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$AP Nast on a rainy LA evening about what it means to be a rapper for the new millennium, the communal listening habits that define us, and the style that took him worldwide.
Imagine growing up in Harlem and Nike asking you to make your own pair of Air Force 1s or, as you’d call them, Uptowns. That’s exactly what ASAP Bari is dealing with right now, as his clothing brand, VLONE, is the most recent collaboration on the sneaker that’s approaching its 35th birthday.
The sneakers themselves are black with orange highlights, made from premium leather, and debuting at ComplexCon, which is going down right now in Long Beach, California. We had the opportunity to talk to Bari about what this project means to him and his neighborhood. Edison Chen, the Hong Kong entertainment mogul and co-founder of CLOT, was also able to provide insights on why the Air Force 1 remains a massive sneaker almost three and a half decades after they were first released.
It’s been a long time coming, but as promised A$AP Mob has officially released their studio album Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. The album’s cover clearly pays tribute to their late member A$AP Yams, while the tracks live up to the name “Friends” by not only featuring members of the Mob, but also a slew of artists they co-sign. There’s no shortage of up-and-coming rappers on the album as Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Madeintyo and Playboi Carti all drop verses; while “Nasty’s World” serves as a refreshing track featuring Onyx, a group that helped pave the way for many of today’s hip-hop collectives – including A$AP Mob. Tyler, the Creator also has a noteworthy contribution on the final track of the album “Telephone Calls” with friend/tourmate A$AP Rocky.
Despite the Mob’s frontman A$AP Rocky being seemingly everywhere over the past year, he still manages to appease his fans by hopping on a list of the Cozy tracks. Few artists in hip-hop have been able to navigate different worlds with as much success as Rocky, who has managed to solidify spots in music, high fashion and film. Adding to the impressive list of accolades is his recent partnership with MTV, where he’s landed a major role as a creative for the network. All of these achievements are a testament to his star power and with no signs of letting up anytime soon, it’s clear that Flacko’s in the game for the long haul.
We caught up with A$AP Rocky at a private Cozy Tapes listening session held in Los Angeles to ask him about the new album, his creative work with MTV and his hectic lifestyle. Check out the full discussion with Rocky below as he almost slips up to reveal some major upcoming personal projects in the works.
A$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.”