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PartnersJuly 5, 2018

A brief history of A$AP Rocky’s unlikeliest collaborations that actually turned out to be pretty good


Listen In, a mini-festival featuring A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Skepta and Lil Skies, was announced this week. To celebrate, Hussein Moses found five of A$AP Rocky’s best (and weirdest) collaborations.

A$AP Rocky, rapper, actor and hopeful saviour of Under Armour (remember Curry 2s, anyone?), is on his way to Auckland’s Spark Arena this September for Listen In, a mini-festival that also features an all-star lineup of Skepta, Skrillex and Lil Skies. The show comes off the back of Listen Out, an Australian hip-hop and electronic music festival that last year saw one guy creatively attempt to elude sniffer dogs with Vegemite, cling wrap and some wishful thinking (spoiler: he failed).

Rocky’s no stranger to combining rap with electronica. In fact, he’s made a career out of unlikely collaborations that actually turned out to be pretty good. And next on his list is linking up with Morrissey. “I might have to fuck with Morrissey, on some Smiths shit,” he told Complex. “Make some emo, real, retro-infusion, motherfuckin’ 2018 shit, man.” We won’t be holding our breath for that one, but history proves we probably shouldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. Besides, it couldn’t be worse than what Waka Flocka Flame and Good Charlotte cooked up. Right?

Here are all the A$AP Rocky collaborations we didn’t see coming, but fully deserve your time.

‘A$AP Forever’ feat. Moby

Could it really be time for a Moby resurgence? ‘A$AP Forever’, from Rocky’s third and most recent album Testing, makes a pretty strong case for it. Featuring a predominate sample of ‘Porcelain’, one of eight hit singles from Moby’s signature 1999 album Play (which went seven times platinum in New Zealand), the track showcases Rocky at his boastful best. The vertigo-inducing video for it should also help if you still need convincing.

‘Summer Bummer’ w/ Lana Del Rey

While Lana Del Rey pays homage to music from the ‘60s and ‘70s on her fourth album Lust For Life, the record feels anything but vintage. ‘Summer Bummer’, co-produced by Boi-1da – one of OVO Sound’s in-house producers – is one of two guest spots A$AP Rocky has on the album. Neither feels out of place at all. If anything, Del Rey’s slight detour into hip-hop is the perfect match for her tale of yet another doomed romance.

‘Everyday’ feat. Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson

‘Everyday’ comes by way of a sample from ‘60s Australian band Python Lee Jackson and their standout single ‘In A Broken Dream’, a collaboration with British dad rocker Rod Stewart – sorry, make that Sir Rod Stewart – which was recorded in 1968 and re-released in 1972. 43 years later, with the help of Miguel and Mark Ronson, it would be the basis of one of Rocky’s most introspective singles yet. “My mind, body, soul imprisoned,” he raps. The song would end up going on to be used in the soundtrack to the 2017 remake of Baywatch.

‘I Come Apart’ feat. Florence Welch

“I don’t work with anybody just because they’re hot,” A$AP Rocky said of his duet with Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch. “I wanna work with people because I like their work, their art. That’s all that matters, the art and the culture. That’s it.” Although it might’ve ended up as just a bonus track on his debut album, the hook-heavy ‘I Come Apart’ sees Rocky unexpectedly take note from Welch and belt out an entire verse himself.

‘Wild For The Night’ feat. Skrillex

‘Wild For The Night’ was an outlier when it was released five years ago, but the track opened the door for Skrillex to later team up with other rap heavyweights like Rick Ross, The Game and 2Chainz. This one is a ready-made stadium staple/EDM party anthem from Rocky’s debut album LONG.LIVE.A$AP. One which, if all goes well, will see both Rocky and Skrillex unite to perform it when they play together in New Zealand.

A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Skepta, Lil Skies play Listen In Auckland at Spark Arena, 28 September 2018. Spark has an exclusive pre-sale for Spark customers, available from  8 am Thursday 5 July to 12 pm Monday 9 July.

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