The sea of canvas bucket hats, military camo jackets and gold everything gathered at the Roseland Monday night was not for the Colombian cartel’s annual conference but for A$AP Rocky’s fourth West Coast stop on his LIVELOVEA$AP tour. The concert at the Roseland was as raucous as a hip-hop show should be, and the sold-out crowd was ecstatic to see three of 2012’s most explosive acts.
Openers included Detroit’s flamboyant Danny Brown and Los Angeles up-and-comer Schoolboy Q, known for his stoner nihilism and “black hippie shit.” Frustrated by the Roseland’s no smoking policy, the bubbly rapper crowdsurfed, taunted rent-a-cops and was gifted several bras from the female members of the audience. “It doesn’t matter what you love or what you look like,” Q said. “Black, white, Chinese, Latina—we all just here to fucking party and smoke weed, y’all.”
As the lights dimmed to an eerie purple, A$AP Mob, wearing hockey masks, took the stage on separate pedestals and remained motionless until "that Pretty Mothafucka" catapulted onto the stage, then straight into the audience. Returning to the stage with the crowd’s full attention, Rocky went into his newest hit, “Purple Kisses,” causing a slew of coos from the high schoolers lining the railing. Amid the orchestrated chaos, Rocky delivered the trillwave sound he’s famous for, and his humble voice even managed to defeat the often spotty Roseland Theater sound system.
Around halfway into Rocky’s set, the entire A$AP crew join him for a number of songs off of their mixtape, LORD$ DON’T WORRY. While it was good to get a taste for what the boys around Rocky are producing, the show became more of a party than musical act, with members of the group casually leaving the stage during songs. Rocky even sat down to take a breather at one point. Eventually, the lights dimmed back to purple, leaving Rocky in the spotlight to return to some softer poetics.
Between songs, Rocky hyped up the crowd through a series of rambling, pre-recorded musings on our generation’s revolution. These strange samplings—part story, part philosophizing, part drug-addled rant—caused the crowd to stir anxiously, but they helped build tension from one song to the next. The crowd went crazy as Rocky sang the beginning of “Goldie” a capella, before bringing down the house with one of his trillest beats.
For the encore, Schoolboy Q and A$AP Mob joined in to perform “Hands on the Wheel.” In the show’s final moments, as he fell over laughing at Schoolboy’s ridiculous antics, Rocky flashed his boyish, gold-toothed smile. He knew he’d given the crowd what it came to see: His fashionable charisma, and his prophetic musings on the Trill Generation.