ASAP Rocky took it to the next level last week at Sotheby’s in New York City, where he debuted his performance art called “Lab Rat”. In an interview with the New York Times, ASAP nonchalantly shrugged off his position in high fashion. “I proved my point in fashion,” he said. “Is it necessary for me to be at the Met Gala every year?” he asked. “I bodied that.”
Moving on from the glitz and glamour of fashion, he instead made a sharp turn towards the world of art. Rocky placed himself in a large glass box in the center of the seventh floor of Sotheby’s surrounded by tools of torture: exercise equipment, holes in the wall through which he could be touched, a large pool of ice water.
According to ASAP, the box was “a metaphor for me being distracted”. It had been three years since Rocky had released an album, and he begin to felt like his fans were fading away. It’s always been an internal battle for ASAP to stick to his own personal aesthetic, or to rap along to tracks that will get radio play. For example, he recently rapped the hook on G Eazy’s “No Limit”, which hit #4 on the Hot 100 chart. “Sometimes I’m frustrated. I’m in limbo, like, do you cash out or do you stay genuine to your craft? I would sleep better at night knowing that I’m me”.
As the performance went on, Rocky slowly revealed small symbols as to what the details in the act meant to his career. According to the New York Times; “Once Rocky was inside the box, a pair of examiners in lab coats peppered him with questions of varying degrees of intimacy and cruelty: “What do you like least about your own body?” “In 100 years, do you think anyone’s going to remember your music?” They made him dunk his head in the ice water; he lasted 56 seconds. As he came up, gasping for air, the male examiner announced, “The subject will do better,” and made him go again.
The performance ultimately lead to him announcing the release of his fourth album, “Testing” which dropped on Friday. Rocky calls the album, “his version of trip hop”. He took the term quite literally especially in the creation of the track “Praise the Lord (Da Shine)” which he produced with Skepta while they were both on acid.
“CALLDROPS” is another standout on the album for me, which surprisingly features Kodak Black. You, like many others, may be wondering how this is possible. The song fades in with samples from the Florida Correctional Institution, and you overhear Kodack rapping his verse from his jail cell over the phone.
The album is moody, experimental, and what you’ve come to expect from ASAP in terms of style. There are features from almost all of your faves; from Kid Cudi and FKA Twigs, to Frank Ocean and French Montana. It’s absolutely worth a listen and is available for streaming on all major platforms.
Repeat track- Purity, Tony Tone, Fukk Sleep, ASAP Forever Skip track- Buck Shots, Guns N Butter