The Gang Worships ALLA


importer [9:20 PM] damn
squints [9:20 PM] first staffchat in almost a month
importer [9:20 PM] the Celtics were still in the playoffs
importer [9:20 PM] Caitlyn Jenner was still Bruce Jenner
importer [9:20 PM] @dkataja was still a college student!
squints [9:21 PM] riley curry wasn’t a household name
dkataja [9:21 PM] Riley Curry is bae
squints [9:21 PM] shit. should we just make this staffchat “things that happened since the last time we were productive?"
importer [9:22 PM] hahah itll all play in
importer [9:22 PM] real quick though: at the same time everyone predict the NBA Final real quick
dkataja [9:22 PM] I watched the entire Friday Night Lights series
importer [9:22 PM] when it turns 9:23 enter winning team and how many games
dkataja [9:23 PM] Warriors in 6. Steph MVP
importer [9:23 PM] Dubs in 3
squints [9:23 PM] cavs in 7
squints [9:23 PM] in the most-heartbreaking fashion
importer [9:23 PM] James Michael Macadon't MVP
dkataja [9:23 PM] Wow Squints
squints [9:23 PM] (for our readers: i’m a massive warriors fan)
squints [9:24 PM] but the other night i happened to stumble on this: squints [9:24 PM]

importer [9:24 PM] oooooooooo
importer [9:25 PM] i'd cut him now to spare them
squints [9:25 PM] over three and a half years ago. you think lil b cares? no.
importer [9:26 PM] to all our readers, Darren just spilled his drink
squints [9:26 PM] i’m convinced that twenty years from now there’s going to be a 30 For 30 on Lil B, and this is going to be the start of act II
squints [9:27 PM] “what if i told you that there’s a god? what if i told you this god is a vengeful one?"
dkataja [9:27 PM] I just hope he stays off Riley Curry
importer [9:27 PM] a story like that can bring it to Babe Ruth level curses
importer [9:27 PM] I can say that because that ish got reversed years ago
dkataja [9:28 PM] And I did spill my drink. It was the last of a glass of Arnold Palmer. smh
squints [9:29 PM] “what if i told you the league’s best scorer would fall afoul of a rapper due to a lack of dance move citation, and this would affect the course of the very playoffs?"
squints [9:29 PM] “what if i told you this god looked like george bush? thirty years, thirty filmmakers, thirty stories."
dkataja [9:29 PM] It's going to spread to other sports, too. You know other athletes have tweeted about lil b
importer [9:30 PM] "Thank You, Based God" directed by M. Night Shamylan
squints [9:30 PM] what a world, you guys. what a time to be alive
dkataja [9:30 PM] At least there's some pretty good music to enjoy through it all
importer [9:31 PM] Before we get to music
importer [9:31 PM] Readers
importer [9:31 PM] We've been off our game
importer [9:32 PM] Whether it was crazy amounts of work, finals, house hunting, apartment keeping, teaching etc we can admit that we fell off a bit
squints [9:32 PM] it’s wednesday and i’ve already clocked 34 hours of work this week!
dkataja [9:33 PM] I've mostly just been partying, if we're being honest
importer [9:33 PM] But like Willis Reed, chokers, and maybe even the south, Earhole will rise again!
squints [9:33 PM] as you should, young padawan
dkataja [9:33 PM] ^^definitely the south
squints [9:33 PM] earhole is now a lynyrd skynyrd fan blog
dkataja [9:35 PM] The first step to recovery is admitting you need to recover. The next is writing a kickass blog about music
dkataja [9:35 PM] So with that, what're we talking about tonight boys? squints [9:36 PM] so among all the aforementioned things in our absence, a lot has happened with rap music
importer [9:36 PM] A$AP Rocky's AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
squints [9:36 PM] so just a precursor to this discussion, i have been fanboying HARD to this record
importer [9:37 PM] ive been listening to the album like crazy
importer [9:37 PM] i won't say non-stop because Florence + The Machine and Jaime xx broke that streak this week
squints [9:37 PM] this album is pretty much the reason i’m currently surviving
squints [9:37 PM] (i still need to listen to jamie btw)
importer [9:38 PM] (it's really good)
importer [9:38 PM] but man, where to start with this album
importer [9:39 PM] A$AP's gotta be the smoothest rapper out there right now, right?
squints [9:39 PM] oh man where to start
squints [9:40 PM] here’s a good start actually: did any of y’all watch killer mike on GGN with snoop the other week?
importer [9:40 PM] fuck yes i did
dkataja [9:43 PM] squints [9:43 PM] perfect there ya go
importer [9:44 PM] curious to how you'll make this transition
importer [9:44 PM] hahah
squints [9:44 PM] so the most interesting thing about this is mike talking about regional hip hop, and he makes the claim that the “west has always fucked with the south” and vice versa. and that’s true
importer [9:45 PM] ooooo i like where this is going
squints [9:45 PM] but aside from occasional collabs (UGK and jay on “big pimpin’” for instance) new york has kept itself relatively segregated
squints [9:45 PM] A$AP rocky — and so much of this is because of yams, RIP — changed this
squints [9:46 PM] this is pretty obvious. listen to the hook on “goldie."
squints [9:46 PM] and my point here is, ALLA is a southern rap album importer [9:46 PM] chopped and screwed just like Houston rap
importer [9:46 PM] wait
importer [9:46 PM] i disagree
squints [9:47 PM] oh i’m going to expand on this, don’t worry
importer [9:47 PM] aight ill wait
squints [9:48 PM] let’s look at M$ for instance. the 2 chainz sample is huge, just throwing out heaps of love
squints [9:48 PM] wayne’s verse on that is huge too, probably the best verse he’s spat since tha carter III. (also we should talk about “glory” at some point)
squints [9:48 PM] and look at the features. THERE’S A FUCKING PIMP C VERSE
importer [9:49 PM] RIP
squints [9:49 PM] i thought kendrick was ballsy for the tupac thing, and then rocky GOT A PIMP C VERSE
squints [9:50 PM] so the southern influences are definitely the most noteworthy part of this record for me. but that’s just the foundation
importer [9:50 PM] Rocky's best asset is his ability to create an atmosphere
squints [9:50 PM] this album goes so far beyond southern rap, but rather than branching out from new york (like rocky’s past material) he’s branching out from the south on this record
squints [9:50 PM] thoughts?
dkataja [9:51 PM] Do you think he was feeling pent up by New York?
importer [9:51 PM] so I definitely agree that there is a southern rap influence across this album
importer [9:51 PM] but I think LONG.LIVE.A$AP was more Southern than this one
importer [9:52 PM] and I think the struggles with Rocky's first commericial album were that it was disjointed
squints [9:52 PM] that’s definitely true
importer [9:53 PM] the mix of radio hits (Goldie, Fuckin Problems) didnt mesh well with the other tracks (LVL, 1Train, etc.)
importer [9:53 PM] A.L.L.A. is more cohesive
dkataja [9:53 PM] There are no "Goldie" or "Fuckin' Problems" on ALLA
importer [9:53 PM] no radio cuts
dkataja [9:54 PM] Right, not unlike a convo we had re: Kendrick
dkataja [9:54 PM] And a convo we could have about a lot of recent rap
importer [9:54 PM] and the only clear club anthem I think is "Electric Body"
squints [9:55 PM] i hope we reach a point in society where “LPFJ2” is a radio hit
importer [9:55 PM] I love that all the singles he put out all sound so different
dkataja [9:56 PM] So, Porter, you're saying he's more cohesive here, but also style-switching?
dkataja [9:56 PM] Does that jive?
importer [9:56 PM] exactly, he's showing his range without ostracizing any of his songs
squints [9:56 PM] another thing about the singles selection while we’re talking about that
dkataja [9:57 PM] I agree Porter; nothing on here seems too out of left field (edited)
importer [9:57 PM] and that's no easy task
squints [9:57 PM] i LOVED how different the singles were from the album versions. leaving the wayne verse off M$, including the snippet of “excuse me” in the L$D video
squints [9:58 PM] the album felt like i was hearing them for the first time, even though i’d listened to the singles countless times.
squints [9:58 PM] (i’m throwing shade at action bronson here, sadly)
dkataja [9:58 PM] Taking another page from Kendrick's book, imo
importer [9:58 PM] ^
squints [9:58 PM] yeah, that’s a great parallel
squints [9:58 PM] it’s so easy to leak all the good tracks on an album, so what you wind up with is great songs you’ve heard and then filler
squints [9:59 PM] and rocky completely avoided that pitfall here
importer [10:00 PM] link link link
dkataja [10:00 PM] dkataja [10:02 PM] Something I read today on Pitchfork about the Jamie xx album (which yes, Squints, you need to listen to) talked about how Jamie navigated the line between "song" and "track" expertly
dkataja [10:02 PM] I don't think it's a stretch to apply that to A$AP here, in terms of his singles as "songs" on their own and as "tracks" in the context of the album as a whole
squints [10:03 PM] i think that’s a great point
importer [10:06 PM] That video is so good
importer [10:06 PM] Jesus
importer [10:07 PM] So let's rank these singles
importer [10:09 PM] L$D, Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2, M'$, Everyday and am I missing one?
importer [10:09 PM] bummed that Multiply didnt make the album, but it was for the best
squints [10:09 PM] yep, great song
importer [10:11 PM] My ranking is 1.) M'$, 2.) L$D 3.)LPFJ2 and 4.) Everyday
squints [10:12 PM] get out of my brain
importer [10:13 PM] Pantheon Weezy verse on "M'$"
dkataja [10:13 PM] I'm with you on that too actually. An Earhole Consensus!
squints [10:13 PM] well to be fair you can’t include that in a singles ranking
squints [10:13 PM] hashtag semantics
squints [10:13 PM] hashtag pedantry
dkataja [10:13 PM] hashtag details
dkataja [10:14 PM] hashtag minutiae
importer [10:14 PM] and Rocky's is damn good too: "Me and Yams made the plan/ Then I paid myself and I gave myself advance/Way before I became myself/ I'd like to thank myself because I made myself the man"
squints [10:16 PM] moment to acknowledge how great rocky is with internal rhyming


importer [10:16 PM] again, he's a smooth motherfucker
importer [10:16 PM] unlike Chance and others, he makes it look easy. he doesn't let you see him sweat
dkataja [10:17 PM] Chance to me seems the most relaxed
dkataja [10:17 PM] like he's just talking to you
dkataja [10:17 PM] different style than A$AP, but still smooth imo
importer [10:18 PM] true, but he can be jittery AF
squints [10:18 PM] yeah chance’s flow isn’t relaxed at all IMO
dkataja [10:18 PM] Maybe smooth is the wrong word for Chance
squints [10:18 PM] subdued at times maybe. not smooth
importer [10:18 PM] Chance is a virtuoso lyricist
importer [10:19 PM] but if I'm kicking back, I'm turning on Rocky 8 times out of 10
importer [10:20 PM] other than the singles, what else pops out in this album for you guys?
dkataja [10:20 PM] I've touched on it a little bit already, but there's Kendrick influences all over this album
dkataja [10:21 PM] I think Kendrick inspired A$AP to grow up a little bit. Leave "Fuckin' Problems" behind and get more real with us, with something like "Holy Ghost"
importer [10:22 PM] big fan of "Holy Ghost"
dkataja [10:23 PM] Me too. Big step forward for him, content-wise
dkataja [10:23 PM] And I think content was the focus here, rather than radio spins
importer [10:23 PM] Squints? Other than the southern influence of course
dkataja [10:24 PM] The one weird content thing was the reference to domestic violence.
dkataja [10:24 PM] And it's actually the same instance both times. Schoolboy Q and Lil Wayne both call out Ike and Tina Turner
dkataja [10:24 PM] Ya'll have any insight in to why that specific example made it on ALLA twice?
squints [10:24 PM] ah shit. yeah i noticed that
squints [10:25 PM] i hope that’s an accident
importer [10:25 PM] Ike has been in hip hop pedagogy for years, but still equally confused as to why after these past few years its still a thing
importer [10:25 PM] post-Rihanna and all
dkataja [10:26 PM] Yeah..."Whip that bitch like Ike" was really not a line that needed to be on this album
importer [10:27 PM] ScHoolboy Q plays by his own rules
dkataja [10:27 PM] A critique our partner in crime Treske made was that ALLA was too long
dkataja [10:27 PM] What do y'all think about that?
importer [10:27 PM] which I completely agree, there's some fat to be tripped
importer [10:27 PM] *trimmed
dkataja [10:28 PM] Honestly, I'd trim "Everyday"
importer [10:28 PM] JD
dkataja [10:28 PM] When I played the album, I didn't know it was a single. Did the least for me.
dkataja [10:28 PM] Definitely JD
importer [10:28 PM] Dreams (Interlude)
importer [10:28 PM] and good lord, Kanye's verse on "Jukebox Joints"
squints [10:29 PM] oh man how have we not touched on that
squints [10:29 PM] i think maybe i’d managed to block that out
importer [10:29 PM] this is the first musical L Ye's taken since "New Workout Plan"
squints [10:29 PM] you shut up
importer [10:29 PM] hahahah
squints [10:30 PM] miri ben ari in that video is the GOAT music video cameo
importer [10:30 PM] I pray at the house of Yeezus, but he's been making me nervous recently
importer [10:31 PM] FOMO/ four more made me cringe
dkataja [10:32 PM] Is that his Matt Leinart / trojan line?
dkataja [10:32 PM] Sometimes the best rap is no rap
importer [10:32 PM] the Cyhi/Mendoza line hahaha
squints [10:33 PM] haha
dkataja [10:33 PM] Let's wrap this up on a higher note.
importer [10:33 PM] alright, if that's the low point of the album I have to name the high point
importer [10:34 PM] to me it was without a doubt "Max B"
dkataja [10:34 PM] squints [10:34 PM] yes
importer [10:35 PM] Its an homage to Harlem rapper of the same name, incarcerated with a 75 year sentence
dkataja [10:35 PM] (For our readers: A$AP Rocky is from Harlem)
importer [10:36 PM] in the song Rocky questions his past decisions and how close he was to being just like Max B
importer [10:36 PM] how it all couldve been for nothing
importer [10:38 PM] "Now this the kind of story that should make doves cry/ Fuck that, this the story that should make thugs cry/ Dry your eyes, older sis, held 'em close, watch em twitch/ Gave em a kiss in the midst of all this/ Aint to late to pause or skip..."
importer [10:38 PM] Peak ASAP lyricism, probably one of his finest songs in this department
dkataja [10:38 PM] Agreed.
dkataja [10:39 PM] Worth mentioning Joe Fox too, the guitarist and actually the vocalist for the hook
importer [10:39 PM] under that is the fucking meaning Boom Bap beat, sounding straight out of the NY sound
squints [10:39 PM] yeah, super gritty
squints [10:39 PM] also that song never feels preachy, which is the best part of it for me
importer [10:39 PM] intertwined so perfectly with that Joe Fox chorus that sound eerily like Tracy Chapman
squints [10:40 PM] it’s not some cheesy slick rick “children’s story” shit, it’s not a cautionary tale
dkataja [10:40 PM] It's not "don't do this." it's "this happened."
squints [10:40 PM] it’s careful self reflection and fear, which makes it so much more powerful than if he’d gone a less oblique route


importer [10:41 PM] and with the sample of a Max B chorus from "Baby I Wonder" floating over it all like a ghost haunting everything
importer [10:41 PM] it's chilling because that little subtle sample gives it this amazing spin
importer [10:42 PM] literally the voice of Max B is haunting Rocky
importer [10:42 PM] I'm gonna say it's the best song he's ever put out IMHO
dkataja [10:43 PM] If A$AP Yams is on one of Rocky's shoulders, Max B is on the other
squints [10:43 PM] damn. that’s great
importer [10:43 PM] RIP Yams
dkataja [10:44 PM] If ALLA is any indication, Rocky will live to do him proud