It was only a matter of time before trap music busted out of the South and made its way up on a national scale. Laid back gangsta rhymes with new age, highly synthesized, electronic beats are taking the commercial rap world by storm in this day and age. Darold Ferguson Jr., aka A$AP Ferg of the A$AP Mob posse, uses this formula to derive the textures and definition found in the experience of listening to his debut studio album, Trap Lord. It is an album of extraordinary technical aspects simultaneously evoking strong emotional feelings of glory and despair in the listener.
"Let It Go" starts everything off acquainting listeners with Ferg's preoccupation with the hustler lifestyle of drugs, money, women, and violence at the same time flaunting his unique lyrical style. The song "Shabba" follows, using a comparison of Ferg to the Jamaican dancehall singer Shabba Ranks, inserted into the chorus. Along the way the subject matter of the album seldom digresses from gangsta content. Contrarily, what makes Trap Lord such a fascinating listen is Ferg's unique rapping style, the fusion of styles found in the beats, and the rap stars who make guest appearances.
A$AP Ferg has taken the trap music style of hip hop and added an East Coast hip hop twist to it, forming a new hybrid style. On this album the spacey, luxurious, blanketing sounds of trap hip hop are grounded with rigid, stripped down production elements and lastly tempered down for a relatively easygoing backdrop. Much of the same can be said about Killer Mike and El-P on the Rap Music album, but in their case a Southern emcee (Killer Mike) raps over beats that are almost entirely of the East Coast persuasion. On Trap Lord we have Harlem native A$AP Ferg rapping over beats that take from the the best of both coasts so there are obvious differences between these two examples.
When Ferg spits his flows, he is hard hitting, with curious rhymes delivered in his special, slightly nasal sounding voice, which overpowers the drudgery caused by the more formulaic gangsta moments on the album. He is a clever wordsmith aided by the perfect line up of guests, A$AP Rocky, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, French Montana, Trinidad James, Schoolboy Q, Waka Flocka Flame, Maad Moiselle, B-Real, Onyx, and Aston Matthews.
Trap Lord feels quite morose and despondent at times, which may alienate listeners; however, the trap (no pun intended) that must be avoided for fans is being led into negativism from the constant themes of gangsterism and melancholy revisited throughout this project. The album must be taken as an artistic expression via rap and not as a morbid exercise in nihilism.