Over the last couple of years, Rocky has spent a lot of time living and recording in Skepta’s hometown of London and has been one of the biggest champions of Grime this side of the Atlantic. “A$AP was the first to go to Skepta and say, ‘we need to take this shit and put it on a broader scale, and we need to merge this BBK, A$AP shit,’” Rocky said during his Red Bull Music Academy Lecture in the English capital last year.
Meanwhile, Skepta has been at the center of America’s recent fascination with Grime. He’s collaborated with Drake and Pharrell, shared the stage with Kanye West and shut things down at New York’s MOMA PS1. And let’s not forget his existing ties to A$AP Mob, having nabbed guest spots from A$AP Bari (“It Ain’t Safe”) and A$AP Nast (“Ladies Hit Squad”) for his Konnichiwa album.
As they’ve been slowly building their respective brands in each other’s backyards, A$AP Rocky and Skepta also share a few things in common. They get love in their hoods, set trends in the streets and are the respective faces of two of the most exciting crews on either side of the Atlantic. And now their paths have finally crossed for real on “Put That On My Set,” a new song featured in the short film, Money Man.
Directed by A$AP Rocky and Dexter Navy, the 12-minute movie paints a gritty picture of life in a fictional London ‘hood known as Butterfly Canal. It’s a place where violence is abundant and hope is absent, and the only escape is by taking butterflies, a psychedelic drug that turns your eyes black. Saïd Taghmaoui (American Hustle, Three Kings) plays the drug kingpin and club owner who reigns over Butterfly Canal, and his reputation soon reveals itself when he discovers that one of his guys, MoneyManFlacko (played by A$AP Rocky), is dating his younger sister, Rina.
Enter “Put That On My Set.” The song soundtracks the climax-building scene in which Flacko cruises around the London streets with Skepta, loading his gun as he plots revenge on Saïd for banishing him from the crew: “Time to count some checks and go collect / They owe some debt.” Rocky’s opening verse is an ode to Rina, for whom he’s inadvertently risked his gang membership (and life), while Skepta raps about his unshakable loyalty in a world of pain and betrayal.
Money Man may be very much London — picture Ill Manor meets La Haine — but “Put That On My Set” feels more like a product of Houston with its woozy, screwed up beat and Willie Hutch sample (the same one flipped by Dr. Dre, 2Pac and Chance The Rapper). The Percocet-poppin’ pace suits A$AP Rocky perfectly, whose style is heavily molded by H-Town rap, and also brings out another strong verse from Skepta, who has already proven that he can adapt his aggressive approach to more Americanized rap.
“Put That On My Set” won’t get the girls moving like “Ladies Hit Squad” or tear the roof off like “It Ain’t Safe,” but it is the A$AP Mob/Boy Better Know collaboration we’ve all been waiting for — and it doesn’t disappoint.
The song is set to appear on the upcoming A$AP Mob mixtape, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1, which A$AP Rocky recently announced is complete. Money Man features another new track off the mixtape (also called “Money Man”) featuring Rocky and A$AP Nast. Watch the short film in full above.
By Andy James. You can follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram