Cozy Tapes: Volume 1 – Friends opens with the smash hit, “Yamborghini High.” A track that includes a small two-minute skit about just how far A.$.A.P Mob has come before launching into the booming bass, sports car samples, and a dreamy near gospel like production that allows Rocky, Ferg, Juicy J, A$AP Ant, and A$AP Nast to flow near effortlessly. The entire track feels like a call back to the past of A.$.A.P Mob and it only furthers that feeling with the use of the skit where they explain “Niggas ain’t cozy bruh. We been doing this shit, all of a sudden you see niggas out here, sweat-suited up, with they nappy-ass terry cloth and all that shit, they tryna’ look like the homies.”
Then as the bass begins to kick in, A$AP Rocky and Juicy J begin to deliver the chorus of the track “Yamborghini-high, Lambo by the crib. This is how it is, yeah, these niggas fake, no we can’t relate.” Nearly setting the tone for the rest of the record of how A.$.A.P. Mob will always do their own thing, and become unrelatable in a world full of imposters. The constant angelic background vocals that echo behind A.$.A.P Mob’s rather sinister sounding vocals are an interesting contrast. “Yamborghini High’s” beat is definitely one of the more uplifting moments of Cozy Tapes: Volume 1 and It involves a substantial beat change toward the tracks end that easily segues into the following, “Crazy Brazy.”
“Crazy Brazy” was released earlier as a teaser track for the Cozy Tapes, just like the previous track “Yamborghini High.” “Crazy Brazy” has a quick chorus delivered by Rocky before reaching into both Twelvyyy and Rocky’s verses. The chorus is actually a clever combination of both A$AP Rocky and KEY!, together the two trade verses about “[A$AP Rocky] I got a lot on my head, Gucci rag tied on my head. Put a red dot on your head, I put that guap on your head. Don’t be talking to me crazy. [KEY!] I got a lot on my mind, I put that guap on my mind, I got a lot on my mind, I put that nine to your mind. Don’t talk to me Brazy.
Once A$AP Rocky jumps into his verse, he explains how “They don’t play me on the station, press ’em like detonation.” An obvious reference to how A$AP Mob is not going to be played on the radio but it makes no difference, they will continue on and strive in other ways. The instrumentation uses a combative style beat that relies on 808 drums, some tapping hi-hats, and what sounds like a bouncing electric piano or some use of a synthesizer. It is complementary of A.$.A.P. Mob’s use of elegance and hardcore East Coast rap style that constantly conflicts, but always sounds so intriguing and unique.
The Next track, “Way Hii” features a plethora of different artists, BJ The Chicago Kid, LA based rapper Buddy, and Pittsburgh hero and native Wiz Khalifa all make public appearances. BJ The Chicago Kid delivers the chorus and a short barred verse, while Khalifa, Rocky, and Buddy deliver the primary verse of the track.
The following track “Young Nigga Living” opens with A$AP Ant delivering some bars over a beat that sounds like it uses different distorted strings and a diverse hi-hat instrumental that constantly adapts to the feel of the verse. For the much faster sections of the track where A$AP Ant, Ferg, Twelvyyy are delivering quicker bars, the hi-hat speeds up into a rapid fire sound where the bass and snare cracks are put more towards the background. Twelvyyy delivers the chorus of the track where it also bleeds into the next track or skit, “Nasty’s World.”
The skit intertwined in “Nasty’s World” features the joking side where A.$.A.P. Mob clowns each other before having A$AP Nast completely destroy and control this track from start to finish. The track uses a string ensemble and this classic boom-bap beat that echoes the sound that New York practically originated and made famous.
Nast’s verse and the track “Nasty’s World” is actually one of the better tracks on Cozy Tapes: Volume 1, it features some great verses and lines “The pigs annoying like the sound of locusts, I style wild plus my rhymes the dopest. My squad the best, a bunch of lyrical soldiers, Just Roc-A-Fella, Hov-a-sclupture,” but also features a unique instrumental that taps into the classic sound of East Coast rap. It almost feels nostalgic and has a great sense of pride that trails behind the track.
Following is “Money Man,” it sounds similar to the track “Crazy Brazy” where the beat changes up from 808’s to a more classic style of bass in-between interludes. This is not to say that the track is not with its own personality as A$AP Rocky delivers a great closer of the track where he explains “Choose a side, suicide. You and I, crucified, you despise. I’m the best, you decide.”
The next track, “Put That On My Set” is actually another highlight of Cozy Tapes as it samples Willie Hutch’s “Brothers Gonna Work It Out.” The track is a slowdown where Rocky and Skepta trade verses and the whole track has a much darker tone than the other tracks off of Cozy Tapes: Volume 1 – Friends. A$AP Rocky delivers a line explaining his view on the world, “Understand, I’m a man tryna make it in a world of death.” Skepta also delivers a darker line “See the pain in my eyes I don’t wanna cry, put my life on the line… For my blood all the time.” The gorgeous beat mixed with the grim lines make for a constant uninviting feel throughout the track.
There is then the skit “Motivation Foreign” where a man and woman discuss going to London simply because they can. “London Town” then follows after the skit actually feels like it would have fit Skepta much better than “Put That On My Set.” This track sounds more synonymous with the United Kingdom Grime style that Skepta is well-known for. The low tuned buzzing basement sounding bass mixed with the quick snake like rattle of the hi-hat feels more suitable to artists like Kano, or Wiley rather than rappers from Harlem. But, surprisingly the track works quite well and is actually an impressive of mix of cultures from both London and New York.
The following track, “Runner” sounds rather similar to “London Town” and features Lil Uzi Vert where he controls most of the track, only letting A$AP Ant contribute to the second verse. The track is not immensely filling, but Uzi Vert does make the hook of the track feel more fun and energized. It feels like a club song, but nothing that is progressive.
“Bachelor” follows and this feels much more like a track by Future, or another artist that uses more of a “turn up” approach to their tracks. It also features Lil Yachty, who delivers the first verse of the track, but is ultimately short-lived. The later tracks on Cozy Tape: Volume 1 drastically change into more of a party bang style than the darker and less bravado like tracks of the first half.
Cozy Tapes: Volume 1 – Friends is a substantial record coming from A.S.A.P. Mob. The way they use their energy, raw authentic motivation, and hustle like attitude conveys possibly one of the better records of this current year, and all around a gratifying way to pay tribute to the late A$AP YAMS.