Posted by: Amy – Nov 18, 2016
Harlem rapper A$AP Ferg brings his brash, boisterous style to The National Tuesday as part of his Turnt & Burnt Tour.
Ferg first gained notoriety as part of the A$AP Mob collective. Headed up by A$AP Rocky, the team started something of a renaissance for Harlem and New York rap with singles like “Peso” from Rocky and the group’s “Trillmatic.” Mixing classic East Coast styles with Southern sounds, the crew took off after Rocky’s 2011 release Live.Love.A$AP.
As Rocky fast became one of the most celebrated rappers working, Ferg built up his own buzz, carving out his own lane as the most “trap”-influenced rapper in A$AP Mob collective. His 2013 debut album, Trap Lord and its singles “Work” and “Shabbah” turned Ferg into his own distinctive entity.
Rolling Stone’s Mike Powell gave the album three stars, calling it “Slow, silky and menacing, with twists of eccentricity, his debut is a finely constructed mood piece.”
In 2013 he also inked a deal to join Rocky on Polo Grounds Music and RCA. But as with any white-hot group movement, things settled down after Rocky’s sophomore album Long.Live.A$AP, and Ferg had to do even more to make his own name and build his own following. Then, in 2015, tragedy hit the team when A$AP Yams, the A&R and “spirit guide” who helped found A$AP Mob died of an accidental overdose at the age of 26.
Ferg addressed the death on a song called “Tatted Angels.”
“I knew I’d lose him. He went to rehab a year before and he seen improvement,” Ferg raps. “But the fame and access is what abused him. But he in heaven now and I know God’ll use him.”
Ferg’s second album, Always Strive and Prosper was released in April to critical acclaim. Its first single, New Level, features Atlanta-rapper Future.
Perhaps influenced by the death of Yams and his grandmother, Ferg took a decidedly more introspective approach on his sophomore effort.
“This is no longer about A$AP Ferg, but Darold Ferguson, Jr. (Ferg’s given name),” Kathy Iandoli wrote in Pitchfork. “... Production-value is high, with Ferg enlisting top-tier beatmakers … But the beats take a backseat to the lyrics. The overall sound remains intact, but he’s even more invested in what he’s saying.”
Still, the album maintained that same swaggering bounce that Ferg made his name on. “New Level” is all about the come-up and its subsequent celebration. He details his life before fame.
“On a ramen noodle diet, tour life wasn’t so well. All my n***** starting riots, moshpitting on your toe nails,” he raps before the hook, “I’m on a new level.”
Atlanta’s Playboy Carti and San Diego’s Rob $tone will open up for Ferg. Tickets are still available for $25.50 and doors open at 7 pm.
Words by Jared Foretek