ASAP Ferg Credit: Jason Goodrich

In a January interview with GQ, ASAP Ferg talked about hip-hop’s emergence as pop’s lingua franca and the genre’s musical plateau. “All you hear on radio right now is trap music,” he said. “It’s starting to sound like one big reggaeton song to me. All the songs sound the same. We’re not pushing the culture forward with new sonics.” The collective Ferg belongs to, ASAP Mob, is as guilty of contributing to the homogeneity as any other mainstream rap act—their worst material is instantly forgotten amid the Soundcloud playlists swelling with new rap tracks. But on his second mixtape, last year’s Still Striving (RCA), Ferg has managed to figure out how to make songs that still smolder when he leaves the mike, holding his own on a full-length that’s packed with personalities such as Migos, Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, and Famous Dex—who’ve all bent music to their vocal whims. On breakout track “Plain Jane,” he accomplishes more than many rappers can on an entire full-length, delivering syllabically stubby verses with a fervor that vacillates from militaristic to blustery. In the process he molds new musical textures into the instrumentals—adding to what’s already there while contributing to its percussive feel.   v