Could I vote for ‘the least expected collaboration of the year?’ Rapper A$AP Rocky just got interviewed for a long article published in GQ, and I don’t care if he is dating Rihanna, it’s not that surprising, the true surprise comes from his collaboration with Morrissey, named a ‘creative partner’ on the rapper’s upcoming album ‘All Smiles.’
A$AP even admits being a ‘huge fan’ of the former Smiths frontman while the two artists have been working remotely together over the past year. Morrissey has been writing, producing, and contributing vocals to the new record. ‘Anything you need him to do, he show up and do,’ the rapper says.
There’s so much to unpack here: First, Morrissey shows up each time? This is a first. The crooner is not the first person who comes to mind for a rap album, but A$AP has already worked with veteran rockers like Rod Stewart a few years ago. He didn’t even sample a song as you would expect, Rod Stewart actually provided vocals on the track ‘Everyday,’ and A$AP said of the collaboration ‘It’s like seeing yourself 30 or 40 years older and white.’
Of course, Morrissey is another story because he is now this ‘problematic’ alt-right-leaning, aging canceled loser and the news will probably not be received very well by the A$AP crowd… But it’s refreshing that the rapper doesn’t seem to care about all this cancel culture brouhaha.
On the other hand, this Morrissey move will be perceived as a redemption maneuver, the classic I-have-a-black-friend act to contradict the racist accusations that have now plagued Morrissey’s name. It’s true he has not been nice with Black music in the past: ‘I don’t have very cast iron opinions on black music other than black modern music which I detest. I detest Stevie Wonder. I think Diana Ross is awful. I hate all those records in the Top 40 – Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston. I think they’re vile in the extreme… Obviously to get on Top Of The Pops these days, one has to be, by law, black,’ he told Melody Maker in 1986… ouch! But it’s barely the most controversial thing that Morrissey ever said.
After this tirade, you can only imagine Morrissey’s hate for rap music. As a matter of fact, he was asked about rap in the January 1993 issue of Rock Sound: ‘I don’t consider it music. It’s just conversation. There’s no melody and when there’s no melody I have problems,’ Morrissey answered. He even added he was disturbed by some of the aspects of rap: ‘All this speech of superiority and the male chauvinism it carries. And then I really don’t think it’s a rich, new music. It’s the degree zero of music. I know that what I’m saying sounds really corny or old-fashioned, but I’m struck by the fact that it’s enough for a rap group to break itself laboriously on a song with the thinnest of melodies to make people call it a work of genius and hail the song to the pantheon of classics. I know as well that the same speech has been held about punk. Except that punk didn’t last. It had the virtue to bring us The Ramones and, above all, to revitalize rock and shake the system. On the contrary, rap never fails to repeat itself. It must be assumed that its only use is to sort out the swingers from the fuddy-duddies. Blokes who suffer while listening to rap just because they’re scared to death not to be hip – I see some every day! Sorry, but I’d rather be corny.’
Maybe Morrissey has revised his views. In any case, rappers couldn’t care less about these declarations, as A$AP is not the only Morrissey fan in the hip hop world. Apparently, Eminem could be a fan too, and Lil Yachty is wearing a Moz shirt in this video.
Whatever people think of an A$AP Rocky and Morrissey track, this could be the collaboration of the year, maybe of the decade.
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