"Goldie"

Twenty-three-year-old Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky is a baby-faced young adult who could pass for a teenager. But he's got the soul of a classicist. "Goldie," the first single from the rising star's forthcoming major-label debut (due in July), is his latest exercise in hip-hop basics: It's full of relentless boasts and insults, delivered with low-key wit and admirably little fuss. The beat, by red-hot producer Hit-Boy ("Ni**as in Paris"), is full of keyboard blips and spacey vocal chorales, and A$AP Rocky's rhymes fall in the sweet spot between sublime and ridiculous: "You could call me Billy Gates, got a crib in every state," he raps. "Man on the moon, got a condo out in space."

Listen to A$AP Rocky's "Goldie":

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Photos: Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1156: May 10, 2012