A$AP ROCKY’s Vigilante Justice
By David Hayter
Located in London
“Everybody Plays The Tough Guy Till Shit Pop Off” the seemingly innocuous but rapturously received chorus from A$AP ROCKY’s latest single “Goldie”, proved oddly prescient at tonight’s sold out show at The Electric Ballroom.
“It was the light skinned brother in the pink shirt.” “Why the hell does A$AP keep doing this shit, it’s idiotic?” Not exactly your typical post gig banter, but this was far from an ordinary evening. After powering through a blistering set that had the crowd flexing and flinging themselves around with gleeful abandon, A$AP emerged from the crowd and pronounced: “Some nigga took my Rollie, that’s a 15k watch man”.
What followed was equal parts menacing and surreal. The music stops, A$AP’s entire crew now stands solemnly, hoodies up, behind the star. They threaten to stop the show if the watch isn’t returned. The increasingly tetchy crowd can’t help but recall A$AP’s infamous SXSW showcase, where the A$AP Mob dived into the crowd and “beat their ass” for pinching a crew member’s bandana. That was headwear, this was a gold watch.
Sanity appears to prevail as ROCKY decides he’s not going to the let the show end that way, but just as he calls for the next track, the crowd hoist the would be criminal into the air. “Is that the nigga? Is that it right there?” The music is cut, the stage lights turn off, the house lights rise, and the audience rushes backwards. “London is that the dude?” A cheer and a scuffle suggest it is. Suddenly an Asian man drags another man to the back of the venue (I scuttle out of the way), and A$AP in his infinite wisdom shouts “London fuck that nigga up!”
They kind of do, but most of the crowd simply circle and watch the bizarre display. After an awkward minute, security drag a “dark skinned brother” with no shirt upstairs. With half the audience facing the wrong way, and with everyone utterly disorientated, at an almost inaudible level, A$AP dutifully powers through a set closing “Peso”.
The crowd, those who stayed, are now dancing happily with the A$AP Mob who are all flying across stage. Before leaving the stage A$AP has one last thing to say; “Thank you London, I’ll never forget this night, you Niggas got my Rollie back”.
A cheer rings out as this curious display comes to a conclusion with a gold watch held aloft. 20 minutes earlier A$AP ROCKY was on course to deliver one of the best sets of year, but as the crowd pour out of the Ballroom, there’s only one thing on their mind, and one question on their lips: “who goes into a live crowd wearing a £15,000 Rolex, anyway?”