A$AP Rocky w/ A$AP Mob @ The Rave
Oct. 12, 2012
That wasn’t really Rocky’s fault; it was more a product of a variety of factors that conspired to turn a perfectly good rap show into an occasionally frustrating affair. In a live setting, the genre has a tendency to give short shrift to mid-range frequencies, which, when filtered through the Rave’s crummy acoustics and sound mixing, only leaves an overwhelming amount of bass punctuated by shrill bursts of treble. So it was that most vocals were reduced to mumbles under the weight of the buzzing low end, while those ubiquitous, gleefully corny Jamaican horn stabs cut through loud (very loud) and clear. These kinds of problems grow exponentially with more people onstage, a fact thrown into sharp relief here since the headlining slot was split between Rocky himself (with just a wingman to swap rhymes with) and the entire A$AP Mob. This split isn’t surprising, given Rocky’s slim solo catalog, but it made things on the whole feel rather uneven.
When Rocky was given the spotlight, though, the brash, charismatic MC made the most of it, and thankfully, without all those other voices to contend with, the sound guy was able to make the most of those moments too. The group portions of the show weren’t atrocious or anything, just not what they could have been. The A$AP sound, like many distilled from the long legacy of Southern party rap, is nasty enough and raw enough, in a good way, that it would be hard for any but the most inept sound men to kill its appeal completely. Also, thanks to Rocky’s budding fame, the turnout was high and people were excited (and/or stoned, judging by the amount of smoke in the air; this is the man who brought you the hit single/ode to marijuana “Purple Swag,” after all), giving off a lively vibe that A$AP responded to and reciprocated. It may not have sounded all that good, but that didn’t stop the crew, or the audience, from having a good time.