A$AP Rocky, the hip-hop young gun who grabbed Rihanna’s backside when joining her on stage at the Video Music Awards last September, transcends his Pretty Flacko persona on his highly-anticipated debut album, Long.Live.A$AP.
While most rappers have used their trials to justify their gravitation to street life, on Long.Live.A$AP’s “Phoenix” the 24-year-old MC offers another perspective – depression.
The rapper whose parents named him Rakim, after the respected hip-hop icon, said hard times have sometimes lead him to consider taking his life.
In the opening lyrics of “Phoenix,” he raps, “Bloody ink on my pen spelled suicide. Michael Jackson even passed because you scrutinized.”
A$AP takes a few lines to boast but returns to describing the impact of being the victim of lies, referencing the likes of Kurt Kobain and Jesus Christ. Instead of offering a venomous response to his detractors, A$AP decided to better himself: “That’s why I never judged another n-gga,” he rhymes.
The somber, mood-setting track produced by Danger Mouse flourishes with slow-paced keys, distorted backing vocals and memorializing marching band drums.
In an interview with MTV, A$AP describes the origins of the sadness. “You hurt so bad and you’re going through so much pain to the point that sometimes you don’t want to live no more,” he says.
He believes many people struggle with the same issue. “Those are natural feelings that we all get sometimes,” he adds. “That’s how a lot of people lived or a lot of people think whether they like to admit it or not.”
But he maintains that he didn’t share his emotions to earn tough guy stripes. “I’m not glorifying it,” he says. “I’m just basically telling you that sometimes I have suicidal thoughts.”