The very first time we met ASAP Ferg, he was touring with the ASAP Mob—the Harlem-based hip hop collective that boasts a long list of talented producers and rappers (and yes, that includes ASAP Rocky). It was a little hectic as ANDPOP’s SImon Mohos interviewed the group as they were surrounded by their fans in a crammed Toronto clothing boutique. It was only yet another day in the life of a talented rapper.
Simon’s next encounter with ASAP Ferg was a little calmer. While tour with Compton, Calif. rapper YG, the former fashion designer and all-around businessman chatted with our host on a comfy couch backstage when he rolled into Toronto earlier this year. They talked about ASAP Ferg’s friendship with model-actress Cara Delevingne (like many modern friendships, it, too, started online), designing his own sparkly grillz and what he’s been eating these days (he’s no longer a Pescetarianism). ASAP Ferg also delivers his best Batman impression as he and Simon do a dramatic reading of a scene straight from The Dark Knight. How did he do? Hit play to find out!
It’s a dismally chilly November evening on the rooftop of Dune Studios, where the photography crew surrounding A$AP Rocky is struggling to find the perfect lighting in which to shoot the rapper for an editorial to be featured in a promotional publication for adidas. Titled “three stripes,” the limited-edition, highly editorialized shopping catalog features guys like Rocky, Pharrell Williams, and Joakim Noah.
If the cold is getting to Rocky, he doesn’t let it show. His “PMF” sangfroid remains intact. The particular editorial he’s modeling for mixes up all manner of adidas Stan Smith sneakers—including a recently dropped iteration with a gum sole—styled with designer clothes fresh from Parisian runways and beyond. It’s the kind of fashion mash-up that’s commonplace now, but was revolutionary when Rocky began blowing up in 2011. The perennially chill rap star is a longtime fan of adidas Originals. He once said that the Jeremy Scott Wings 2.0 sneakers were his favorites, and regularly rocked Scott’s outlandish adidas designs in his music videos. Rocky also associated himself with acclaimed fashion designers like Rick Owens and Raf Simons early on, most notably in his November 2011 single “Peso,” where he says he usually dresses in clothes by the both of them. In 2013, Rocky came full circle when he collaborated on his own version of Jeremy Scott’s “Wings” sneaker.
After three looks on the rooftop, Rocky and crew gladly retreat within the considerably warmer confines of Dune Studios, where he only has a few more looks to shoot before he’s officially done. During the downtime, we interviewed the style-savvy Harlemite about how his style has evolved, adidas’ place in modern sneaker culture, and how he found himself through fashion.
For the second part of the Scion x A$AP Illz Driven video series, A$AP Illz steps into the darkness to highlight the black Scion FR-S. While the first showcased the model in white, this time things get even more abstract. This piece experiments with sound and light to evoke the powerful monochromatic visions used in iconic advertising imagery from the 1980s. As always, it is Illz—the Harlem-raised member of the A$AP Mob—who easily bridges the worlds of high fashion and street fashion.
Scion x A$AP Illz Driven is a two-part video series starring A$AP Illz and featuring the Scion FR-S. These minimal yet evocative pieces reference iconic advertising imagery from the 1980s, but in updated form as Illz demonstrates the mix in high fashion with street fashion. The first video goes all white as Illz utilizes his modeling background to offer a new take on looking fresh.
A$AP Illz sits down with Prince Paul and DJ P.Forreal for an interview on Scion AV’s All Purpose Show. Watch him talk about secret clothing spots and what musicians he thinks could use a style switch-up.
When the news of the death of A$AP Yams hit two Sundays ago, the music industry reacted as if a young Puff Daddy had passed. Yams was the Yoda behind A$AP Mob, the world-conquering rap crew that honed its game in Harlem to become the city’s chief squad, no questions asked. In just a few years, they ascended to the top on the backs of two true fiercely talented rappers: A$AP Rocky, the dandyish wordsmith usually bedecked in designer duds off the runway at Pitti Uomo, and A$AP Ferg, his grimier, zanier street brother with an elastic, rubbery voice that’s capable of dizzying feats of flow.
Yams was not a front man figure—he was always working behind the curtain, pulling strings, whispering in ears—but The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Billboard all ran obits, each testifying to his taste and expertise, and insisting he was someone the city should mourn.
So, this past Thursday night, it was a safe bet that A$AP Ferg’s scheduled performance at Manhattan club Up & Down was more public mass than party. Ferg’s Manhattan show was to re-launch DUH, one of the few unhinged, pansexual, gigantic weekly parties that cross the East River from Brooklyn anymore.
It’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for A$AP Rocky. On Saturday, the 26-year-old rapper attended the world premiere of his new film, “Dope,” a hip-hop-driven comedy in which he plays a drug dealer named Dom. (Also featured are Keith Stanfield, Zoë Kravitz and Rocky’s ex-girlfriend, the model Chanel Iman.) The movie — Rocky’s first — has been a Sundance hit, drawing rave reviews and becoming an early favorite to win the festival’s audience award. But Rocky, né Rakim Mayers, was in little mood to celebrate. Just six days earlier, on Jan. 18, his close friend and collaborator Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez died suddenly of still-undisclosed causes. On Sunday morning, Rocky would have to fly to New York City for the funeral.
When T spoke with Rocky at the “Dope” after-party, the loss was weighing heavily on his mind. “I miss him,” he said of the A$AP Mob co-founder. “Yams was my Yoda. He’s my brother. He left too soon, but I cherished every moment that I knew him.” When the conversation shifted to the film, however, his mood brightened considerably. Citing the 1992 drama “Juice,” starring the late rapper Tupac Shakur, as an early influence, Rocky expressed a desire to keep acting after Sundance. And as he spilled about everything from fashion to film to the current state of hip-hop, it became increasingly clear that his ambitions extend far beyond Park City.
Although A$AP Ferg is synonymous with the turn up – due in part to the success of singles like “Work” and “Shabba” – he feels his responsibility as an artist is bigger than just getting parties popping and as he gets older he wants his music to reflect that. “I’ve gotten a little wiser. I’ve grown. I kind of know what I want out of life,” says A$AP Ferg. “So what I’m putting out there is a little different from when I first started making music.” That growth and maturity is exhibited here and there throughout Ferg Forever, his latest mixtape. There are, of course, still joints to turn up to on the project, but there are also a set of more reflective, honest, revealing, emotionally-fueled and politically charged records like “Uncle”, “Bonnoroo”, “Commitment Issues”, “Thug Cry” and “Talk It.” “I now understand the power of words, so I now try to use them carefully,” he admits.
He was especially careful in choosing a title for the mixtape. He decided on Ferg Forever as a way of paying homage to his father, his father’s legacy and his family’s name, which is Ferguson. “Now that I’m on I feel like I can take that name to the next level,” says the rapper born Darold Ferguson, Jr. His father, who was a well-known graphic designer in Harlem, designed the Bad Boy Records logo for Diddy and the Uptown Records logo for Andre Harrell, and as Ferg puts it, “did a bunch of shit for people in the industry.” Life + Times recently met with A$AP Ferg at the Polo Grounds’ offices and we discussed his latest mixtape, his walk-off with Cara Delevingne and his upcoming tour with YG.
A$AP Illz has high hopes. “I want to be somebody that people are gonna know,” he told FADER, “not just for one thing or two things, but for an expanse of things—for being a talented person.” We invited the Bronx-born 24-year-old, who caught a big wave of public attention this year with a DKNY casting, up to the office to talk about fashion, but what we got was more like a glimpse into his life. We spoke about his mom’s passing and the jewelry line he’s building in tribute, about how his sister’s mac and cheese is his favorite food in the world, and about the way he wakes up each morning: wanting to be remembered. Below, he shows us what that life looks like.