A$AP Rocky Collides With Moby On His Boldest Collab Yet (Video)

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On his 2015 LP At.Long.Last.A$AP, A$AP Rocky collaborated with an unlikely but universally revered artist, Rod Stewart. As the album’s second single, “Everyday” aligned the Harlem, New York rapper with a sector of music fans not always connected to the slick, streetwise Uptown Rap crowd. But it wasn’t a surprise to longtime fans already familiar with Pretty Flacko’s frequent globetrotting and place among the haute-couture crowds as well as fashion campaigns (including this Neil Barrett design featuring Rocky and international icon Elton John). As such, the collaboration on his latest video single is not unusual within the context of his artistic purview, but it might be a surprise to some Hip-Hop Heads.

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“A$AP Forever” heavily samples Moby, arguably the world’s most recognizable electronica producer. In fact, the song samples his 2000 single “Porcelain” so heavily, Moby is listed as a featured artist (even this link to Moby’s music promoted on A$AP Rocky’s YouTube channel mashes both artists up into “mobYo,” a play on “Moby” and “A$AP Mob”). However, he does not actually contribute any “new” material to the song, but the record is nonetheless ambitious and suggests Flacko’s next album (seemingly titled Testing) will be as audacious as any. The rollout for “A$AP Forever” began with a high-concept performance of cinematic proportions on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where Flacko debuted the song in medley form earlier this week. Now, the official music video (directed by “L$D”‘s Dexter Navy) has arrived and it’s as much a celebration of Rocky’s familiar history as it is his forward-leaning tastes.

New York scenescapes play a central role in the video. The city in which he first made his name is a fitting location for a song that celebrates his hometown pride; he shouts out the A$AP Mob collective, the late A$AP Yams, the city’s Dominican enclaves and claims to have “put New York on the map.” Most of the video’s strength comes from the post-production, with interesting camera work that gives it a feel of being one continuous sequence rather than several vignettes pieced together. It’s phrenetic until close to the 2:00 mark, when things slow down and the “kaleidoscope mind” concept lifted from Moby’s lyrics (and a glimpse of Moby himself, which he promoted on his own Instagram page) takes center stage. Its closing sequence is easily the most arresting, with A$AP Rocky wearing what looks like a crash-test dummy outfit and mask. Then, things come to a screeching halt.

It’s hard to ignore the final frame in the video, which splashes the word Testing. That’s what A$AP Rocky has frequently done throughout his career, testing the waters with the bold choices in collaborators. He may also be testing the waters with titles. If Testing proves to be the title (all the crash-test references on his trimmed-down Instagram feed also point in that direction), it would be the first album name of his that does not include a reference to “A$AP.” Which, coincidentally, could be why he chose to title this song “A$AP Forever.”