Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Tyler, The Creator ft. A$AP Rocky – Potato Salad

We like Tyler and Rocky a little more than we did in those ancient days of last August


Julian Axelrod: Tyler’s post-Flower Boy run of loosies has been thrilling in its frivolity, a refreshingly low-stakes victory lap after his 2017 technicolor opus. Of course, Tyler’s version of low stakes involves flying to Paris with Jaden Smith to film an elaborate lyric video. But the song feels like a successful exercise in self-restraint: take a sleepy Monica beat, call up some friends, knock out a song in an afternoon. Freed from the demands of an actual album, Tyler delivers some of his tightest, funniest, queerest bars since… well, since his last freestyle. Unfortunately, Rocky doesn’t strike the right balance between labored and laid-back. (Plus, it’s hard to take his critiques of rap’s new school seriously when he praises Kodak Black in the same breath.) But even he sounds reinvigorated by his collaborator’s energy. Even in Tyler’s off-season, he still makes everyone step their game up.

Will Rivitz: A loosie in the most positive sense of the word: the tightly wound and hyper-serious centripetal forces of Flower Boy and TESTING are discarded in favor of effortless, easy flows over a breezy Ye cut. If Tyler and Rocky’s previous albums were loud, intensely alive clubs or parties, this one’s going to IHOP high with your best friends afterward. 

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Tyler sounds effortless, and Rocky sounds tired. While they’re both pretty much just boasting, Tyler does so more adroitly, balancing multilayered metaphors without sounding like the kind of lyrical rapper more concerned with his own skill than listenability. Rocky, on the other hand, continues his weird, mediocre year by simultaneously taking half-assed shots at mumble rappers and shouting out… Kodak Black? Fortunately, there’s more Tyler than Rocky here, and even at his most confounding Rocky is more boring than offensive.

Alfred Soto: Serviceable midtempo rap in which our two heroes stick to the usual, which in Tyler’s recent case has been to growl peeved allusions to an unconfirmed queerness. Funny how A$AP compares himself to Shabazz Palaces to diss “mumblin’ rappin'” when A$AP’s done his own share of disgraceful mumblin’.

Taylor Alatorre: The guy who coined the phrase “pretty motherfucker” is the latest to take up the role of hip hop gatekeeper — and you know what? He as much as anyone has earned the right. Rocky’s beef with “mumble rappers” seems more rooted in disappointment than simple fogeyism (“I find it hard to find actual challenges”). He knows they both came up in similar internet-fueled circumstances, so he treats them as direct competition rather than as foreign interlopers. It’s his sincere belief that their talent just doesn’t measure up to his, and his bars here make a good case for that. Tyler’s verse, while lyrically weaker, sets the right mood and then graciously hands the mic off without a moment’s hesitation. The flow, above all, must be preserved.

Tim de Reuse: Tyler praises his own fashion sense and makes a homoerotic quip or two, while A$AP talks about how hard it is to find talent and closes his verse with a dizzying set of internal rhymes. It’s a couple of show-offs showing off. Luckily, they’ve got a lot to show off, and a hook would’ve just been filler between the good parts.

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

2 Responses to “Tyler, The Creator ft. A$AP Rocky – Potato Salad”

  1. My impression was that ASAP Rocky was dissing older rappers with the mumble rapping line? He’s flipping the complaint on them by comparing their whining to that. Anyways, this is the most palatable I’ve found Rocky in a long while.

  2. Disappointed at the lack of Ross Sisters style contortionism here