The runaway success of singles like “Work,” “Shabba” and “New Level” has caused some to misjudge A$AP Ferg as an MC. On each of the songs, he chopped big trap beats with a simplified, sing-songy flow that fueled a belief that Ferg, along with his fellow A$AP brother, Rocky, was part of an influx of New York rappers who were abandoning the more rapid-fire lyricism traditionally associated with the region, in favor of a sound more identified with Atlanta.
For those paying closer attention, however, there were times where Ferg switched things up and flexed a higher tempo flow with more intricate lyrics. Songs like his “Work (Remix),” “Fuck Out My Face,” with Cypress Hill’s B-Real and ONYX, and his recent performance in a cypher with Your Old Droog and Wiki, showed that Ferg was capable of many styles. Despite those performances, skeptics remained, so, as he nears the release of his sophomore album Always Strive And Prosper, Ferg teamed with Pro Era’s Kirk Knight to release a song that leaves no doubt that he is a spitter.
On “FLEM,” Ferg uses Knight’s relatively muted beat as an opportunity to turn up the wattage on his cadence. After literally clearing his throat, he proceeds to tear into the track, thumping his chest throughout. He thumbs his nose at detractors, noting that his fans include Jay Z and Kanye West, and that he’s performed at Coachella for 3 years running. He also emphatically asserts that, despite what some may say, he is indeed “repping New York.” By the end, however, the braggadocio is tempered with humility. Ferg says “I could have fucked my life up with the Bobby and Whitney route. God bless ’em them drugs is a weapon. Yammy was so high that I had to learn my lesson. Man I came a long way from depression, from dealing with oppression, to higher up setting.” Ahem.