How many A$APs are too many?
At Thursday night’s A$AP Ferg show at the Howard Theatre, the young rapper was surrounded by members of the A$AP Mob collective. There was A$AP Addie, A$AP Twelvyy, Snugsworth, A$AP Nast. The smoky stage hosted so many bouncing bodies, with any one of them jumping off the stage into the crowd’s growing mosh pit at any given moment, that it was hard to keep count.
It’s not too surprising that Ferg so frequently gave up the reins to his own tour to showcase his friends. Just as age-group peers Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator represent Odd Future, and Joey Bada$$ comes with his Pro Era crew, Ferg is part of a generation of younger hip-hop stars benefitting from a supportive net of independently-minded collaborators.
Even as Ferg took the stage, nearly an hour behind schedule and lost in the fog of overblown smoke machines, the Mob’s presence was united; every member wore a “Friday the 13th”-style hockey mask while rapping “Lord,” the man of the hour’s first song of the night. Ferg shined when he stepped into the spotlight; he was charismatic and earnest on “Lord” and “Cocaine Castle” and more than ready to crowd surf during the rowdy hook of “A Hundred Million Roses.” At other times he was perfectly fine with letting his minions spray water into the crowd and tumble about in lieu of doing so himself.
On his solo debut, “Trap Lord,” Ferg is a stand-alone star supported by the talents of his recruits, including veterans Onyx and Bone Thugs N Harmony, as well as experimental millennials Trinidad James and Schoolboy Q. On Thursday, he was frequently on the sidelines by choice, which was odd considering he teased his fans about their restlessness and lack of enthusiasm. But once he finally got around to the crowd-pleasing “Work” and “Shabba” — the hits that most of the audience had waited hours to hear — he returned to form. He was triumphant, confident and well aware that he was the star of the evening’s show. And although all might be well that ends well, it was clear that the hundreds in attendance would have been thrilled with a little less of the A$APs and a whole lot more of Ferg.
Patel is a freelance writer.