Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: Too Cozy
A$AP Records/Polo Grounds Music/RCA Records
A$AP Mob are back again with the highly anticipated second installment of the Cozy Tapes series, and it’s as convoluted as ever. The sonic landscape somehow manages to not only maintain the dark gritty atmosphere but also amp it up to a higher intensity, especially in the first half. The Mob, fully invested in paying homage to their deceased leader A$AP Yams, make sure to incorporate some humour with the inclusion of skits.
The 17-track album is heavy on features and builds on the entertainment comradery that was present on the first compilation. This is especially successful in the arrangement of the album to resemble a school term with the use of skits (“Just a reminder to students with drama on their minds/Auditions for the school play Bad and Boujee are being held after school today”). The Mob, along with their guests, are here to have fun and show off on these records. Familiar themes of fashion, success, wealth, girls, and the like are heavily dominant on the project, but a close listen on some of the tracks reveals deeper themes of fear, poverty, misogyny, and more. This highlights the unfocused nature of the project.
A$AP Rocky still maintains his dominance over other members of the mob, appearing on twelve tracks and inventing even more flexible flows and catchy visual rhyme content than in previous projects. He rhymes with such an impressive dexterity that despite the similarities in the lyrical contents of all the performers, he always manages to stand out — at least when compared to members of the Mob. (One favourite verse: “Out in Paris like I’m Perry Ellis/Parisian people love parasailing/Parallel park the 911/Parisian stones fuck yo VVS’s/United Kingdom with the French connection/French kissin and Parisian sexin’/French girls, French fries, French toast, French gold.”)
A$AP Ferg is a close second, but based on his obvious potential, he still seems underused — only appearing on six tracks, although the frequency of his appearance on this project is an improvement from the past. Other members of the Mob do show out, but their overall frequency and effectiveness is not quite as impressive considering this is a group project.
Majority of the guest features eclipse the members of the Mob with energetic, scene-stealing performances — an unfortunately common occurrence on the Mob’s projects. The energy begins to sound elevated and exciting towards the second half of the album, which is where majority of the guest features reside. Jaden Smith provides the distorted, minimal hook on the dark, hazy “Perry Aye,” which hearkens back to Rocky’s earlier soundscape (Purple Haze). Schoolboy Q totally demolishes his verse on “Bahamas,” confidently riding through the shared flow on the track but absolutely embodying and personalizing the beat with his raw, controlled delivery. Another standout track where this is obvious is on “What Happens,” where members of both Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies easily outshine but complement both Rocky and Ferg.
Ultimately, despite the flaws present on the album, the project is still a success: the Mob have made it clear that the point of these records is to have fun, flex the group’s fashion prowess, and, of course, trade bars with friends.