A$AP Rocky shared one dimension of his debut Long.Live.A$AP with the early singles “Goldie” and “F—in’ Problems,” — party jams dripping in his signature style — but a deeper dive into the album turns up darker tracks, like the suicide-tinged “Phoenix.” The song, which the Harlem rapper considers to be “really personal,” is even more heartfelt in light of recent losses in the hip-hop community.
Over a haunting beat from Danger Mouse, A$AP opens the track spitting, “Bloody ink on my pad spelled suicide/Michael Jackson even passed cause you scrutinized,” and he goes on to mention another fallen legend, Kurt Cobain, in his second verse. While reflecting on those who were driven mad by pressure and scrutiny, he’s not afraid to admit that his own mind has wandered to desperate lows.
“Those are natural feelings that we all get sometimes. You hurt so bad and you’re going through so much pain to the point where sometimes you don’t even wanna live anymore,” he told MTV News of the track. “That’s how a lot of people think, whether we’d like to admit it or not and that’s all I was showcasing. It was that emotion…suicidal kinda emotions.”
A$AP certainly isn’t the first rapper to broach the subject on wax. Biggie’s “Ready to Die” still resonates, while in recent times, artists like Lupe Fiasco have admitted to reaching suicidal lows during difficult moments in the industry. In August, music manager Chris Lighty was found dead in an apparent suicide. Over the holidays, Pro Era rapper Capital STEEZ took his own life after saying a final goodbye on Twitter, and current reports are also ruling Seattle rapper Freddy E’s death as suicide.
With the pain of these losses still fresh, A$AP points out that putting those dark thoughts into lyrics can sometimes be therapeutic. “I’m not glorifying it at all,” he says. “I’m just basically telling you that sometimes I have suicidal thoughts. And maybe I should seek help, or maybe it’s not that deep.”
Long.Live.A$AP will officially be released on January 15 and it’ll find the “Peso” rapper continuing the journey he began with the acclaimed 2011 mixtape Live.Love.A$AP. “I just really like the fact that I can be as artistic as I wanna be,” he adds. “I’m fortunate enough.”