Written by: The Bro
Bangers on Bangers, but are they good?
In 2013, ASAP Ferg managed to step outside of the long shadow of ASAP Rocky with his debut album, Trap Lord. It was the rare rap record in which a a member of a crew managed to create his own moment. Loaded with two hit songs and multiple bangers, the album secured Ferg as his own man. Three years later Ferg released his sophomore album and faced many of the problems that plague sophomore albums. A more personal record, it was not nearly as well received critically or commercially. Despite the lack of hits, it did feature some introspective tracks that expanded Ferg’s repertoire artistically.
A little more than a year later Ferg has returned with his latest tape, Still Striving. It quickly becomes obvious that Ferg has returned to the focus of his first album. From nearly the beginning to end it’s a flurry of bangers and potentially singles. Rubber Band Man, a stellar ASAP/Dipset collab, booms out early. Both Ferg and Cam exchange swag raps over perhaps the best beat on the tape. Camron is one of the first of many features, but perhaps the only one that is downright entertaining.
Ferg’s knack for catchy, hilarious hooks is most evident on Aww Yeah. Outside of a rather uninspiring appearance from Lil Yachty it’s a pretty good summer song. Elsewhere, What Do You Want almost sounds like a generic ladies track required of most rap albums these days. Nav’s “singing” might be the least swaggy thing about the entire project.
It’s hard not to view Ferg as a guest on his own project. Nearly every track features a feature, and little of the things that made Trap Lord good are on display here. Nasty (Who Dat) sounds like a track anyone could have bought, including uninspired verses from Migos. Still, Ferg manages to break through here or there. Plain Jane, which doesn’t have any features, is a traditional Ferg banger that is actually good. The type of shit one would want from a Ferg project.
The eternal Busta Rhymes bum rushes the stage on the impressive posse cut East Coast. The song features what seems to be a dozen rappers, and each one does their thing. Rick Ross drops perhaps the verse of the album as he perfectly rides the beat, at times slowly stomping over it like a giant, at other times rapping faster.
Despite a few highlights, Still Striving feels like a miss. Perhaps fans will appreciate the return of the bangers, but every banger isn’t a good banger. Ferg’s previous album may have been flawed, but at least felt like a worthy addition to his catalog artistically. Whereas Still Striving feels like an awkward miss.