Is #YOLO dead? Deader than it was when Katie Couric used it? Today the apocalypse, once again, failed to happen. Earlier this week, Ke$ha addressed the radio airplay backlash over her song “Die Young” in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut, acknowledging some concerns about the title phrase — “especially because so many of my fans are young.” If dying young has lost its cachet, then “Long Live A$AP,” the quasi-title track from A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP, couldn’t be a timelier contrast to all of recent years’ hits about living like you’re gonna die tomorrow. He’s glad he’s alive today, and he plans to enjoy tomorrow, thank you very much.
“Long Live A$AP” is almost two tracks in one, and the falsetto-sung, guitar-backed chorus, with its invocation of the phrase “live forever,” sends us all the way back to the heady days of Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. Though this song’s gunshot sound effects won’t make it any more appropriate for radio than “Die Young,” it’s significant that A$AP is lambasting gun violence, not celebrating it: “Where they shoot without a purpose, services ‘n’ hearses / Kids who ain’t deserve it,” he enunciates crisply. On the verses, producers Jim Jonsin and Rico Love back A$AP with a fittingly agitated rumble. The last word is “live.” It’s not that the song doesn’t embrace the idea of living life to the fullest. It’s just that A$AP isn’t ready to die.
“Long Live A$AP” follows the Skrillex production “Wild for the Night” and the star-studded posse cut “1 Train” from the oft-delayed Long.Live.A$AP album. On the latest track, A$AP shouts out Pimp C, which is fortuitous, because also surfacing online is a remix of non-album track “Purple Swag” featuring Pimp’s former UGK partner Bun B, plus fellow Houston rap heavies Paul Wall and Killa Kyleon. Everybody’s in top form, and it’s impressive how close this song’s murky vitality comes to the style of A$AP’s major-label debut. R.I.P. to Pimp C, and here’s to another day in the life.
“Purple Swag (Remix)” feat. Paul Wall, Bun B, and Killa Kyleon: