Last October, nearly two years following the tragic passing of Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez, A$AP Mob united to pay their respects to their dearly departed leader in the form of Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. A culmination of Yams’ blueprint, the album was a banding together by the Mob for their first combined project in four years, one that reached outside the group to enlist the help of a star-studded and wide-ranging guest list.
Most of all, the original cozy tapes was fun. Rarely dipping into serious territory, it reveled in excess, pulling in countless voices to boast about designer threads and expensive breakfasts, just as their fallen visionary would have wanted. Despite the repetition in content and a large number of contributors, it was a 12-track effort that didn’t overstay its welcome and felt like actual friends coming together to out-cozy each other over stellar, highly-polished production. It was a Yamborghini High, fast living on Cloud 9, rarely overthinking things.
If Vol. 1 was cozy in the sense of wearing a robe with slippers, Vol. 2: Too Cozy feels like trying to stack on a sherpa hoody and bubble coat overtop the robe and realizing you still have bare feet; too much going on without enough focus on the most important ingredients (comfy shoes/the best artists).
There is an inevitable need to outdo what has been done, and often, especially for direct sequels, that leads to more with the assumption that addition equals improvement. Where Vol. 1 was 44 minutes, Vol. 2 is 52; where Vol. 1 was 12 tracks, Vol. 2 is 17; and most importantly, where Vol. 1 did a fine job of limiting the number of individuals on a single track—and further limiting those individuals’ contributions on said track—Vol. 2 more frequently stacks every kitchen with cooks, and maximizes their involvement in the final dish.
For example, Vol. 1 had just one song with more than four artists on it (“Yamborghini High”), with one of the six artists (Juicy J) more a cameo than a true featured guest.
Vol. 2, however, has eight (8) songs with more than four artists present. “Bahamas” features seven artists, and “Get the Bag” and “What Happens” both include eight contributors each. Even DJ Khaled would tell you that eight people is probably too many people for one song.
This wouldn’t be as big an issue if names like Playboi Carti, Smooky MarGielaa and A$APs Ant, Nast and TyY were brought in to assist in similar fashion as Carti, Yung Gleesh and Onyx were for Vol. 1—sprinkled atop mostly ready-made songs for added effect through bridges, outros and short hooks. Instead, it’s an Oprah-esque level of involvement: You get a verse! You get a verse! You get a verse! Everyone gets verses!
In terms of a cohesive body of work, the sheer number of tracks, guests and verses from not particularly great rappers is daunting, however, there is plenty of gold within the mountain. A$AP Rocky is once again, unsurprisingly, the star of the show and often the highlight of each track he graces. Ferg’s energy and vocal elasticity aren’t far behind. Frank Ocean’s two verses steal the show on a track (“RAF”) that also includes Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert and Quavo. Gucci and Chief Keef float. ScHoolboy Q will have you shed a single tear over the fact there were people on “Bahamas” other than just him and Rocky, while the Beast Coast posse cut of A$AP, Pro Era and Flatbush ZOMBiES is a rap fan’s dream come true, standing in direct defiance to my under-eight-people-rapping rule. Even the skits are great and quite humorous, even if I never hear them again because there isn't enough time in life to hear skits more than once.
There are enough positives to outweigh the negatives, and Too Cozy is still a wavy affair pairing slick production prepared to test your nicest speakers with plenty of rapping from plenty of different rappers (even if that rapping is mostly about getting money, spending money, and doing an enormous amount of fucking). It's a good time spent with good friends, but with a little restraint on getting all those friends so involved, it could have been a more enjoyable affair.
No need to layer up, the robe and slippers were fine the first time around.
Three Standout Songs:
"Frat Rules" ft. A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti & Big Sean
Anytime we as listeners bear witness to two artists rapping together within a single verse it’s a blessing in friendly collaboration, and Rocky and Sean turn in their best Jada and Styles over a soulful loop. Even Carti repeating the same questionable line 20 times somehow works.
"What Happens" ft. A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvyy, Joey Bada$$, Playboi Carti, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Meechy Darko & Zombie Juice
Look at all these fucking names! Despite the feature list reading like The Game's "One Blood" remix, "What Happens" combines the efforts of three of New York's finest rap crews into one joyously excessive song. The sheer fact that Joey Bada$$ and Playboi Carti are on the same song is a testament to where rap is right now, and it's great.
"RAF" ft. A$AP Rocky, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti & Frank Ocean
The first time I heard this record I completely swore off touching anyone's Raf for good, no matter how close I get. Now that I get both Frank verses in mastered quality, I won't even look at anyone's Raf.