Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 over-welcomes its stay with an abundance of uninspired trap filler.
August has been A$AP Mob’s month. After ASAP Twelvyy dropped his impressive debut album and Ferg put out the decent Still Striving, the Mob were showing an intent to make themselves known as a formidable crew in this oversaturated American rap scene. 2016’s Vol. 1: Friends was a punchy debut with many diverse and memorable cuts. Now only 10 months later, I expected Vol. 2 to be more of the same.
Truth be said, Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 is an absolute mess of an album. It sounds like it was made and put together in 5 minutes, taking a random beat from here and taking a random verse from there and seeing what (just about) fits. Out of 17 tracks, there are zero songs with any listening longevity, most of which consist of half-finished thrown-together ideas for the sake of a release.
This is the case especially for the first half of the album. It kicks off with the forgettable “Perry Aye”, on which Rocky provides a decent verse with catchy alliteration, but Jaden Smith sounds like an absolute prat on the hook, ruining the slight smidge of replay value the track could have had.
[Verse 1: A$AP Rocky]
Out in Paris like I’m Perry Ellis
Parisian people love parasailing
Parallel park the 911
Parisian stones, fuck yo VVS’s
United Kingdom with the French connection
French kissin and Parisian sexin’
While there are some beats here with some potential, the Mob fail to make a good song out of them, such as “Please Shut Up” (among others) which lacks any sort of melody and opts for a repetitive one-line hook. The remaining beats are generic uninspired trap beats with no memorability. It’s as if the Mob are trend-chasing and replicating other artists rather than building on their own experimental sound.
Rocky stands out the most out the whole crew due to his distinctive voice and generally just being a better rapper than his peers. Despite that, even he sounds uninterested with what’s going on. On nearly every verse it’s as if he was daydreaming then was like “Oh I gotta rap now? Okay”. So when Rocky isn’t pulling off a strong rap performance the whole track suffers, because nobody else in the Mob have any strong track presence, specifically ASAP Nast, Twelvyy and Ant, all of whom sound way too similar to tell apart. You get a few decent verses and quotables here and there (e.g. ASAP Ferg on “Walk on Water”: “Hit em with a magazine, make your sneakers lean”), however for the most part the lyrical content and flows are extremely lacklustre.
Luckily the second half of the album is where things pick up the pace. “Bahamas” (track 9) provides the first ear-raising moment of the album with Lil Yachty’s speedy flow and when the beat becomes more layered by the time you get to Key!’s verse. Every verse is stellar, particularly Rocky’s and Schoolboy Q’s, and there is a general sense of chemistry. This chemistry is replicated with the back-to-back exchanges between Rocky and Big Sean on the celebratory “Frat Rules”.
Although I initially rolled my eyes at the sight of three skits on the tracklist, the “Principal Daryl Choad” skit was entertaining in its roleplay as a principal giving a PA announcement to the students of ‘Yamborghini High’ School (“If you do not wish to be left off “Bad and Boujee”, please report to the gym at 2:30. As a reminder, Milly Rock is not allowed anywhere on campus.”)
Even within the context of the album, “RAF” still has not grown on me. Rocky is attempting to convince you that he’s spitting a fire hook (“Please don’t touch my raf”) when it’s actually a yawn-fest. The best part of the song is Frank Ocean’s rapping, however by the time he’s finished it feels like the song is missing a Tyler, The Creator verse.
An ideal tracklist for Cozy Tapes Vol. 2:
1.) Principal Daryl Choad (Skit)
3.) Feels So Good
4.) FYBR (First Year Being Rich)
5.) Blowin’ Minds (Skateboard)
6.) Walk on Water
7.) Wrong (ft. ASAP Rocky & ASAP Ferg)
9.) What Happens
10.) Last Day of Skool (Skit)
To summarise: The bad songs are bad, the average songs are average and the good songs will be forgotten within six months. Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 had three skippable tracks, at best, and at its mere 12-track length was easily enjoyable from start to finish, featuring memorable songs such as “Telephone Calls”, “Yamborghini High”, “Put That on My Set”, “Young Nigga Living” and “Nasty’s World”. On Vol. 2, there is not a single track that’s comparable, but does top Vol. 1 in its attempt at rapping as a crew rather than rapping individually, even though the results are varied.
ASAP Mob could be critically compared to another rap collective, Brockhampton, whom provide a great amount of chemistry and individual personality over their diverse production choices. The Mob on the other hand, lack such chemistry and consistently sound like they are rapping because they have to. Bundle that with the generic Playboi Carti-esque trap beats, unfocused songs, lack of melodic tunes and sense of overall randomness and you get Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 – a prime example of half-assed rap albums being put out in 2017 for the sake of a couple hundred thousand streams.
Rating: 4 / 10
Favourite tracks: “Bahamas”