“I have many closets,” says A$AP Rocky. How many? “A few…” He cracks a smile that would look shy if it weren’t exposing two diamond-encrusted gold teeth.
It’s hardly a secret that Rocky is into fashion. He’s namechecked every major designer in his lyrics, from Balenciaga to Ann Demeulemeester. He’s starred in campaigns for his friend Alexander Wang. He regularly sits front row at New York Fashion Week. And, in 2013, he collaborated on a line with Raf Simons. He also collects vintage Issey Miyake, he tells me.
His latest venture though, has a more personal feel. Recently, Rocky reached out to GUESS to express his appreciation for the brand’s role in hip-hop history and how much it meant to him growing up. Not long after, he was flying out to LA, where the brand let him loose in its archive. The result is Archive: GUESS Originals x A$AP Rocky, a throwback collection of men’s and women’s pieces that look like 1996 but fit like 2016. There are striped tees stitched with “GUE$$ JEANS USA,” cute acid-washed crop tops, and skinny overalls printed with Rocky’s customized version of the brand’s iconic triangle.
“I’m kind of like an antimillennial,” says Darold Ferguson Jr., otherwise known as A$AP Ferg. “Nothing was given to me.” The Harlem-bred rapper, part of the A$AP Mob alongside A$AP Rocky, is so against the stereotype of his generation—or hell, his profession—that when he started, he didn’t even long to be in the spotlight. “I just wanted to be a writer,” he says. “I didn’t want to deal with the fame. But people were just like, No, we need you in front of us.” And do we ever. This year, the complex lyricist drops his second LP, Always Strive and Prosper (longhand for the acronym A$AP), which features collaborations with Madonna, Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliott, and he will continue to unveil projects from his designer line, Devoni Clothing. Not to suggest its all about A-listers and being flossy: Last summer, he launched the annual Ferg Health Fair, where hundreds of Harlem kids were treated to checkups and a gig by the artist himself.
At our Under 30 summit in Philadelphia this fall, Rakim “A$AP Rocky” Mayers was among the last to arrive at our group cover shoot.
“Sorry,” he said with a grin, decked out in a full-length Dior coat. “I’m fashionably late.”
Indeed, nobody in the hip-hop world has been more fashionable of late. The Harlem-born mixtape maven grew up shuttling between homeless shelters, swaggering into mainstream consciousness with debut album Long.Live.A$AP, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2013, helping him earn an estimated $5 million that year.
But it’s his fashion sense–modeling for DKNY and creating a capsule collection for Guess–that makes him ascendant. Rocky is focused on his creative collective, AWGE, which does everything from designing album artwork to managing stylists.
“To be able to curate and manage my own business,” he says, “I always wanted to do it.”
He’s sitting in a green room, waiting for his turn to film scenes for Pusha-T’s “MPA” video. Fellow Mob member A$AP Nast and longtime mentor Chase Infinite sit on a couch while Rocky relaxes in a vintage barber chair.
Before we begin our interview, he looks up at a rack of clothes and has an idea. He wants to throw on a “cozy” green Stussy robe. When he sits back down, he looks even more relaxed, laughing as jokes and smoke fill the room.
But Rocky’s happiness doesn’t just come from this; the state of hip-hop’s also got him smiling.
Of the whole A$AP Mob, the Harlem-based hip-hop and fashion collective, A$AP Ferg is known as the most personable one. Funny and gracious in interviews, Ferg is someone you want to root for. Since the death of his good friend A$AP Yams last year, the 27-year-old rapper has spent much of the past few months working on projects that illustrate his wide-ranging interests outside of hip-hop. — from painting, to designing shoes, to creating rugs. Yes, rugs. This past Monday, Ferg unveiled his new Traplord rug at an event thrown by Fancy. He also released a new song, “Tatted Angel,” earlier this week, which discusses his feelings about the death of his good friend Yams.
Before his performance on Monday night, Ferg sat down with Maxim to discuss his new album (coming out in 2016), maturing as an artist, and painting with Swizz Beatz.
Tyler Grosso is that little emo kid in the corner at the party who gets more girls than pretty much everyone without even trying. He’s also a member of the infamous A$AP Mob and the founder of his own brand, Superrradical. He’s also probably one of the last people you would ever expected to do a podcast but I put in a few calls and made it happen. I got Tyler to tell me his entire story including some never before heard details about bootlegging Odd Future merch, being homeless, getting temporarily kicked out of A$AP and why he hates Travis Scott. All in all a great interview even though the video cut out towards the end.
00:30 Growing up
04:00 Making fake Odd Future merch
13:40 Meeting Yams
22:00 Sleeping on the floor
25:00 Asking people to wear your shirts
26:50 RIP Yams
34:00 Super Radical
39:00 Moving to California
57:00 Ass Pizza checks in
59:30 The Players Club
1:02:00 Getting kicked out of A$AP temporarily
1:05:00 Raider Klan beef
1:07:30 Why he hates Travis Scott
In 2013 A$AP Rocky was given a sneaker collaboration with adidas on a pair of all-black Jeremy Scott Wings sneakers, and it was only a matter of time before his right-hand man, A$AP Ferg, got his chance to work with the brand, too.
It’s two years later and a lot has changed for the A$AP Mob since those days. They’ve lost their mentor, A$AP Yams, and it’s directly affecting Ferg’s project with adidas, as he’s chosen to dedicate the sneaker he designed to the late Yams.
The collection comes in the form of two “Hood Pope” colorways of the adi-Ease skateboarding shoe, along with a T-shirt featuring a painting of Yams that Ferg did himself.
With Art Basel taking place in Miami right now, adidas and Ferg have gone down to Florida to open an art gallery, titled “Always Strive and Prosper,” for the collection, which opens today at 9 p.m. at 337 SW 8th St.
The sneakers also released today, too, and can be purchased here for $70. To further understand how this sneaker collaboration came about and how much Yams influenced it, we spoke to Ferg himself.