No question, A$AP Rocky is as unique a rapper as we've seen amongst hip-hop's new crop of talent. Even with all of his individuality, facets of the Harlem spitter's style can be traced back to the syrup-soaked scene in Houston and the Wu-Tang Clan who came almost 20 years before Rocky did.
It's hard to ignore 1993's influence on this new generation of hip-hop (and for those who need a little help, let MTV News help connect the dots). Kendrick Lamar, like Snoop Dogg two decades before him, reignited the West Coast and added a notch on mentor Dr. Dre's influential belt, while Rocky with his swagged out A$AP Mob come from the Wu-Tang school of rap. The "Peso" MC believes the comparisons are spot on. "Of course, I agree," Rocky told MTV News on Tuesday of the similarities between his A$AP Mob and the Wu.
So is he ready to run with that 1993 baton?
"I thought I had it," Rocky said, laughing. "I thought I was running with it. I thought we all were."
Though he acknowledges his influences, A$AP Rocky is fully focused on being his own artist and pushing the culture forward, with melodic raps and deep, bass-filled musical numbers. He's already turned underground heads with his 2011 mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, and next, he will release his major-label debut Long.Live.A$AP on January 15.
"We gotta hold it down for the young cats man. My thing is, I just want to make everybody who enjoys music and art and hip-hop music proud," he said of his artistic and cultural mission. "That's all I want to do. I don't want y'all to say this guy is misrepresenting us or he's giving it a bad name. I just want to represent hip-hop well and I want to show you guys my aspect on what I think hip-hop should be."
So here artists like A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar stand attempting to leave an everlasting impression, 20 years after noted innovators like Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg made their big splash in rap. "That's why all my videos are, I guess I want to say, different than your standard hip-hop video," he said. "That's why all of my lyrics and my production choices and just my rapping scheme and patterns are different than your average artist because I'm an innovator."
For as much as Rocky is trying to push the music forward, like a true MC, he is willing to leave less-capable rappers by the wayside too. "I'm like anti-bandwagon. That's what I'm running with for 2013 and I'm gonna show these guys how to step it up," he boasted proudly. "If they gonna be competing against me, man, they're gonna have to get it together."
Do you believe A$AP Rocky can create a lasting legacy in rap? Let us know in the comments!