Pictures And Video After The Jump
A$AP Rocky's career is on a meteoric rise. The 24 year old Harlem, New York emcee has quickly become a fixture on the hip hop scene as a rapper, director as well as for having a unique fashion sense.
His debut album LongLiveASAP is due out in 2013.
You’re about to drop Long.Live.A$AP. That’s a big deal. What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about finally unleashing this album that I’ve imprisoned for the past year. It’s begging to be free and rejoiced by the world. It’s some trill shit. It’s some real smoking weed, struggling, some real motherf*ckers-is-coming-for-my-head, some real this-is-how-I-feel, this-is-how-you-feel sh*t.
Is there someone you’d really like to work with? I know who I want to work with.
If I tell you, you going to be like, “What the f*ck is wrong with this n*gga?” I really want to work with MGMT, man.
People are always focused on an artist’s first week sales. With so much riding on your debut are you concerned?
Fuck no. ’Cause if I start being concerned about that shit I’m going to fail. I can’t be concerned with that. Hopefully God will make it so. I’ll do good. What does first week sales mean when Robin Thicke, who ended up doing nothing first week, goes double-platinum? The music industry is nothing like how it used to be. Everything’s different now.
What’s changed the most in the past year for you?
I had a lot of close friends stab me in the back for their own greedy desires. I never saw that coming. I never thought my real niggas would be on some f*ck sh*t with me, and do wack sh*t. I’m a good n*gga, and a lot of people f*ck with me and then leave with these accusations trying to f*ck up what I worked hard for. For example, the whole thing with SpaceGhostPurrp. I didn’t say anything. He’s putting his foot in his mouth. People are starting to see he’s a racist and crazy and bipolar. I look on the Internet and every time we put something out he gets his Raider Klan people to be like, “You’re biting,” and it’s like, “You’re just mad I’m bigger than you.” His life revolves around hating on me, and this is a guy who used to live in my house. My mom took care of him. Before I had a record deal we were sharing dinner plates and sh*t.
Do you think there’s any possibility for reconciliation?
It happened. It’s like it was meant to happen. It is what it is. When the heat came down, he was the only scared one. He was going to have to serve three days in jail like everybody else. Long story short, Purrp went down South, started talking sh*t about n*ggas. It was a cowardly move.
Do you find yourself having to deal with the politics of the industry more these days?
Nah, of course not. That’s friends, not industry stuff. We had Dominic Lord. He’d come join us when sh*t got dope, and because him and Bari were so cool, I just let it rock. I brought him in as a little brother, and then he didn’t want to wait. A$AP Mob, they’re waiting their turn. He left and started telling these labels that he’s the creative motherf*cker behind A$AP and all this other sh*t. Shouts to him. It’s whatever. I’m just saying, there’s no more room for outsiders. We learned that lesson with Spacemonkey and Dom.
It seems that you’re committed to building the success of the A$AP Mob. Do you think you’ll ever be ready to be a label head?
I hope so, ’cause I would f*ck the industry up. I would open the door for all the trill motherf*ckers that need that shot. West Coast n*ggas, southern n*ggas, New York n*ggas, midwest n*ggas, f*cking European London n*ggas that I met, f*cking French people. Not just on some A$AP Rocky-sounding sh*t—I’m talking about people who deserve a shot. And motherf*ckers don’t want to give it to them ’cause it’s underground sh*t.
Your success has opened up doors for your whole crew. Are they cognizant of that fact?
They know that and we all want the same sh*t. I worked hard. Ferg is up next. That’s a wake-up call for a lot of other n*ggas in A$AP. Everybody has their turn. And it’s not based off of talent—none of that. It’s just based off of God, whoever He wants to be next. You seen what happened last night with “Work.” C’mon dude, you really thought that was f*cking “Peso.”
That song got a huge reception at the shows. How does it feel to see people responding to an artist you broke?
I’m ready to cry every time I see it, ’cause it’s like, “Damn, look what I did.” He’s shining. That sh*t is crazy, ’cause I want that for all of them n*ggas. It’s everybody’s turn.
The Odd Future comparisons have gone away.
Thank God. It was just because we were a group. They were out first. I came out with a group. We’re all into the same sh*t. They wear Supreme, we like Supreme. It was silly sh*t. We’re nothing alike, when you think about it.
A lot of fans at the meet and greet said you inspire them. How does that make you feel?
I love that. It makes me feel better, because I could go on WorldStarHipHop and click the latest video of me and.... [Rocky goes on WorldStar, clicks on one of his videos, and reads the comments.] Look at all this hate. Let’s just scroll down. This sh*t shows me that motherf*ckers are aware of what I’m doing, and they have an opinion. Everybody wants their opinion to be voiced. They feel entitled, which you should as a human being. If you have a mouth and an opinion, it should be voiced. But when it comes to hip-hop music, it's the most scrutinized genre there is.
Let’s be real. Does Katy Perry have issues about being tough, being real, or being straight, or being gay? It’s all good. With us, it’s just different. It’s a miracle. Why is it so f*cking hard to accept the fact that we’re heterosexual men who love fashion? We get along with gay people, we accept gay people. We get along with white people, we get along with Asian people. We love everybody. That’s just it. The truth is, all I care about is my craft. I could give a f*ck about anybody’s opinion. I’m doing me and that’s it.
I’m not sure if it’s the I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, but something is clearly resonating with the kids.
It’s working. I want kids to say, “Yo, I want to do what I want to do. I want to live free.” A$AP is a lifestyle. Be young. Smoke some weed. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. I’m not a role model. I’m an entertainer—but I’m a cultural figure.
You’re surrounded by older dudes, like your management. Where did you get your core values from?
I got it from my older brothers and my father. Not to be like a sucker, you know, but they showed me how to be a man. They taught me trill sh*t. My father was a drug dealer, my brother was a gang-banger, and my other brother was a working man, so think about it. All the essentials. [Laughs.] I sold drugs, and when I was young I thought I was a gang-banger, you know, a f*cking businessman. My brother’s the one who taught me how to rap.
You’re also starting to get business deals outside of rap. How did the EA Sports deal come about?
EA Sports f*cks with me hard. They wanted me to do placement for their video games and sh*t. The staff is full of women. They all came with me to the studio and chilled. Older women, bro. I’m like, “How the f*ck do you relate to my music?” White, older women, bro! That’s incredible.
You’ve been grinding for years, but do you feel like you’re still getting started?
It’s just building from the ground right now. Before we know it, you’re going to be saying, “Wow, Rocky, you sold out this arena quicker than Michael Jackson did!” I hope! [Laughs.] If God is good. Maybe I’m jumping the gun.
It’s easy to see the kids are heavily influenced by your style.
Do you think any of hip-hop’s fashion greats are influencing more people than you?
Do you think you’re influencing people like Kanye?
Of course. That’s obvious. [Laughs.] We’re all in the same circle. He’s way richer than me, but of course he’s influenced by me. C’mon, bro. I made waxed denim cool in hip-hop. F*cking waxed denim and rips in jeans. Nobody else did that. I don’t give a f*ck. I didn’t know what I was doing. These jeans are Balmain, and I wear them with a Supreme jacket. Of course I’m influencing.
How do you feel about the culture of hip-hop changing? Lil Wayne is skateboarding now. That’s dope. I put Wayne in Jay-Z and Kanye’s bracket, in terms of success. Wayne is still fun. Are we forgetting that Wayne made everybody switch their flow up and start using the E’s and R’s, and “I’m ir-regul-ar, seg-ular”? Like, c’mon, are we forgetting that Wayne changed hip-hop, too? Are we forgetting that he made all these motherf*ckers want to have tattoos? Are we forgetting that? It wasn’t Wiz, it was Wayne. Wiz did it, too, but I’m just stating facts. This is a guy who f*cking went from being the youngest underdog in his crew to saving his company, and saving his “Daddy.” I’m not a f*cking Lil Wayne d*ckrider—I’m just speaking facts.
People can say what they want about him with the way he dresses. I hate the way he dresses. I’m keeping it 100 with you. It’s very tacky at times. But that’s what he chooses to do. Get off his d*ck! If that’s what he chooses to wear, OK. At least he’s not wearing it ’cause he saw some other lame motherf*ckers wearing it. That’s when I don’t respect it. He’s doing him! Maybe it doesn’t work for you, but it works for him. So we need to get off his d*ck and let that man be legendary.
Is there a musician whose career you’re envious of?
Elvis was the first man to really introduce the world to swag. On TV, it was so crazy. His pelvic gyrations were a vulgar movement. He was banned from TV for doing that, looking like he was on alcohol. He had to apologize and make a public statement about it. It took balls to do that in the 1950s. Nobody was doing that.
Switching gears, the Rihanna a$$ grab at the MTV Awards was pretty awesome.
I didn’t mean for the a$$ grab to be the thing. I don’t fiend for fake publicity sh*t. I’m just a trill n*gga. [Laughs.] Rihanna is what I want to be, as far as having a big core following. She’s very successful. She’s been doing it for years. Think about it. “Pon de Replay”.... So ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12.... She’s got seven years in this sh*t. Shout-outs to that young lady, and hopefully, with the grace of God, seven years from now, I can say the same.
It’s clear that you do things your own way, whether in your music or your fashion. Do you consider yourself a rebel?
Of course. I’m doing everything I want to do, the way I think it should be done. Let’s break it down. I’m from New York City. I look like I’m from California. I rap like I’m from 1993, ’94, or ’95. I dress like I’m from France. [Laughs.] And I f*ck bitches like I’m Tupac. And I ain’t scared of sh*t, like I’m God. So, of course I’m a rebel. I do what the f*ck I want. Everybody has rebellious ways, but I feel like A$AP stands for its own anarchy. We are rebels. We choose to make our own music, and it’s going to become popular. All of our sh*t sounds underground. It doesn’t sound like anything you hear.
Speaking of being a rebel, last night you basically told the process server to f*ck off—
That goes back to the Purrp situation. Purrp hit a guy and beat him up, and we started fighting the sound people. Last night, when that guy tried to serve me the papers, I wanted to punch him, but we know what would have happened then. That was a funny moment. I can’t believe you were there for that. That’s hilarious. You should have taken a picture.