Cozy Tapes A$AP Mob’s best work yet

When thinking of Harlem rap collective, A$AP Mob, a few words come to mind: Brash. Flamboyant. Talented. Organized.

When digging deeper and considering the death of the Mob’s co-founder, friend and mentor, A$AP Yams: Persevering. Understanding. Tight-knit. Stubborn. Human.

All of these traits come together to form the driving force behind the collective’s new mixtape, and tribute to Yams, Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1: Friends.

The tape pairs everything fans have come to expect from A$AP Mob — slick, influential beats; polished, primal hooks; bodega skits; volatile energy — with the unexpected — a surplus of “cloud-rap” features, triplet flows and tidbits of mumble-rap.

This contrast is especially visible on tracks like the 808-laced “London Town”, and the dynamic “Runner”, which teams up veteran Mob members like Rocky and Ant with Lil Uzi Vert and relative newcomer Playboi Carti.

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Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 has yielded some of Rocky’s best work since 2011’s Live. Love. A$AP and it comes as no surprise.

Considering the fact that Uzi and Carti are two of 15 features on the tape (excluding A$AP Mob members), it’s clear that Rocky has no shortage of friends. He performs best when he’s in good company and it shows on tracks like “Way Hii”, with BJ The Chicago Kid and Wiz Khalifa, as well as “Put That On My Set”, with UK grime-lord, Skepta.

Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 has yielded some of Rocky’s best work since 2011’s Live. Love. A$AP and it comes as no surprise. Rocky has always struggled a little to stay afloat on his solo projects. Some of his most talked about, post-Live. Love. A$AP songs are ones with features, like “PMW” featuring ScHoolboy Q and “F*ckin’ Problems” featuring 2 Chainz, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

Where the mixtape falls short, however, is on tracks like “Bachelor”. Admittedly, it’s not that bad. The song’s beat may be a little dinky, but Lil Yachty makes it work. The main issue with this song is that it just seems out of place. Sandwiched in between murky tracks like “Runner”, and “Telephone Calls”, its bright, pop-like melody stands out negatively. “Bachelor” may wield big names like Yachty, Madeintyo and Offset, of Atlanta’s power-trio, Migos, but nonetheless, it disappoints. One can’t help but think that it could have been a hell of a lot better.

Despite this, Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1: Friends is the best project to come from A$AP Mob as a collective. It’s classic A$AP with a modern twist, complete with lots of features and woozy beats tuned to perfection. Yams would be proud.

Photo by. Kimi Selfridge / AWGE courtesy of Sony Music Canada