Always Strive and Prosper. It’s more than a feel-good album title for A$AP Ferg; it’s a way of life. “That’s the voyage that I’m going through right now. I’m always striving. You hit new levels [and] even when you hit that new level, there’s a new level from there.”
It’s early evening in a tiny dressing room at the Adidas Originals store on 136 Wooster Street. The 27-year-old rapper waxes poetic while kicking his feet — outfitted with his custom-designed Adidas sneakers — in a swivel chair. He’s been fighting off a cold and beads of sweat gather at his forehead. Outside, the din grows as fans pack into the store to hear the rapper’s forthcoming sophomore album, set to be released April 22.
Born Darold Ferguson Jr., in Harlem, A$AP Ferg grew to prominence alongside high school friend A$AP Rocky in 2009, but his creative trajectory didn’t begin with rap. Ferg’s late father, Darold Ferguson, was a prolific designer who created logos for Bad Boy Records, and had his own fashion line called Ferg Apparel. As a teen growing up in Hamilton Heights, Ferg attended the High School of Art and Design and peddled his own clothing and accessories. “It’s in the bloodline,” he tells the Voice. Following A$AP Rocky’s breakthrough, “Peso,” Ferg realized rap was a viable career option. “I started getting the calls from Warner Bros., Sony. Any rap label you could think about called my phone [to] try and get meetings with A$AP [Mob].”
While Rocky, the self-professed “Pretty Motherfucker,” is the collective’s rock star, Ferg is its darker, grimier figure. In 2013, he released his debut, Trap Lord, buoyed by the underground bangers “Work” and “Shabba.”
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