A$AP Ferg @ Branx, Portland 11/9/13
A$AP Ferg and A$AP Mob’s Turnt x Burnt Tour rolled into Portland club Branx on Saturday, and Stereogum photographer Colin McLaughlin was there to capture the action. From the looks of these photos, it was just as much of a madhouse as when I caught Ferg and his cohorts a week prior in Columbus.
2013 has been a breakout year on different scales for Ferg and his buddy A$AP Rocky. It’s a long leap from internet star to radio star, but that Pretty Motherfucker made the transition with a little help from his friends — namely new buddies Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar, who helped “Fuckin’ Problems” become a bona fide smash. Rocky hasn’t abandoned old pal Ferg, as evidenced by his comically awkward Trap Lord shout-out alongside Jason Collins at the VMAs, but he has left Ferg to shepherd the A$AP Mob swarm that’s been sweeping the country in recent years. That’s a responsibility Ferg can handle. Trap Lord heralded Ferg’s own ascendance to the level of name-brand online celebrity Rocky’s been rocking ever since “Purple Swag,” and it’s well deserved. If the album wasn’t already sufficient proof, consider this tour official confirmation that Ferg is plenty capable of commanding the stage.
At Turnt x Burnt dates, Ferg exudes star power and excels on the mic, tearing through crushing ambient bangers like “Work” and “Shabba” without assistance from the pre-recorded vocal tracks that are now standard at hip-hop shows. For a so-called fashion rapper (and self-professed “regular guy“), Ferg can actually spit when the pressure’s on. And “Hood Pope,” his greatest single, reminds us that he can sing too, as first spotlighted in his gloriously absurd guest spot on Rocky’s “Kissing Pink” (which also happily gets a reading at this tour). The guy is a born star.
The rest of the Mob, not so much. Ferg’s magnetism was evident even back when he was making cameos with Rocky during Drake opening sets. Plenty of Mob members get similar stints on this mic during this tour, and as usual their combined presence makes these shows feel like ragers, but none of them steps up or stands out. It’s Ferg’s world; they’re just living in it.