From dainty bits of twisted metal to giant gold chains, the jewelry that we put on each morning often carries more of a story than our clothes or makeup ever could. The artists at The FADER FORT Presented by Converse came through wearing ornamentation of all kinds, so we stopped a few of them to find out what a Marc Jacobs watch, or a fox ring, or a chunky gold chain meant to them. Whether their jewels were deeply significant, extravagant, or completely worthless, their answers were revealing all the same.
A$AP Rocky is sitting across from me at a table inside L.A.’s Sound Factory Studios. He looks away from the table, away from a sparse dinner he occasionally picks at, away from me, and repeats, under his breath, the two words I’ve never heard him say, and didn’t think I ever would: “No comment.”
To be fair, it’s been a long day, and he’s barely on the other end of it. A studio all-nighter that ended at 8 a.m. A photo shoot. This interview. A corporate fashion meeting. But despite his schedule, the “no comment” is still a surprise, even though it’s in response to a question about his love life. And not even a great one. It’s one of several times during this conversation where Rocky rolls his eyes, leans his head back—his braids dangling over the back of a studio chair—and stares into the ceiling in response to a question. He’s just not feeling it tonight.
Rocky’s usually a talker. The 26-year-old Harlem native’s outspokenness has been well-documented in these pages and elsewhere more than a few times over the course of his young, white-hot career. His candor is part of his innate charisma: He’s never not had something to say. And typically, something that shows up on arrival as a classic Rocky quotable. So why’s he being tight-lipped now? Is it just the exhaustion from a packed schedule? Or a different kind of fatigue?
It’s hard not to consider the latter. In the two years since he released his chart-topping debut album Long Live A$AP, he’s also emerged as one of rap’s foremost fashion trendsetters, and landed in a relationship with model Chanel Iman. He modeled in a Ferragamo campaign, and took his first acting gig, in the indie darling Dope (a movie that—of course—ignited a fierce bidding war at Sundance for the distribution rights). Last October, Rocky’s first proper track in over a year, “Multiply,” was released to rave reviews. The song also made news because of Rocky’s jabs at fashion lines Been Trill and Hood By Air, two brands he’d provided crucial support to before. On New Year’s Eve, Rocky released the booming “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2.” Fans freaked out. Clubs banged it. Writers praised it. A common headline emerged: 2015 was poised to be the year Rocky was back.
Although it’s been a minute since the world has heard from A$AP Rocky, it’s understandable why. The 26-year-old rapper, model and now actor has been busy. From recording A.L.L.A., the follow-up to his 2013 debut Long.Live.ASAP, which features guests FKA twigs, Lykke Li and long-time producer Clams Casino, to making his acting debut alongside Zoe Kravitz and Forest Whitaker, Rocky has been adding to his already impressive resume the past couple of years. He’s also recovering from the unfortunate death of mentor and friend A$AP Yams, who passed away due to a drug overdose in January of this year. During his performance at the SXSW Milk Music Lounge, hosted by Samsung, he was in much better spirits, going through notable tracks “Goldie,” “Pesos” and “Wild for the Night,” as well as rapping along to songs from the rest of the A$AP Mob.
After his set, Rocky took the time to speak with HYPETRAK about where he’s been, what he’s been up to, his acting debut and what would be his ideal role, and what he listens to when doing psychedelics.
It’s 1 P.M. On sunday and A$AP Rocky is lying on a sun-bleached wood banquette on the roof of his Hollywood home. With braided hair, an easy smile, and a square jaw, the kid’s not nicknamed Pretty Flacko for nothing. And from the canines back, top and bottom, his teeth glitter with pavé diamonds as an extra treat for the human eye. “I know it’s some weird shit,” Rocky says, fish-hooking his mouth with a finger to show off his new dental work. “But it’ll be cooler in two weeks, when it’s finished.”
Rocky is two all-nighters into a music-making bender and says he’s not tired, but he’s moving as if underwater and speaking in subdued non sequiturs. “It’s still my day before yesterday,” he says. And then, of the three-bedroom house with a beautiful kitchen and a treadmill where furniture should be: “I’m gonna miss it here. This was a place to fuck chicks, and I’ve outgrown it.”
It was 2009, and the two were far away from the men they were going to become: Rocky the genre-moving rapper who would challenge and remake the sound of New York hip-hop, and Yams the behind-the-scenes maestro who would shape the palate of hip-hop’s Internet generation, steering Rocky to a gold debut album in the process.
Back then they were would-bes, close friends at the beginning of a long journey. Yams was involved with a woman who organized concerts and had invited Rocky to perform at one. The two came downtown from Harlem only to find that there wasn’t time for Rocky to perform after all.
They got into it outside a downtown McDonald’s, Rocky indignant and Yams telling him: “You think you all that! You think you Kanye!”
As happens with close friends, the fight melted into nothing, and both ended up waiting for the train back uptown, Yams without his shirt, which had been lost in the fight. The next day Yams broke things off with the woman, telling Rocky he’d never let anyone get in the way of what they were trying to build.
Back in January, we got our hands on a Virtual Reality Oculus Rift and the first thing we did with it was start watching porn. (Duh!) We got our staffers to watch some VR porn, filmed their reactions, and made this awesome video. But weren’t done yet! In February, we got the bright idea of doing the same thing with elderly people. Turns out, they weren’t all that impressed by the way future generations will probably spend their time pleasuring themselves, but the results were still pretty damn funny.
Since this is Complex, the only logical next step for us was to get some rappers and singers to watch VR porn for the first time. So we hollered at A$AP Ferg, Action Bronson, Fetty Wap,The-Dream, Jean Grae, and (just for shits and giggles) Big Body Bes to see how they’d react to watching some VR porn. Check out the results above.
“I’m high as fuck right now, I’m drunk as fuck right now, and I just don’t give a fuck right now.”
A$AP Rocky is onstage at Samsung’s tricked-out Milk Music Lounge, filled with Vegas-style flashing lights, free booze and excited fans, including Zoe Kravitz and Miley Cyrus.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been my life,” he says.
But it doesn’t seem like it’s the presumably high-paying corporate gig that’s got Rocky smiling: He’s surrounded by the A$AP Mob, his crew, his “motherfuckers that I came with.” A$AP Ferg, Twelvyy, Illz, Ant, Nast, female newcomer Chynna — all were bouncing around Rocky as he ran through “Goldie,” “Problems,” and his other hits as smoke jets blasted, confetti fell and the crowd heeded their repeated instructions to turn up.
NYFW is a magnet for artists of all types who see clothing as a way to express their creativity. Artists, social stars, singers, actors all rub elbows with editors and buyers as they check out the latest get-ups from our favorite designers. This week I made friends with rapper A$ap Ferg, who caught my attention with face-paint tattoos and warmth. I chatted with Ferg about his impressions of fashion week.
When talking about the A$AP Mob, it’s easy to assume that everyone involved is a rapper. While it’s true that everyone can spit a few bars, their talents are not relegated strictly to music. That couldn’t be more true of A$AP Bari. A multi-talented designer, stylist, and occasional rapper, A$AP Bari is one of the founding members of the A$AP Crew, together with A$AP Yams and Illz. A Harlem native, Bari’s personal style, tastes, and approach to fashion are a product of his environment. Now a tastemaker in his own right, A$AP Bari is also the man behind cult label VLONE. It’s not often that he does interviews but he was good enough to chop it up with CLOT while spending some time in Hong Kong before flying out to Japan. We talked about stylistic inspirations, growing up in Harlem, experiencing Paris Fashion Week, and travelling the world. Check out the full interview below.
Despite being relatively low-key, Bari is the man to talk to when it comes to fashion and style. Here he talks about his stylistic inspirations, growing up in Harlem, experiencing Fashion Week in Paris, and taking in new cultures around the world. Check out the full interview below and stay tuned for more.