traits, and even stays true to that New York zing despite the track being yet another tribute to chopped and screwed rappers. My issue has nothing to do with Rocky as an artist, just with the chopped and screwed hooks.

If we look at the history of rap, we see that it is an ever evolving force. We see trends and styles constantly coming and going–the age of the emcee, gangster rap, the rise of Chicago rap that tread on the edge of spoken word poetry, and much much more. I feel as if its only detrimental to go back in time as opposed to moving forward. In Rock’s track Bass, I find issue with the repeative use of the chopped hook, however, if one were to check out the track Grippin’ Woodgrain which uses less of a chopped hook, you can really see Rocky’s vocal prowess start to shine.

Right now hip hop is in a very interesting place. We are beginning to see many trends coming and going, and many people are making their own niche’ in the vast array of hip hop culture. OFWGKTA are becoming well known for their anti-commercial approach–even using the word “swag” in an ironic way to show the “over use” of the word. This same hate of the word swag as also been noted by A$AP Rocky on occasions. Similarly to OFWGKTA we have Kreayshawn who is also using an over the top persona (maybe?) to find her place in the rap game.

Oppositely, Rocky isn’t using chopped and screwed ironically, nor has he claimed to, he was using it as a tribute to Texas rappers. My issue with it, is that it transcends tribute and is starting to fall into the realm of gimmick. Rocky, you have tremendous talent and vocal ability. Make it your own, instead of trying to mimic the sounds of retired, and often washed up, Southern rappers.

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