A$AP Yams may no longer be here in a physical form, but his vision is still alive and well. The Harlem-born musical genius behind the success of A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and A$AP Mob as a whole is seeing his passion project come to fruition with Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends, the star-studded compilation project that Yammy always dreamed of. (His baby photo graces the album artwork).
The Mob—aforementioned breakout stars Rocky and Ferg, plus A$AP Nast, A$AP Twelvyy and A$AP Ant—banded together while mourning its visionary, who died of an accidental drug overdose in Jan. 2015. But the compilation album has been a long time coming. A$AP Mob dropped its freebie debut mixtape Lord$ Never Worry back in 2012, setting the stage for a proper studio project called L.O.R.D.. A$AP Nast led the way with the uber ‘90s nostalgia of “Trillmatic” in Dec. 2013, followed by A$AP Twelvyy’s “Xscape” and posse cut “Hella Hoes.” Yet after six months of album delays, Yams gave fans an update via his Tumblr account in Sept. 2014. “L.O.R.D. IS SCRAPPED,” he wrote, later citing “too many energies” and inability to “get everybody on the same page.”
But Yams had been filling his own pages with ideas for the project that would become A$AP Mob’s version of Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers—notes that are now in the possession of fashion-forward superstar and de facto leader A$AP Rocky.
Three days before the Halloween release of Cozy Tapes, Rocky sits back in a dark, smoky room at Hollywood’s famed Record Plant studio, rocking a black hoodie and ultra-wide black pants—a look he describes as “goth cozy.” He chats with Genius about the project’s recording process, eclectic influences, big-name guest list, and Yams’ guidance from beyond.
Our interview series Icebreaker features artists talking about things—some strange, some amusing, some meaningful—that just might reveal their true selves. This edition features Harlem MC A$AP Ferg, whose new album Always Strive and Prosper is out now.
Who is a fictional character that you relate to?
Probably Jesus. He was trying to do good by his people most of the time, just trying to feed his disciples—his friends, his homies. They drank wine together. They broke bread together. I’m the same way.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Oh, definitely. I believe that this universe is so big—we can’t be the only enzymes walking around. There are one-cell creatures that we can’t see. There got to be ghosts.
If you could be in any band ever, which one would you choose?
Daft Punk. I’d be the third dude with my own helmet. Maybe I’d transform into a different Ferg—maybe Ferg would just disappear and I’d become somebody else.
A$AP Ferg is making a habit of reaching new levels.
Following the April release of his star-studded sophomore album, Always Strive and Prosper, the Harlem wordsmith has taken the show on the road for his “Level Up Tour” with Tory Lanez. During the 26-date run, the duo will make a stop at the BET Experience at L.A. Live, an annual showcase that’s also slated to feature 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Fetty Wap, and more.
In the midst of all of this, the Trap Lord is also working on more videos from A.S.A.P, as well as new material with his A$AP Mob brothers. Plus, the crew is hard at work on the A$AP Yams-inspired Cozy Tapes.
While Ferg continues to “Strive” for greatness, Rap-Up spoke with the A$AP Mob spitter about it all.
As the tour DJs for reigning rap crew A$AP Mob, the time J.Scott (aka A$AP Snacks) and A$AP Lou, otherwise known as the duo Cozy Boys, spend off-road comes few and far between.
Originally founded by the late Mob patron A$AP Yams, the group’s rising notoriety has expanded into a burgeoning career outside of their Mob brethren, taking the “turn up” to some of the hottest clubs and festivals all over the globe such as Boiler Room, Coachella and Afropunk, to name a few.
We caught up with Cozy Boys in Los Angeles to find out how the two first became affiliated with A$AP Mob, what touring with A$AP Rocky is like and how they pledge to continue the spirit of “cozy” in Yams’ honor.
You may know of Marty Baller as ASAP Ferg’s right hand man when they’re rocking mics around the world or even noticed him the face of Trap Lord. Now, with the release of his first single taken from his upcoming MARTYGRAW project, the Harlem rapper is beginning to establish his name in the industry as a true artist. Marty is also the first artist off A$AP Ferg’s imprint, Trillagain Island Records and as he explains, we can expect a lot of upbeat records that’ll get any party started. “What inspired the title MARTYGRAW was New Orleans. I love to start a party, I’m the party king, so at my shows I want to create that feeling. You know, a lot of people just enjoying themselves. The break down is this, MARTY-G-RAW because I’m so raw when I spit.” Read the full interview below along with Marty Baller’s “Flex” single taken from his upcoming MARTYGRAW project due out in August.
A$AP Ferg Stopped By DJ Whoo Kid’s “The Whoolywood Shuffle” to promote his recent album “Always Strive And Prosper”. He speaks on why he never gets high including a bad trip he experienced, recording “Hungry Ham” at Skrillex’s house and Katy Perry walking in, and the madness of touring the EDM circuit.
When A$AP Rocky released his Live. Love. A$AP mixtape, all the rules went out the window. Rocky belonged to A$AP Mob, a group of friends from Harlem who had built a fierce fan-base through a handful of free releases. Along with Drake’s OVO crew and the since-disbanded Odd Future, the Mob defined a new era of rap where groups of talented friends could boost each other to success. Two album cycles later, they’ve moved on to disrupting fashion.
“I make my own trends, my own style, my own lifestyle,” explains A$AP Bari, the Mob’s resident style expert. Along with Rocky, he helms the concept brand VLONE. “Nobody’s gonna hear you if you’re not out there yelling in their face,” he adds. With his husky whisper, it’s hard to imagine him yelling in anyone’s face. What the 24-year-old is getting at, though, is that it pays to be bold. VLONE lacks fashion industry traditions like seasons, set release dates, or an online store; that hasn’t deterred the brand’s devoted fans, though. On the opening day of VLONE’s Los Angeles pop-up in the arts district, a line stretched around the block hours before the doors would even open. Some die-hard fans had been camping out since the night before, when Bari and Rocky had presented their new “Freestyle” collection. It was modeled by skateboarders sliding and grinding along a two-story ramp.
The next morning, Bari skates around the warehouse space, modeling a look that Rocky will wear two days later when he takes the stage at Coachella: a pair of sweatpants emblazoned with flames and a sweatshirt stamped with the Donnie Darko quote, “Every living creature on Earth dies alone.” Like the rest of the collection, Bari dreamed up the outfit in only 24 hours. He credits this brisk creative pace to “magic, baby.” Like the spray-painted walls around us, the fit is inspired by Bari’s new home, California, and the scenes it reminds him of: “punk, metal, hip-hop and skate culture.”
In the summer of 2011 Harlem’s A$AP Mob became the center of the pop culture universe: the Givenchy wearing, jiggy eye of the storm around them. Of the twelve or so members, it was pretty boy A$AP Rocky who rapidly landed major label deals, magazine covers, and fashion co-signs, while his comrade A$AP Ferg emerged as the masterly “rappers rapper.” For Ferg — Darold Ferguson Jr. to his loved ones — celebrity wasn’t quite the perfect fit that it looked like for Rocky. Ferguson became depressed and built an armor of bravado that was the “Trap Lord” persona we witnessed muggin’ through hits like his debut “Work” and 2013’s monster, “Shabba.”
Ferg was making great music, but it was separate from his true self — it wasn’t an honest extension of his being. After a life-changing encounter with a fan who survived cancer, Ferg carved out a new artistic path that would see his second album re-introduce the rawest A$AP Ferg to his fans.
The new Ferg arrives in Always Strive and Prosper-aka ASAP. It’s an album that deals with the uncomfortable realities of celebrity whilst telling intimate tales of his childhood and youth starring family, friends, and lovers. The album boasts verses from Missy Elliot, Rick Ross, Future and Chuck D that sit perfectly next to cameos from his mother, grandma and the mother of fallen friend, A$AP Mob founder, A$AP Yams.
A$AP Ferg dropped by The Breakfast Club to discuss his sophomore album Always Strive and Prosper. This time around he is more personal than before. His background is in art and fashion and he was used to playing behind the scenes, he was forced to the forefront once his music career took off and he had to get used to it. Now he realizes that you have to open up all of yourself to the fans.