A$AP Nast - The Paper Box - 6/21/14
Better Than: Watching the outrageous line form in front of Supreme on launch days.
Photos Tara Mahadevan A$AP Nast
"I don't ever play shows as small as this," a slightly underwhelmed A$AP Nast said to a sea of bucket hats, snapbacks, and cameras. And when we say slightly underwhelmed, we really mean that both Nast and the crowd were severely underwhelmed.
See also: The A$AP Rocky Drinking Game
The Paper Box in Williamsburg is indeed an intimate and perhaps slightly disenchanting spot for someone of Nast's talents. The venue is no SOBs or Terminal 5 -- the Paper Box's stage is small and the space is minimally decorated, save for a few large LED-lit displays of animals. But, as everyone thought, the basic-ness of the venue was just setting the stage for real New York rap.
The show -- dubbed Beerly Sober -- seemed like a first step in reinforcing local hip-hop, with emcees repping the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan; and an answer to the prayers of Queens-native and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, who recently slammed Hot 97 for narrowing the scope of urban radio and failing to showcase local hip-hop. This show was the solution to the call for more grassroots rap, as the New York DJs and emcees ran through their sets with fluidity, easily hyping, and interacting with, the crowd.
A$AP Nast didn't waste any time when he donned the stage, moving right into his breakout track "Trillmatic," from A$AP Mob's soon-to-be-released debut album L.O.R.D. After the song was over, he hardly related to the crowd, except for his first remark on the smallness of the venue and a comment he made later about how he doesn't have A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg with him tonight, but he's good without them. In all honesty, though, his set might have fared better with Rocky and Ferg's backing.
A$AP Nast hasn't dropped a solo project like his A$AP Mob cohorts Rocky and Ferg. While Nast's catalog is small, his rhymes are boastful, his flow rapid-fire. Though his cockiness usually serves him well, Saturday night there was a disconnection between the vanity of his words and his presence onstage. After "Trillmatic," he played "Black Mane" and "Gotham City," the whistle from his trademark chipped tooth practically inaudible with the reverberating bass. He covered his feature from A$AP Rocky's "Trilla," and then launched into a rousing version of "Hella Hoes," where he was joined by members of A$AP Mob (no Rocky or Ferg though). It was the height of the set and a real turn-down-for-what moment...until it all abruptly ended and everyone onstage dipped with barely a goodbye.