It was smart when RCA decided to release A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord debut as a for-profit digital download, rather than the free mixtape it was originally conceived as. The album had the anthemic songs to justify being a formal debut, electric tracks like “Let It Go”, “Shabba”, “Work (Remix)” and the majesty “Hood Pope”. Though Ferg’s name probably wouldn’t pop up in the screenplay for Top Five, his energy and charm carried him through the material, blowing through wide-open running lanes thanks to a “HOOO!” or two.
That Ferg Forever is a free mixtape, then, says it all; the quality is a mixed bag, and the sonic threads are far less uniform. Much like Trap Lord, Ferg relies on a stable of up-and-coming producers—two highlights in particular, “Fergsomnia” and “Dope Walk”, are respectively produced by VERYRVRE and Stelios Phili. He’s also collected tracks from known entities such as Big K.R.I.T., whose woozy direction on “Bonnaroo” feels out of place (not to mention that all Ferg does is list off ways he picked around at Bonnaroo) and Mike WiLL Made It, who teams up with Tinashe” on the flat “Thug Cry (Remix)”. There’s a dancehall song, “Jolly”, along with an odd to group anal sex (“Weaves”) which makes the “I FUCKED YOUR BITCH” refrain on Trap Lord lowlight “Dump Dump” feel downright classy. Clams Casino even shows up on “Talk It”, but his typically insistent energy is swapped for the effort of a goth teenager picking around in the “Mario Paint” song editor. Mixtapes are often dumping grounds for whatever comes to the artist’s mind, but here, it’s hard to argue for the form.
Still, the tape shines in the right places—the parts where it’s fun. Take “Fergsomnia”, whose stupendously goofy “FERGSOMNIA!” chant gives way to a characteristically knotty Twista verse. The reworked “Reloaded (Let It Go Pt. 2)” is a blast, full of “YAH!” ad-libs, a pair of blazing verses from Candy Caines and Ferg’s former tour partner, M.I.A., and a hilariously deployed sample from the slightly more famous “Let It Go”. It’s within these tracks that Ferg finds his voice, and while relationship songs like “Commitment Issues” have their heart in the right place, the undercooked, stream-of-consciousness recaps never tap into the glee of the highlights.
Even so: Ferg is a compelling young dude trying shit out, so it’s hard to fault the weaknesses of Ferg Forever too much. This wasn’t released as his sophomore album, after all, and in the meantime it’s interesting to watch Ferg style-sample, freewheel deliveries and rotate producers. Not everything floats, but if the shelf life of jams like “Shabba” are any indication, the handful of hits on Forever will hold Fergensteins over till Trap Lord‘s sequel is out in stores.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/12x6sUl