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.”
Good news: There’s a stylish new way of getting dressed that’s specifically tailored for guys on the move. And the look’s got just the right amount of Jetsons to it: techy fabrics, a clean pair of sneakers, and a throw-it-away attitude. Nobody wears it better than globe-trotting rapper and fashion killer A$AP Rocky.
Lollapalooza has just unveiled their complete 2015 lineup, which includes A$AP Rocky among many other notable acts. The festival goes down July 31st through August 2nd at Grant Park in Chicago. Cop tickets and check the full artist lineup here.
A$AP Rocky made his way down to New Orleans earlier this month to perform at the annual BUKU Music + Art Project. Joining him on his trip to the Big Easy were a couple other members of the A$AP Mob, including Ant, Illz, Nast, Twelvyy, and TyY.
Check out some photos of the Mobs performance, shot by myself (@Djordje), and be sure to follow the A$AP Life Tumblr for more day-to-day photos of the Mob.
It was 2009, and the two were far away from the men they were going to become: Rocky the genre-moving rapper who would challenge and remake the sound of New York hip-hop, and Yams the behind-the-scenes maestro who would shape the palate of hip-hop’s Internet generation, steering Rocky to a gold debut album in the process.
Back then they were would-bes, close friends at the beginning of a long journey. Yams was involved with a woman who organized concerts and had invited Rocky to perform at one. The two came downtown from Harlem only to find that there wasn’t time for Rocky to perform after all.
They got into it outside a downtown McDonald’s, Rocky indignant and Yams telling him: “You think you all that! You think you Kanye!”
As happens with close friends, the fight melted into nothing, and both ended up waiting for the train back uptown, Yams without his shirt, which had been lost in the fight. The next day Yams broke things off with the woman, telling Rocky he’d never let anyone get in the way of what they were trying to build.
“I’m high as fuck right now, I’m drunk as fuck right now, and I just don’t give a fuck right now.”
A$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.
Yesterday, Billboard exclusively announced the Roots Picnic 2015 lineup. This years roster includes the likes of A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Erykah Badu, and many more. Check the full lineup above and grab your tickets here when they go on sale this Friday, March 13th, at 12PM EST.
Among the young torchbearers of NYC’s prestigious rapping tradition, A$AP Rocky’s light shines the brightest. Stepping on to the scene with a fully-formed vision and a mouth full of gold, the charismatic MC’s rapid ascent to style icon has made him the face of Harlem hip hop in the post-Dipset era. For one special evening as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York, Harlem’s best-dressed wordsmith will take a seat on the lecture couch to speak candidly about his manifold influences in music and fashion – and life at the top of hip hop’s food chain.
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.