Every several years it appears we all become witnesses to a special music talent. The type of talent whose body of work seemingly transcends beyond the plateaus of music. Their individuality and swagger: effortless. This person we refer to is A$AP Rocky, and with all systems going, 2012 is destined to be a stellar year for him to say the least. We caught up with the young Harlemite as he discussed some of the inner workings of his A$AP family and some of the things he’ll be getting into. “Always Strive and Prosper” -A$AP
First off, the question many have been wondering – who is the girl in the “Purple Swag” video?
Anna Perp man, she’s a trill ass chick from Harlem, and yes she’s Caucasian, gold grill shining, a bad b*tch, and yes she uses the “N” word on a full-time regular basis. Well not born, but she lives in Harlem, she's trill as fuck, nothing generic about her, not a poser, I just can’t wait for the world to see her. She kind of disappeared, because she was getting a little too much attention. So she's in North Carolina with her parents but she’ll be back soon. She’s trill as fuck, she’s down there breeding pit bulls, she’s into that stuff.
How did the term “A$AP” first get invented and when was the first time it came up?
It stands for “Always Strive And Prosper,” and I didn’t join A$AP until 2007. So for me, I used to just hang in Harlem. I was the guy that used to just fuck with all the bitches and get fly shit. At the time, A$AP was a crew out there that didn’t get a lot of recognition but they caught my eye because real will always recognize the real, you know? The downtown (Manhattan) types kind of people only fucked with A$AP at the time, you know like SoHo. Then these guys from Harlem kind of filled the gap, because they were really on that shit before it was cool to dress how they dress right now, you know what I mean? These dudes were really doing it at a time when you would really get patronized for this type of thing. I felt we shared a lot in common, from our views and realizing we are outcasts and just say “fuck it we’re going to be ourselves.” The game didn’t accept us at first and now it’s like they have no choice, these n*ggas have to love us now. I joined the crew in 2007 and eventually more people have been getting down, so I didn’t start it or am I the leader. I just made it hot. The real will always recognize real.
No doubt. Your mixtape LiveLoveA$AP received very a positive response within the industry and beyond, so it makes sense to reissue it commercially. When did this move first crossed your mind and what reaction do you expect from the fans?
I expect the fans to fuck with it, it’s just one of things, it is what it is. I got really, really good feedback off this mixtape although it was so different. Yet people were willing to listen to it at a time when the masses were reluctant to get familiar with something so different. But for the most part I got a lot of good reaction, and we’re going to remaster it, deluxe edition, different features, different songs, and put it out for purchase. It’s going to be cool, it’s going to be a good look and think people are going to fuck with it.
With a record deal worth $3 million dollars, what are your plans for the A$AP movement? Referring to future releases and overall vision...maybe even beyond music?
As far as we can go, there’s no limit bro, everything, everything! I’m so serious. We’re so talented and I don’t want to be so cliche but it is what it is. We got song writers, producers, actors, athletes, we got some trill ass motherfuckers man.
With the A$AP movement in full force, what will be your formula to achieve longevity?
Just to stay true and keep doing what I have been doing. Not trying to appeal, just because, you know? Just do me, that's all. Personally, that’s all I’m doing. I’m just doing me and it’s fun as fuck. I don’t have to try to make a club sounding record, I’m comfortable with the records I make.
If they play it on the radio, I’ll be honored. If they play it in the club, I’ll be honored, I’m just doing whatever the fuck I want to do, and that’s how you get longevity – focusing on what you want to do and what makes you happy. A lot of people don’t know themselves. Thank God we found ourselves and we’re outcasts and we don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks. We’re gold slugging it, we’re different. We just do whatever the fuck we want it, and people will learn to appreciate it because everyone is doing the same shit. You know what time it is bro, I can tell you got taste.
Let the readers decide on that one. Alongside the fans, you’ve had a share of prominent cosigns, notably Drake. Pusha T also freestyled over the Peso instrumental and hinted at a possible collaboration between you guys. Is there any collabos on the horizon and any artists you would love to work with?
Honestly on some real shit, I have never been anywhere outside of New York. Maybe Pennsylvania and California. With A$AP it was just us doing us, and people just rolled with it, and we didn’t know anybody, like I don’t know nobody. I just started doing my thing, feel me? We just came out the woodwork, and now I’m starting to get the ball rolling. I don’t want to say I’m working with this person or that person, but everything is just new to me.
Despite some bogus rumors, you clarified there is no beef between A$AP and Odd Future. So any chances we could see both camps working together in the future?
I’d love to. I haven’t spoken to anybody in that camp, but I’d love to. I fuck with these guys, I fuck with Tyler.
The Houston influence is evident in several of your tracks being chopped and screwed, can you tell us how this all ties in?
I have never been to Houston, but I’m influenced by its culture. It’s like Wu-Tang having never been to China, you feel me? But they studied it and it is what it is. Just to clarify, I don’t claim to be from Houston. I’m from Harlem, and as mentioned, I ain’t never been nowhere outside of NYC, but I will be going to Houston in a week or two to get with Bun B.
What’s going on with that?
I haven’t met him in person yet but he did a “Purple Swag” remix, and there’s a few people who are genuinely cool people, and he’s definitely one of them. There’s just a lot of Hollywood people out there, and I’m trying to avoid all that.
You direct your own music videos and recently did one for Danny Brown. Can you tell us how the visual creation came together?
Honestly bro, I said to him “I want to shoot your video” he said “okay,” I asked “when you need it by” he said “two days” and that was it. I took him to the store, we got a basement, called some bitches, bought some candles, bought a smoke machine and made the best of it. We weren’t working with a huge budget, none of that, just raw. I think that was the cleanest raw video ever personally. I did it in one day, and it was freestyle. I direct all my own videos and I have one I’m doing for CurT@!n$ coming out soon.
Any final words?
I just want to say THANK YOU!!!
Special thanks for Brook Bobbins for the photo work. All photos are copyrighted and owned by www.who-shot-ya.com.
Interview: Davis Huynh, Petar Kujundzic