As artists of a genre that has always prided itself upon its collaborative and collective culture, A$AP Mob stands as one of hip-hop’s last real rap groups. Although there are many smaller joint acts today, like Rae Sremmurd and Migos, gone are the times of Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest — crews that, united through their shared identity and creative passions, gave their neighborhoods and boroughs a distinctive sound.

A$AP MOB

Even Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, which was at the forefront of hip-hop just five years ago, has now split into individual artists who seem to no longer have any relationships with one another.

This group tradition, which originated as an artistic manifestation of urban community culture, is a fading pillar of hip-hop, and A$AP Mob seems to be the last effort to preserve it.

In the past year, A$AP Mob and its members have released two group albums, several solo projects and an endless stream of clothing and merchandise, all of which have received positive reviews.

Furthermore, the group has embarked on a nationwide tour under the singular headliner of A$AP Mob. This headliner is significant since the popularity of one of its members, A$AP Rocky, easily eclipses the others; he would be the headliner of just about any other tour. However, the group is intent on selling themselves as a unified collective and not just as an assortment of separate artists.

Unfortunately, at the D.C. stop, these discrepancies in star power were obvious, to the group’s detriment. A$AP Mob has launched two extremely successful solo stars in A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, and it was clear that these artists were the sole attraction for the crowd.

Other members, like A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Nast and Key!, each had their own solo moments, but these were often the lulls of the show. The majority of audience members did not know the lyrics to their songs, so when A$AP Twelvyy would rap between songs by A$AP Rocky or A$AP Ferg, the crowd would stop singing and dancing, creating awkward moments where audience members would stop and look around, waiting for the next song to start.

This also happened when group members performed their individual verses on the group songs. While the rappers had chemistry, singing each other’s line and going bar for bar, the differences in popularity between the artists made a unified performance extremely difficult.

Luckily, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg shared the spotlight often enough to make up for the lesser-known acts. The first half of the show was predominantly performed by A$AP Rocky, who demonstrated exactly why he is the star of the group with his natural charisma.

He performed the major hits from both “Cozy Tape” mixtapes — “Telephone Calls”, “RAF” and “Crazy Brazy” — along with deep cuts like “Please Shut Up.” Each song was a crowd-wide singalong with several mosh pits breaking out at A$AP Rocky’s insistence.

The energy completely changed when A$AP Ferg took over.

A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg have always had different sonic styles, with A$AP Ferg preferring a heavier trap sound over A$AP Rocky’s more laid-back beats. The transition to A$AP Ferg’s booming bass lines excited the crowd.

When A$AP Ferg performed his breakout hit “Work,” the audience’s energy doubled. It was easily the highlight of concert, with every person in attendance jumping and screaming for a three-minute stretch.

A$AP Ferg kept the intensity of the moment going through a seven-song set list that did not slow for a second. While A$AP Ferg might still lack the charisma and star power A$AP Rocky commands, he undoubtedly has a catalogue of hits that is just as strong — if not stronger — than those of his groupmates. Songs like “New Level” and “Plain Jane” had Echostage vibrating with energy.

To close, A$AP Rocky came back out and joined A$AP Ferg to perform their biggest collaboration: “Shabba.”

Arguably the most iconic song to come out of A$AP Mob, it garnered a reaction competitive with that to “Work.” The performance of “Shabba” proved to be a faux exit, though, as A$AP Ferg begged A$AP Rocky to stay to help him perform the encore, “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2,” the only song from A$AP Rocky’s personal discography in the concert.

At the concert’s conclusion, the duo brought out the rest of the Mob and, while locking arms, performed “Yamborghini High,” a song dedicated to their late member A$AP Yams, who was considered the leader and catalyst of the A$AP movement.

The show ended on an appropriately sentimental note. A$AP Yams was hugely responsible for everything the group has accomplished, and while the members now exist with different levels of fame and skill, collectively, they are the last of their kind. As a family-style hip-hop collective, it is only right that A$AP Mob honored Yams as their fallen brother.

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