Darold Ferguson Jr., or A$AP Ferg as he is more commonly known, first turned heads in 2012 when he appeared on the mediocre A$AP Mob mixtape, Lords Never Worry. In songs like ‘Bangin on Waxx’ and ‘Persian Wine’, Ferg gave us an idea of what we might expect from his future projects, with a sing-song style flow reminiscent of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and banging beats with filthy bass. Ferg’s first album (originally announced as a mixtape), Trap Lord, did not disappoint when it was released in the summer of 2013 and featured hit singles such as ‘Shabba’ and the posse cut ‘Work (Remix)’, both featuring fellow A$AP Mob member A$AP Rocky.
Fifteen months have passed since Trap Lord dropped and now A$AP Ferg has provided me with my much-needed Ferg Fix. Admittedly I am a huge fan but I started listening to Ferg Forever with an open mind because I only really liked one of the three songs that were leaked before the release of the mixtape. However, once again, Ferg delivered the goods. This mixtape has instantly become one of my favourite hip hop releases of 2014, along with albums such as Run the Jewels 2, ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata, Mac Miller’s Faces and Big K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica.
The general production quality on Ferg Forever is superb, as is the variety of beats. These range from classic Ferg-esque bangers like ‘Jungle’ and ‘Reloaded’, to the dancehall inspired ‘Jolly’, to funky experimental tracks like ‘Weaves’ and ‘Real Thing’. Up-and-coming producer Stelios Phili offers five remarkable beats for this mixtape and other notable production features include Clams Casino, Mike Will Made It, and Big K.R.I.T. Lead single ‘Doe-Active’ blends a futuristic mix of sounds perfectly with Ferg’s claims that he has “a hundred dollar bill for every bump on your face”. Much like ‘Doe-Active’, many of the tracks on this mixtape fuse the definitive hard-hitting “Fergenstein” bass with a plethora of captivating samples and ad-libs. Furthermore, the artist features on Ferg Forever are generally well-placed; Big Sean shows us how much he has improved over the last year on ‘Ja-Rule’, Top Dawg Entertainment’s SZA delivers a catchy hook on ‘Real Thing’, and A$AP Nast lays down a couple of good verses on the gritty ‘NV’.
One of the things I was most impressed with on Ferg Forever was A$AP Ferg’s development as a character. Whilst delivering the sort of ignorant bangers that I loved on Trap Lord, Ferg finds time to be introspective and tell us about something a bit more meaningful than killing and hustling. On ‘Bonnaroo’, he proclaims his happiness at being crowned the ‘King of Bonnaroo 2014’ by MTV after his outstanding festival performance. Alternatively, on ‘Uncle’, he spits over a sombre Clams Casino beat about how he still loves his uncle, despite all the messed-up stuff that he did in the past, although Ferg instructs him to not walk back into his life. The topic of Ferg’s uncle appears once again on ‘Commitment Issues’, one of the most personal tracks on the mixtape, in which Ferg laments at his lack of commitment, having inherited it from his father, who inherited it from his father and so on.
Overall, I was very impressed with A$AP Ferg’s second project. Unfortunately, as is the case with most mixtapes or albums, there are some songs that, would have been better left out. Nonetheless, Ferg Forever bangs so unbelievably hard that I really don’t mind the filler. If you need me I’ll be in the club trying to convince people that the ‘Dope Walk’ is the next big dance-craze.