In 2012, A$AP Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) took the music and fashion world by storm with his hybrid hip-hop sound and unique sense of fashion style. The 24-year-old Harlem native is ready to kick off 2013 on a high note with his debut album, ‘Long.Live.A$AP,’ due in stores Jan. 15.
A year ago, Rocky was virtually unknown until he dropped his hard-hitting mixtape ‘Live.Love.A$AP,’ which was celebrated by music bloggers and tastemakers alike. Record labels started calling, and Rocky inked with Polo Grounds Music, under the RCA-Sony banner.
And a star was born.
Not bad for kid who has experienced some tough times growing up in Harlem, U.S.A. But Rocky’s steely confidence and perseverance has enabled him to survive, hence the A$AP moniker, which stands for “Always Strive and Prosper.”
Rocky’s new album, ‘Long.Live.A$AP,’ is a great hip-hop album that should make his core fans happy. One of the most-talked about songs on the collection is his posse track ‘1 Train,’ which features an all-star of well-versed emcees Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Joey BadA$$, Action Bronson and Yelawolf.
The self-proclaimed “Dat Pretty Motherf—er” talked to PopCrush about his new album, his upcoming tour with Rihanna, and what he’s looking to accomplish in 2013. (Note: This interview was conducted before A$AP Rocky’s father passed away. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.)
Congratulations on your success in 2012. I’m sure you’re happy that the album is finally coming out after a long delay.
Thank you. Yeah, I’m glad man. I’m happy that people will finally get to hear what I’ve been working on this whole time.
First off we have to talk about the posse track ’1 Train.’ That song is crazy. How did the idea come about for that incredible song?
It was my idea. I just wanted people to hear a posse cut that no one has ever heard before in a long time.
Were all of them in the studio together? Was it competitive?
Well, some of us were [in the studio together]. I wasn’t in the studio with [Big] K.R.I.T. and Yelawolf. Of course, it was competitive [in the booth], but that’s what hip-hop is about. It’s all love, though, at the end of the day.
Watch the A$AP Rocky ‘Long Live A$AP’ Video
Your album, ‘Long.Live.A$AP,’ has some interesting collaborations. You have a song ‘I Come Apart’ with Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine. Were you a fan of their music?
Honestly, I was never into them until they reached out. I knew about them because they won Grammys and stuff. After that I got into them. It was great working with them on that song.
And you have a song with Skrillex called ‘Wild for the Night,’ which might surprise a few people with that collaboration.
Skrillex is my boy. We just wanted to create a song for those wild parties and stuff, you know?
We loved the haunting track ‘Phoenix’ with producer Danger Mouse.
Yeah, I was familiar with his music through Gnarls Barkley — ‘The Odd Couple’ album and stuff. I really wanted to work with him. So I hope people will dig the record.
You also have a song called ‘Fashion Killa.’ Since you have been killing the game with your unique fashion style, will there ever be a A$AP clothing line in the future?
No…no…no. I’m cool on that.
Was there any particular event in 2012 that was most memorable for you?
Completing my project for one. Performing for the first time at different award shows was memorable. My first time performing on big records with Usher [‘Hot Thing’], Lil Wayne, Rihanna [‘Cockiness’] and touring with Drake. It’s been a good year for me.
What about grabbing Rihanna’s booty at the MTV Video Music Awards? That was the most memorable grab of 2012.
You funny, bruh. She’s the homie, though.
Are you excited about touring with Rihanna on her Diamonds World Tour? Will there be any pyrotechnics with your stage show?
I’m very excited about that, it’s going to be fun. I don’t know about all that other stuff. I don’t know.
Have you and Rihanna discussed what your plans are going to be on the trek?
Not yet, maybe next year we’ll talk.
Oh, and congratulations on the signing of A$AP Ferg to Sony Music.
Thank you, thank you. I’m real happy for him. He’s next in line, so look out for him.
On a separate note, what do you think about the sudden rise of Trinidad James? He’s currently experiencing the same kind of buzz you had a couple of years ago. What advice would give him because all eyes are watching him right now?
Honestly, I feel that the rap game needs more creative people like him, who are coming in and doing their own thing, ya feel me? But also I feel, like, a lot of people get to a certain stage and then they flop or fumble the ball and everything is f—ed up. If I had any advice for him, it’s don’t lose it, hang in there and don’t lose your head.
Finally, what are your goals for 2013?
I want to stay out of trouble and keep making creative s—, ya feel me? I want people to go buy my album and listen to it. I really worked hard on it and I’m really proud of myself. Enjoy it.
Watch the A$AP Rocky ‘F—in’ Problems’ Video Feat. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar