Saturday, January 20th, 2018

A$AP Ferg – Plain Jane

Plain jane score for a plain jane song.


Ashley John: My local hip hop radio station has been hitting “Plain Jane” hard (actually, mostly the remix with Nicki), so I’ve found myself listening to it as I inch through rush hour traffic. Each time, like new, it hits me with a punch of adrenaline with the toughness that Ferg is best at. It’s nothing special or novel, just enough to get your head nodding and jaw tight. The feeling evaporates as soon as soon as a commercial for laser hair removal comes on afterward, but it makes the mile markers move faster. 

Crystal Leww: All the bad ripoffs of “Slob on My Knob” that managed to find their way to rap radio over the last six months are bad. Both Ferg and G-Eazy did it in ways that only made me desperate to listen to the original instead. “Plain Jane” is flat and lazy, a ploy at capitalizing on a generation that is prone to nostalgia without any real substance to back it up.

Ryo Miyauchi: Who knew in 2012 that early New York backpacker rap revivalists Pro Era would contribute to a straight-up cover of Three 6 Mafia’s “Slob on My Knob” five years down the road? With the Joey Badass debut 1999, the crew aligned itself aesthetically with a specific sphere of rap once repulsed by Memphis or any regional rap from the South for that matter. Though, having Joey and Capital STEEZ rap over Styles of Beyond and ASAP Ferg sing that “Slob” flow is no different in mindset, I suppose. And here, everyone involved again ignores defining their own personality while hoping that aligning themselves with another record can pass as having a personality.

Thomas Inskeep: Nice to hear a mainstream hip-hop record in 2017 that’s not trap, let alone a New Yorker going to the well of Three 6 Mafia for his influence. I don’t love the lyrics, but the beat and Ferg’s flow grab me.

Alfred Soto: Awkward rhymes (“Grandma had the arthritis in her hands, bad!/She was poppin’ pills like rappers in society”) and stiff delivery afflict every verse in an otherwise solid autobiographical reverie. I suspect it’s been a (minor) pop hit because it ain’t trap.

Micha Cavaseno: Ferg had at one point become the member of A$AP that critics seemed to argue would provide the better rapping in opposition to his pal Rocky, and for more or less that’s pretty much still applied to this point. However, whereas Rocky has attempted (to middling success) to catch up to newer and younger talent whom actually pushed formulas he’d cribbed from other rappers, Ferg’s stylistic trajectory is to go further back into studying of ‘real rap’, an attempt to make himself the kind of artist who’s reasonably commercial but still can get those Real Heap-Hap festival checks. “Plain Jane” is basically Three Six Mafia turned into a generic retread for the sake of it, and should be treated with all the affection and reverence of freezer burned chicken tenders. The production is stiff, Ferg is lifeless, and you end up wishing you could be anywhere else. For all his studiousness, it’s a shame Ferg has never learned how to actually feel fun.

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