Harlem’s ASAP Ferg has been a staple of ASAP Mob, often the face many think of if not fellow rapper ASAP Rocky.
He first made a formidable impact in the scene with his debut album Trap Lord, which included hits such as “Shabba and the “Work Remix”, and aimed to tackle the then-new trap scene at the time. With the release of his latest album Floor Seats, which features the single “Jet Lag”, Ferg has been on tour with producer/DJ Murda Beatz, who has produced hits such as “MotorSport” with Migos and “Nice For What” with Drake. Having been around Asia and the US, he now makes his final stops in NYC, first stopping at Manhattan’s Terminal 5 and then later at Brooklyn Steel.
The performance was opened by MadeinTYO, most famous for the singles “Skateboard P” and “Uber Everywhere”. Although a short set, MadeinTYO was quite a natural fit for his crowd. They turned up as he played through his Soundcloud hits, such as “Retro 88”, and “Ned Flanders”, which features the headliner himself.
After his set came Murda Beatz, who played a DJ set as a sort of interlude. He played both his own hits, such as the aforementioned “Motorsport” and “Butterfly Effect”, performed originally by rap superstar Travis Scott. However, as this was a DJ set, Murda Beatz freely played many other songs to keep the crowd’s energy up, such as Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”. However, after a short break was ASAP Ferg’s time.
ASAP Ferg’s tour was a mix of songs that both supported his latest album and a celebration of the hits he has created this decade. He opened with Floor Seats, and for the earlier part of his set focused on weaving between Floor Seats and his 2017 album Still Striving. The crowd kept it turned up, as moshpits and crowd surfing abounded, many wearing merch from ASAP Rocky’s performance at Rolling Loud NYC, most notably the face masks. Ferg, for his part, did everything to encourage them, constantly yelling to “Open up the pits”, a familiar call for those attending rap concerts these days. At one point, Ferg asked for a time for the ladies, and there were many riding shoulders, to wave at Ferg as he shouted them out. Occasionally a fan ran onto the stage. Depending on their luck, they were either tackled by security and dragged away, or Ferg had them on stage to give their names before they ran back into the crowd to surf – oftentimes, fans experienced both.
What was most interesting about the show was the moments that Ferg took to remind the audience of the importance of mental support. Earlier this month, hip-hop singer/rapper JuiceWRLD, who is famous for such hits as “Lucid Dreams” and “Armed and Dangerous”, passed away from a seizure which is currently believed to have been induced by drugs, namely Percocet, at the very young age of 21. JuiceWRLD was very candid about his mental and drug-related struggles, talking about suffering from depression and using prescription drugs such as Xanax, Lean, Percocet, and Codeine to cope. For ASAP Ferg, however, this isn’t the first time drugs have taken someone close to him or his field. ASAP Yams, the founder of ASAP Mob, the group which ASAP Rocky and Ferg both belong to amongst other members, died of an accidental drug overdose back in 2015, and the group has been honoring him since with the Yams Day concert, held every January 18.
In light of these tragedies, it’s understandable then why the artists took time to play tributes. After his first song, Ferg stated that if someone is suffering from depression or anxiety, to take the concert as an opportunity to escape from such pains by having a fun time that night. In addition, JuiceWRLD’s song “Legends”, which he wrote after the deaths of performers Lil Peep (who died of a Fentanyl-laced drug overdose) and XXXTentacion (who died of gun violence), and most ominously declared “What’s the 27 club? We ain’t making it past 21”, was played, and afterward, a moment of silence was held. ASAP Ferg then asked his audience to be a pillar of support for their friends, to check on them to make sure they are okay, and to be there if they find that their friends are suffering from mental illness.
Fitting, then, that Ferg also ended on a high note. He performed “Shabba” and “Work Remix” off his debut album, and also “Yamborghini High”, a song off the ASAP Mob’s debut album Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 which was made as a tribute to ASAP Yams. He then closed out with a song that went, in Ferg’s words “Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 times platinum!”, the hit “Plain Jane”.
Overall, it was a set of mutual love, and a high-energy note to close out the decade. Incredibly significant tragedies have weighed in on hip-hop culture as a whole, and hip-hop as a whole has made incredibly significant shifts through the decade, most notably in the absolute dominance of the “trap” sound, of which ASAP Ferg has been at the forefront. This performance serves as a reminder that his influence still remains large, and he still maintains a significant command of hip-hop, while still maintaining awareness of the tragedies both hip hop stars and fans have faced over the last decade.
Photo Credit: Iffat Nur (@iffat.nur)