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Review: “Cozy Tapes Vol. 1” – A$AP Mob

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It’s been almost two years since the untimely death of A$AP Yams. The founder of A$AP Mob was a hip-hop connoisseur, a colorful Twitter personality and the visionary behind the star that A$AP Rocky has become. The release of Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 commemorates the life of Yams, and places a spotlight on what he stood for, but it is also a celebration album, showcasing that hip-hop is beautiful, the Mob is thriving and Yams is forever.

The first A$AP Mob mixtape was released in 2012. The tape was 18 tracks long and played out like a Houston-Harlem fusion of underground hip hop over menacing beats. Fast forward four years and Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 shows just how much has changed since the release of Lord$ Never Worry. Despite the collaborative nature of Cozy Tapes the project plays through like a normal album with exceptional features from a slew of hip-hop’s hottest artists.

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The tape begins with ‘Yamborghini High’ featuring Juicy J. The song was released earlier this year as an ode to Yams. Immediately following is ‘Crazy Brazy.’ This song hits hard. A$AP Rocky bodies his verse and the momentum continues with A$AP Twelvvy’s second verse. Atlanta’s KEY! is featured on the song, offering adlib like interjections throughout each rapper’s verse. ‘Way Hii’ slows down the pace of the album, allowing BJ The Chicago Kid, Buddy and Rocky to drop bars over smoky production from Lil Awree.

Two songs later listeners really get into the meat of the album. ‘Nasty’s World,’ ‘Money Man’ and ‘Put That on My Set’ are the best Mob-themed rap songs of the album. ‘Nasty’s World’ features a killer sample of James Browns’ ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ over a bass heavy beat featuring a flurry of violin strings. A$AP Nast, the most improved member of the mob, spits two impressive verses and gets some nice hooks from singer, Onyx.

Next up is ‘Money Man,’ the quintessential A$AP Mob song. Yams is in heaven right now, cozy as hell, sipping some Henny listening to this on repeat. ‘Put That on My Set’ brings listeners back down to earth. Lil Awree’s production sounds like a codeine-induced dream allowing A$AP Rocky to get extra cozy. He raps slowly, yet purposefully before the UK grime legend Skepta takes over the second verse. The mellow beat is drastically different compared to grime’s high BPM production, but Skepta proves his versatility on the mic gliding along with ease.

The latter half of the album is a direct appeal to the contemporary hip hop landscape. Four more tracks featuring the likes of Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, MadeinTYO, Offset and more. The last four tracks also exemplify the spirit of Yams who was willing to help out anyone who he thought might have a future in hip-hop.

Bringing together everything that Yams stood for, his entrepreneurial spirit, his unique fashion sense and equally unique sense of humor, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 is the perfect collaborative ode to A$AP Yams. The album also serves as a reminder that there is no looking back. The A$AP Mob has come a long way since their Harlem beginnings, and Cozy Tapes is just the tip of the iceberg.  

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