Calling ASAP Rocky's LiveLoveA$AP a mixtape is less an act of description than an aesthetic statement. Technically, these 16 bass-blurred purple drank tracks constitute a mixtape because they're available for free on the internet. But the aesthetic is what's important: LiveLoveA$AP is a refutation of New York hip hop and the gilded event-albums that have come to define it. Rocky has made no secret of his disdain for Harlem's rap culture, and his love of all things Houston is evident from the leviathan opening beats of "Palace" to his persistently un-New York twang.
It's southern rap that proves the South begins at 59th Street, but internecine heresy is not what makes LiveLoveA$AP so remarkable. If the development of rap can be understood as the exploration of ever more conversational flows, ASAP Rocky is friggin' Magellan. He is a master of meter, constructing rhymes whose diction dictates rhythm so surely that they seem to rap themselves. Rocky is bringing the triplet back like he's in Naughty By Nature. After an hour of LiveLoveA$AP, Ghostface sounds like Kurtis Blow. The lyrics are startling and lazy in turn, but the flow is audacious, and real like the day after yesterday.