In New York City’s industrial-chic TriBeCa neighborhood, a small army is gathered to prep for A$AP Rocky’s first Teen Vogue photo shoot. The set is around 20 stops on the 1 train (which the star not-so-lovingly raps about on his debut album) from the Harlem streets where he perfected his craft. But he’s not coming from his native home, where, at 8 years old, the boy known as Rakim Mayers first started freestyling with the encouragement of his older brother, who was tragically killed five years later. Instead, Rocky, as he prefers to be called, arrives fresh off a jet from Los Angeles, where he’s been working on his sophomore record. The second he walks through the door, all eyes are on him.
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