At this point, A$AP Rocky’s debut LP (LongLiveA$AP) has been pushed back so many times as to make one wonder whether the record’s much beleaguered release date has suffered its various contortions in order to create a false sense of scarcity.
Just today, XXL announced that LongLiveA$AP will be coming to us right around Halloween, instead of the September 11 release that the New Jersey-based Rocky had previously planned.
Though hip-hop artists tend to acquire blown release dates as if they were Pelle Pelles, A$AP Rocky’s string of blunders feels less like an embarrassing failure to manage his logistics and more like the inspired masterstrokes of an artist.
Remember that two years ago, almost nobody except the man’s blood relatives had even heard of A$AP Rocky. A string of YouTube mega-hits catapulted him to instant renown, and, even more importantly, blessed him with a fiercely dedicated fan base. Even at this late date, as A$AP watches the ink dry on his deal with Sony, his fans tend to feel that they’ve stumbled upon something authentic, that A$AP still constitutes an underground fetish.
A$AP’s odd relationship with the limelight has reinforced this image. In July, he rescheduled his network television debut after a fight landed him with an awkwardly timed prison stint. The compilation album that originally secured his fame wasn’t even self-released—a fan from Paris cut and pasted it together from A$AP’s YouTube clips.
This isn’t to say that A$AP has a complete disregard for his reputation, because I think that the reality of the situation is quite the opposite. However, the MC has displayed such a deft touch in terms of balancing a need for fame with an apparent disregard for the same that it’s impossible to tell where his well-laid plans end and his (apparently unimpeachable) instinct begins.
Rocky, along with the six other members of his A$AP Mob, released a mixtape today entitled Lord$ Never Worry. Even if LongLiveA$AP had held true to its original release date, the deployment of a mixtape a scant two weeks before his commercial debut would have more than established the A$AP’s comfort with risky, high-profile promotional maneuvers.
The fact that Lord$ Never Worry now anticipates LongLiveA$AP by a full month means that Rocky’s debut will have an extra 30 days of promotion to its name, and an even greater air of scarcity. In total, it’s impossible to tell if the man’s promotional moves are brilliant, or one hell of a coincidence, or both.