Whilst it is hardly noteworthy when a rapper is running late, there is a delicious irony to someone calling himself A$AP Rocky running over an hour late on the second of his two night stay in London.
Warmed up by an often brilliant, though rarely appreciated, set from Manchester’s Star Slinger, Rocky is given the ideal intro. Mixing his own productions into reworks of the likes of Drake, Usher and Jessie Ware, Star Slinger adds a healthy dose of bass to his samples building things nicely and throwing the odd WTF? in along the way (the look on people’s faces as ‘Crossroads’ by Bone Thugs N Harmony plays is priceless).
Despite ignoring his own moniker, A$AP Rocky’s eventual arrival on stage is greeted with rapturous applause. The energy levels, helped by the fact Rocky brings an eleven strong crew onto the stage with him, amp up a rapid-fire take on ‘Pretty Flacko’ with barely room to shake a leg on the now crammed stage. Riding on a high as one of the most talked about and respected new rappers around, Rocky then proceeds to run through many of the prime cuts from his ‘LiveLoveA$AP’ mixtape on a night destined to be remembered for anything but the music.
Of said cuts, it is the rowdy and energetic tracks which work best tonight. ‘Bass’ and ‘Wassup’ combine well, leaving the audience seeing stars whilst the unreleased ‘Goldie’ delivers the KO. That said, there is a feeling that Rocky is letting the hype and excitement do the work for him, with little in the way of performance skills on display. If this is hip-hop karaoke though, then it is of the highest order.
A woozy middle section illuminated by purple lights and the flicker of zippo lighters is soon shaken back to reality however when Rocky’s Rolex is stolen by an audience member and a chaotic search to retrieve it ensues. It’s a frustrating end to what was building into a great show. Fingers crossed Rocky’s return will see less crime and more steps toward seeing the next big hip-hop icon live up to his billing.