A$AP Nast, the rapper and 26-year-old cousin to Rocky, stands by a rack of clothing. He inspects the fabrics and fits with unusual precision and tries on a pair of ballooning Yohji Yamamoto pants. Nast’s love of fashion is emblematic of a movement in rap, one that the A$AP Mob collective has popularized and propagated. At this time, the job description of the hip hop star has ventured into areas previously unknown—from mentoring fans in his Instagram comments to preferring thrift shopping field trips over breakfast. Nast’s grunge-inspired music taps into the soul of ultimate teenage angst to create work that represents the hybridized magic that is the future of hip hop. And the collective that surrounds him has perfected the solitary art of this rewritten rule: loneliness is fun when you do it together.
Kevin Pires spoke to A$AP Nast on a rainy LA evening about what it means to be a rapper for the new millennium, the communal listening habits that define us, and the style that took him worldwide.
A$AP Rocky announced to the world via tweet (and crying Benedict Cumberbatch GIF) last weekend that “Cozy Tapes Vol. 1” was finished.
“Cozy Tapes” has been a labor of love and devotion for Rocky. The project, which features multiple A$AP Mob members, was initiated by close friend A$AP Yams, who died suddenly in early 2015. While there’s no release date yet for “Cozy Tapes,” we’re one step closer today with the release of the film “Money Man,” which includes two tracks from the album.
The intense 12-minute short film was directed by AWGE, A$AP Rocky’s creative collective, and tells the tragic story of Rina, a character trapped in a world of crime and misfortune. It is soundtracked by the song “Money Man” featuring A$AP Nast and a second song featuring Skepta. Both songs were recorded at Red Bull Studios London.
The film — shot over three days in northwest London — also features A$AP Nast and Skepta. Also making an appearance is Said Taghmaoui, the screenwriter and actor, who starred in the groundbreaking 1995 French film “La Haine,” upon which the “Money Man” film takes its inspiration, and the acclaimed David O. Russell movie “Three Kings.”
Last month, A$AP Rocky dropped the track “Crazy Brazy” — featuring A$AP Rocky, the Atlanta rapper Key! and A$AP Twelvvy — which is also on “Cozy Tapes.” In an interview with MTV, Rocky called the album “an introduction to a new cozy way. It’s really rap-punk meets alternative underground.”
Just in time for V-Day, Skepta has blessed us with a video for his self-produced new song “Ladies Hit Squad,” that debuted on the OVO Sound Radio show last night. The sultry clip features Skep and co-stars Harlem’s A$AP Nast and London MC D Double E chilling in a purple-lit room with a pool and a crew of beautiful women they’re intent on impressing.
Nast sings the hook with a melodic nod to “Hotline Bling” while D Double E drops his best come-ons in the opening verse, but it’s theFADER cover star who seals the deal with this very U.K. couplet: We don’t really need Netflix, I’ll give you something to watch/ And after we’re done, build a spliff and cotch.
“The way this song came together was too organic,” Skepta told The FADER over email today. “We’ve been listening to it in the ends, in the studio, in Ubers every day for months now so I’m happy it’s finally out for the world to hear.”
According to Skepta’s team, 2016 will see the release of the London grime star’s new album, Konnichiwa. Knew this was gonna be a good year.
Four years is a long time in the Internet age. Just think: Four years ago you probably didn’t know what Uber was, had never used SnapChat, and you probably had never heard of a rapper named A$AP Rocky and his Harlem based crew, the A$AP Mob. In 2011, A$AP Rocky launched the A$AP movement after releasing an instant classic video called “Purple Swag.”
The video blew us away. Just when it was starting to feel like New York couldn’t produce new rap stars, a shirtless Rocky came strutting down the block on that bike sporting Jeremy Scott adidas with the charisma of 50 Cent, the sound of Houston, and a “alternative but traditional” aesthetic masterminded by the late, great A$AP Yams. Four years later and Rocky is a full blown star who recently got his third Complex cover and has his highly anticipated sophomore album slated for later this year. That’s why this song was ripe for a Magnum Opus treatment.
None of what Rocky—and the rest of the Mob—has accomplished these past few years would have been possible if it wasn’t for “Purple Swag.” So we got with the main members of the Mob including Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Nast, and A$AP Bari to talk about how the Mob came together and how Rocky crafted the song. Of course, we all also took time out to talk about the genius of A$AP Yams, who tragically passed away earlier this year, and how he helped the song blow up. As great as the song is, it certainly wouldn’t have had the same impact without it’s corresponding video. So we also spoke with director Jason Ano as well as everybody’s favorite white girl with gold grills, Anna Trill. And finally, with all the debate that the song sparked about whether or not New York rappers should be using a Southern sound, we just had to speak with the Trill OG himself, Bun B about why he’s cool with Rocky’s H-Town influence.