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Notes from the A$AP Rocky Concert

Harlem’s next rap star performed at House of Blues

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A$AP Rocky
Photo: Verena Stefanie Grotto

1. Interscope Records up-and-comer Schoolboy Q rapped the opening set. He asked, "Who got some weed?" Hundreds of fans reassured the rapper, "I got the weed!" —foreshadowing the evening’s most prevalent theme. Soon A$AP Rocky emerges amidst purple lights and smoke.

2. A$AP Rocky often uses iconography containing a black and white, upside down American flag. He reveals the meaning, “We came to turn the world upside down!” before diving into the crowd. A cloud of smoke floats around the dancefloor, and not from pyrotechnics.

3. While fans await his debut studio album, Rocky remains in the growing phase between underground phenomenon and commercial star—you can tell when he sings. It sounds forced and unappealing, but at least he’s got a sense of humor about it. “Make some noise for my good singin'!” he jokes, before admitting, “I don’t think I’m too good at singin' bro-bro. … I'm the only one who could sing bad and make it look good!”

4. It's the Harlem native’s first time to Vegas and the evening’s theme persists. “You hear so much about this place. It's f*cking crazy. How many people like that purple weed? How many people like that purple drank?” He’s talking about lean, a drug popularized in the southern states made from codeine, promethazine, Sprite, and Jolly Ranchers candy. He claims to be a sh*t gambler, but he will play you in craps. "I'm from New York. I play with green dice!"

5. With his A$AP Mob crew onstage, Rocky declares that they’re throwing a party in their suites. “We’ll be gettin' jiggy with it! Hey you girls sisters? You 21? Wisconsin? Nah, too white tho. This sh*t is like a grown-up candy store right now. What's your name boo? Not gonna ask your age 'cuz you look damn well old enough."

6. There’s a fight in the moshpit. Rocky cuts the music and brings the instigator on stage. Trying to keep the peace, the rapper preaches, “It’s all love. We're all family here. I don't want anyone goin' to jail... Go hang backstage,” as part of his posse gives the brawler night-changing credentials.

7. A$AP Rocky takes on race issues: “On some real sh*t, it's on us to eliminate racism for real. I know it sounds random but I look around and see different ethnicities partying in one room. Makes me proud to be me. Don't discriminate against anyone. I'm no saint. I'm no angel. I smoke weed, I sip lean.”

8. "What kind of drugs white girls like?" "Cocaine," his bro replied before rapping a song about “cocaine white bitches." Makes a bystander wonder aloud, “would a white guy rapping crack black bitches be kosher or racist?" A$AP attempts his second crowd surf. This time, not so successful as he dives into a crowd of unaware bystanders. Perhaps the lean has him tippin’.

9. A$AP Rocky has become known for avant-garde street style. In an interview with GQ he explains, “ … I have a voice that speaks for a whole other market—not just black people, but high fashion urban people. I mix street wear with high fashion. It's never been seen before." At the House of Blues he's in a white tee, white bulletproof vest, and black sweat shorts over white long underwear, and a black ski beanie.

10. A$AP Rocky Cheat Sheet:

A$AP Rocky nearly overheated the Internet last year with his LiveLoveA$AP mixtape. Key singles: “Purple Swag” and "Peso."

His hype led to a $3 million deal with Sony, RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. First studio single: "Goldie.”

A$AP Rocky linked up with Rihanna for a remix of "Cockiness (Love It)" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

His first studio album, LongLiveA$AP, got pushed back until 2013. With the postponement he dropped his most commercially viable song to date, “F*ckin Problem” featuring Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz.

Bonus! Check yourself: "A$AP" stands for which of the following?

(A) Always Strive and Prosper.

(B) Assassinate Snitches and Police.

(C) Acronym Symbolizing Any Meaning.

(D) All the above.

Answer: (D)

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