A$AP Ferg is not who you he think he is.
On paper, the Harlem-bred rapper is cocky and brash, seemingly taking pages out of a long-standing rap playbook: He gives himself nicknames like Trap Lord and Hood Pope, and on 2013’s “Shabba,” his biggest single to date, he raps about how “dirty van bitches wanna suck my dick.” He regularly wears mink jackets and a gold grill in his mouth. He makes music videos that fashion him into one of Jesus’s disciples.
But, as he’ll tell you, the real Ferg is far more complex.
Born Darold Ferguson Jr., the 27-year-old is an experimenter, an oddball, and an adaptable artist who figured he’d be a fashion designer—he designed T-shirts alongside his late boutique-owning father and even started his own line of belts. But he wound up a rapper. “I was designing, making money off that,” he says of the teenage years he spent painting silk-screened shirts by hand with a paintbrush and acrylic paints, following in his dad’s footsteps. “But I had another talent,” Ferg says. “Rapping.”
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