It’s been a year of extremes for A$AP Rocky, or Pretty Flacko, the name he tells me he prefers when we are introduced. The Sundance premiere of Dope, in which the Harlem rapper made his acting debut, came just six days after the tragic loss of his friend and A$AP worldwide co-creator, A$AP Yams.
Yams’s (born Steven Rodriguez) print is all over Rocky’s latest album At.Long.Last.A$AP or A.L.L.A. He co-executive produced the album, and Rocky pays full tribute to his co-conspirator on the album cover by rocking Yams’s distinctive purple birthmark.
A.L.L.A is an impressive record. A considered chronicle of an artist transitioning from a young man filled with ambition, bravado and game to one who has truly lived and wishes to speak honestly. It also sees Rocky flex a more dexterous flow with a confidence that has him go toe-to-toe with Yeezy, Weezy, Juicy J, Future, Schoolboy Q, and, of course, Rod Stewart.
On the phone Rocky is warm, gracious and playful, constantly acknowledging and praising others. He explains that he wants to make the rawest music possible for his rawest fans and that he’s excited for next year’s Australia tour, presented by Noisey.
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