It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from A$AP Ferg, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working. The Harlem MC hasn’t put out much new music outside of some guest spots since his August 2013 debut album Trap Lord, hit stores. But last Friday Ferg returned triumphantly with his brand new 19-track mixtape Ferg Forever, a teaser for both his new BestCoast Connection Tour with YG and his upcoming sophomore album, which he told XXL in October was “almost done.”
Just before his tape hit the streets, XXL spoke to Ferg about the changes he’s made to his sound, why it’s important for him to speak on the situation in Ferguson and why it’s okay to not be lyrical all the damn time.
A$AP Ferg may be recognized as one of the hottest new voices out of Harlem, but it’s also a little known fact that he enjoys creating art and actually attended art school in NYC. While painting his own shirt, the “Shabba Ranks” rapper shares that his Ferg family name also has rich ties to his community, as his grandmother has received many awards for her activism, his father has designed logos for various record labels and his uncle has had serious street ties for years. Ferg is proud that he can share his fortune with that uncle, taking him around the world to see a different lifestyle after spending so many years on the streets and behind bars.
Fashion has also always been a part of Ferg’s life, saying it was his major in school. He recalls that the kids his age never understood his fashion sense but that older guys always told him he was on another level.
Scott is a man of many talents. A true multitasker, his résumé is impressive: He is the brains (along with a handful of others) behind the hilarious website IMNOTATOY [http://imnotatoy.com/], which has a loyal cult following; was an integral part of the wildly popular Ballers Eve radio show [http://www.ballerseveplaya.com/] that helped break many underground artists; serves as the in-house deejay for the A$AP Mob; and manages and does A&R for vocalist, artist, and model Kilo Kish [http://kilokish.com/]. Originally from the College Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Scott now resides in New York City when he is not traveling the world working on different projects. He keeps an open mind and focuses on innovation—bringing an original perspective to all of his endeavors. His positive attitude and high energy are infectious and encourage creativity. Not overly concerned with credit or money, Scott focuses on pushing things forward and being a team player. Pay attention—he is definitely one to watch.
The Guggenheim is gearing up for its annual International Gala benefit Thursday night, but before the main event, the museum wanted to celebrate with a little music, a sprinkling of celebrities and plenty of fashion. On Wednesday evening, in collaboration with the folks at Christian Dior, the museum held a pre-party for the gala, taking over three levels of the museum to host an event where the Veuve Cliquot was free-flowing and the music was plentiful.
The affair was attended by a smattering of It girls, including Karlie Kloss, Zoe Kravitz, Camila Belle and Harley Viera-Newton. Also on hand was Dior Creative Director Raf Simons, who was tucked away in the VIP area chatting with brand muse Marion Cotillard and Dior CEO Sidney Toledano. Guests were treated to a performance by English indie pop band The XX, whose gurgling guitars and chill sound filled the museum with swaying spectators.
Before heading out after the performance, we ran into A$AP Rocky, dressed in a crisp white shirt, black jacket, leather skinnies and oxfords. Rocky is a proud disciple of fashion, and calls Raf Simons one of his favorite designers. “If you step out of your shoe and a guy can tell you what kind of shoe it is, that’s a keeper!” We assume he was referring to himself.
We chatted with the newly-single fashion plate (he split with model Chanel Iman last month) to get his thoughts on hip-hop, fashion and the #1 thing on his Christmas wishlist.
On a late summer day, the air humid and muggy, I boarded the 1 Train to East Harlem with Thomas. We were about to meet up with Ferg, who had just finished touring the world, only to be getting ready to do it again. He’s been extremely busy, constantly pushing himself, but for this quick two week stint in New York, he was able to refocus and relax more or less. On tour, in the studio, designing clothes, and shooting videos he’s known as A$AP Ferg; but for this moment as we came upon him sitting on a stoop around the block from where he grew up, he was Darold Ferguson Jr.
With a slice of pizza in one hand, he greeted us nonchalantly and then continued eating while asking us how we were. He was accompanied only by his longtime friend and assistant Demetrius. Here sat the guy who had just came back from touring and working with some of the biggest names in music encompassing at least four different genres, but you wouldn’t know it if you were just walking by; several people walked by en masse, unaware of the interview going on. Only at one point did a slightly older gentleman whom Ferg knew stop by to dap him up before coolly leaving when he learned of what was taking place (“Okay, don’t let me interrupt!”)
As he spoke, he carried with him an aura of easygoingness and humility. Though modest, especially on his old stomping grounds, he was still able to exhibit glimpses of his more hedonistic, flashy side. Dressed in his clothing brand, Trap Lord, with bright camo on his shorts and bucket hat, and giving answers walking the line of self-indulgence, it’s apparent he knows he is larger than life. But even through this self-awareness of opulence, that inner humble kid from Harlem shone through, as he’s far from finished puttin’ in work.
Mr. Green is back again with a new batch of tight collaborators, and for this latest espisode, he’s hooking up with A$AP Ferg.
Mr Green had this to say about the collaboration: “This might come as a surprise but I like to trap music, it’s dope. I’m a boom bap dude at heart, but there is something crazy exciting about trap music that I can’t get enough of. I’m not sure if it’s the sub bass, the fast hi-hats, or the ridiculous chants that the artist say over and over, but I’m feeling it.
“When my people from VICE/Noisey told me A$AP Ferg wanted to do an episode I was all the way down. I immediately sat for a couple hours and chopped some samples I got from Chinatown in New York and put the beat together. A couple days later me, Sam and the crew headed uptown to Polo Grounds studio to meet Ferg. He was mad cool. We immediately hit it off and started talking about growing up riding bikes and how the BMX/skate worlds overlap into hip-hop and the music industry.
“It kind of felt like I was talking to one of my friends I grew up skating with and not some mainstream rapper/celebrity dude. He did a couple crazy verses and a hook about riding bikes and then we took off. Ferg and I have a mutual friend Nigel Sylvester—who I know through Animal Bikes—so while I was making the track, I met up with him. We recorded some bikes sounds and then I threw them in the mix. Finally, we checked out Animal Street jam in Newark and got a bunch of dope footage. Shout out to Gabby, Nigel, VICE/Noisey, Ferg and the whole A$AP Mob, Animal Bikes, Ralph Sinisi & everyone that attended the 2014 Animal Street Jam in Newark.”
A$AP Twelvy is a man of the people. The Mob member may tour the world with his A$AP brethren, but when home in Harlem he’s hooping with his boys or getting his stats up in 2K like the rest of us. In either event, 2-12’s rotation ranges from reflective runners to sole swapped classics, still making room for current KDs and can’t miss collabs. Find out exactly what Twelvy’s rocking in the latest My 5.
Hailing from perhaps one of the most triumphant and momentous hip-hop movements of the 21st century, comes the underdog not as much a household name as his labelmates… yet that is. you have the vocalist, stylistic, kingpin of his group and trade Rocky, his name and his heartthrob complexion as well known in Harlem as the colossal political figure before him Malcolm X, and his slugs as bright as the entirety of the Mob’s future. you have Ant, the absolutely necessary, grimey-Baltimore representer that all hip-hop groups ought to possess. then there’s Yams, his name deriving from a 2009 Triple C’s anthem about cocaine, his “lean-spill” birthmark notorious throughout the music industry and a proper representation of the mastermind behind A$AP. and of course there’s A$AP Lou, the frequent lean-picture-taker, sole Caucasian face in the Mob. and amongst several other members, Twelvvy, Nast, Ty Beats, Ferg, Bari, etc., thus spawns a newer face of the Mob, a face with the most room for growth, a face with the up-most potential, and his youthful likes gives room for a career of great longevity.
A$AP Lotto, the face of Miami in the Mob. And his strive and drive is that of a 2011 Rocky, with the grit of a “Coke & White Bitches” Ant, but Lotto can hardly get compared to anyone but himself. I conducted an interview with the Mob member, answering everything from his inspirations, to his aspirations, and even to what in fact A$AP Lou actually does.