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A$AP Ferg: “There’s a lot of New York rappers who are lazy”

by 

To many, A$AP Rocky was meant to be an aberration. A young guy with hustle who had the happy knack of seamlessly weaving southern inflections into his New York rap music. Good for him, the purists said. He wouldn’t last.

Then A$AP Ferg appeared. Once again, there was the doubt. Was this guy - and the rest of A$AP Mob, a collective of not just rappers, but producers, filmmakers and fashion designers also - simply riding on the coattails of Rocky’s success? Could lightning strike twice? Surely not.

But then ‘Work’ happened - a ferocious, clanging single and arguably the best hip-hop cut of 2012. 

In 2013, it was followed by ‘Shabba’ and a fine full length debut, Trap Lord. Now, eight months later, Ferg is preparing to tour Australia, which, counting his support of Rocky’s shows last year, means it’s for the second time in only nine months.

A$AP Mob haven’t stopped there either. In December A$AP Nast fronted a rambunctious New York throwback of a tune, ‘Trillmatic’. And as if to pound home the relevancy, Wu-Tang’s Method Man turned up to deliver one of his best verses in years. It’s fair to say these guys aren’t going anywhere soon, except maybe on a bunch of US and international tours.

Hence why Ferg is due in Australia any day. TheVine connected to the Harlem-born rapper during a New Zealand tour stop and talked music. We got the low down on the importance of albums, how to conduct a rap crew in 2014, dealing with the capricious New York scene, and the ways Ferg’s life has changed over the last 12 months.

Matt Shea: Ferg. What’s up?

A$AP Ferg: Hey Matt! Whattup?

Whereabouts are you?

I’m in a vehicle right now, heading to the studio.

Where? In New York? I figured you were in New Zealand by now.

Yeah! I’m in New Zealand going to a studio (laughs).

(to tour manager) What’s the name of the studio?

(pauses) We’re going to the studio where Kanye and Nas recorded.

Wow. How’s New Zealand treating you?

I love New Zealand. I’m looking at all the fit women. The women are so fit, like they work out everyday. I need to move out here (laughs).

2013 was huge for you. Finding you in New Zealand sets up this question nicely: how much has life changed since this time last year? Do you think about that at all?

I don’t really think about it that much, but I know how much it has changed. It’s changed a lot. Say, I just bought a new crib, but [then] I don’t get to sleep in it, really. Because I’m travelling. I’m travelling to here and travelling to everywhere.

This time last year, did you think you’d have an LP out, touring New Zealand and touring Australia? Was that the plan? Was it on the radar?

It wasn’t really a plan. I didn’t think I’d have an album out. It was called a mixtape, but then in [my mind] I was always making an album. But then when they decided to call it an album I was like, ‘Oh, OK! I’ve got an album.’ (laughs)

Trap Lord now has seven or eight months on the clock. You talked about it with, I think, genuine affection in the lead-up. How do you feel about it with that bit of perspective, though. Looking back, are there things you would change? Or are there elements that make you think how you’d like to approach your next full length?

I wouldn’t change anything on that album. I did that album with blood, sweat and tears. I put everything I got into that album. I gave it my best work. I love that album.

There are way more great rappers than there are great rap albums. Is it important to you to create these full length albums that hold together over the whole project?

How do you mean?

As opposed to EPs or mixtapes or singles, are albums important to you as an artist?

Oh yeah, I do treat albums differently. It has to be my best art. But then if I’m making a mixtape I guess I treat it as if I’m making an album too. I just want to put out the best music ever. It’s not really that different for me between a mixtape and an album. I’ll just want to put out really, really good music. I want to put out music that is better than the competition.

I think after Rocky came up, a lot of people were really impressed with how different you were. Do you think that’s an important part of A$AP Mob on the rap side of things - to differentiate yourselves from each other.

It’s very important. I was born alone, I’m gonna die alone. I have my own identity. I’m my own person and no two people are the same. I want to teach the fucking kids out there that they can be themselves and still flourish and go and make things happen - go and be the biggest artist and the biggest whatever you want. That’s my own mission in life - to preach to kids that they can do whatever they want to do - and the fact that you are yourself, that’s special in itself.

When you guys got together as A$AP Mob, was that a clearly defined aspect — that the aim was for you all to be different? Because something like ‘Trillmatic’ really shows a different stripe again, with Nast taking the lead.

Yeah, we’re all different but we all relate to each other.

Do you feel like it takes pressure off you if, as a group of artists, you have more success. You for Rocky and now maybe Nast for you? Does that take the pressure off and give you room to move artistically?

Being successful at what I’m doing?

More as a group. As you have success as a group, does that free you up as individuals to go down more adventurous paths in terms of your music. Do you think that’s another benefit of you guys all having success?

Well, I feel like the main thing was to make Rocky successful. And the fact that Rocky was so successful has given me a vessel to go out there and really do what I want to do. Because if he wasn’t successful, there weren’t nobody who wanted to hear what A$AP Ferg had to offer to the world. The fact that he was successful gave me a chance, it gave Nast a chance, and gave [A$AP] Twelvyy a chance. [But] that whole thing is over with. Nobody else has to be successful for me to be successful anymore. It was just Rocky, and now I can do whatever the fuck I wanna do.

Looking on the flip side. Having the success with Trap Lord — does that create any pressure for you in terms of pressure that you might now apply to ourself to create an even better project in the future. Do you feel that pressure in terms of your music going forward?

I never feel pressure. I never feel pressure because that’s what makes me better. I run into obstacles, and I know that it makes you a stronger artist. I’m made for this. Whenever I run into obstacles I get stronger and I get more excited. I enjoy that.

Now, Australia, are you looking forward to getting back?

Yeah, I love Australia. Australia is so dope. It’s a different culture and the people appreciate music differently to how they do in the US.

How’s that?

They know all the songs. They’ve heard it off my album. Some people in the US may not know. They might know a ‘Cocaine Castle’ but they may not know every word. Basically they’re not going to appreciate that, you know what I mean? [The Australian response] shows me what I’ve been working so hard to achieve.

When you toured Australia with Rocky in the middle of last year, what did you take away from that? Because I sensed a lot of punters here didn’t really know that much about you, but that changed very quickly once they saw you live. Did you get any impression of that? Of people sitting up and taking notice, so to speak?

Well a lot of people didn’t know who I was. But then a lot of people did know who I was. I’d have fans stopping me in the street and saying hi to me and nothing to Rocky (laughs). That was weird, you know what I’m saying, because I’m not used to that. So they came to see me as much as they came to see Rocky. There might have been fans who came to see Twelvyy and Nast who don’t give two shits about me and Rocky. So it goes hand-in-hand - some people come to see me, some people come to see him. That’s why we’re a group. There are a lot of different types and styles that people can relate to.

Watching you live in Brisbane last year, it felt like delivering a good show was really important to you guys. Is that a fair comment?

Of course, because that’s how you ensure your longevity. If you put on a wack show you won’t get booked again.

I was wondering, does it change with New York? Rap started on the street corners in New York as a live event, so does that DNA trickle down to the modern day? Do you think its intrinsically more important for New York rappers to put on a good show?

Nah, because there’s a lot of New York rappers who are lazy. For sure.

Talking about New York, A$AP Mob copped a bit of flak there when you were first coming up. What’s the attitude now? Is it any better? Is the New York scene any more accepting of you guys now that you’ve taken such a lead, so to speak?

Um, I don’t really know. Honestly. Because there are people who travel from all across the world to come to New York for our shows. Whether the New Yorkers themselves embrace us like that, I’m not really sure.

So what are the plans for the rest of 2014?

I’m just gonna put out more records, we’re gonna put out this A$AP Mob album. I’m gonna put out another album and then another album after that. And then I’m gonna put out a mixtape, and then I’m gonna put out another ten songs, and then I’m gonna put out a hundred more songs and a thousand songs after that (laughs).

I’ll let you go, Ferg. Look forward to seeing you in Brisbane.

Oh, one more thing. Make sure all of Australia downloads the Trap Lord app. I have an app. I’m the only rapper in the world to have an app. So go to traplord.com and download the app. You can go to see my photos, you can listen to my music, you can listen to everything on my app and you’ll be the first to listen to it in Australia. Peace.

from The Vine

A$AP Nast x Clash Magazine

buy a copy

A$AP Ferg Australia Tour: Ferg picks someone from the crowd to freestyle on stage.

Last month A$AP Ferg & A$AP Nast performed at 100 Club in London for Converse Gigs.

Check out some footage + an interview above.

A$AP Ferg Australia Tour: Sydney, Australia concert after party at Trademark Hotel

photo credit 

A$AP Ferg Australia Tour: Sydney, Australia

photos taken by Mikki Gomez for The AU Review.

A$AP Ferg Australia Tour: Brisbane, Australia

photos from Scenestr

New Music: The Game - Smoke DZA ft A$AP Twelvy

How To Make Your Music Individual: A Lesson From P On The Boards From A$AP Mob

by  

Individuality is hard to come by in today’s day and age. Individuality is even harder to come by, today, in the music world.

This shouldn’t be too shocking to anyone.

The music industry, as a whole, is manipulated by which fad is in this week, and which fad is old news by the next.

One week we’re urged to “pop, lock and drop it,” and the next week, Miley Cyrus has a f*cking foam finger by her underwear, introducing us to the power of the latest awesome dance move, the “twerk.” Last week, Avicii was cool (by the standard of the EDM world). This week, Avicii is “a product of mainstream raver losers.”

See, that’s the power of individuality within an artist. It’s timeless. Hendrix will always be Hendrix. There can be no replacement.

As much as people try to draw the Phish-Grateful Dead connection, it’s impossible. Jerry is Jerry as much as Trey is Trey. Artists who build something unique cannot be replicated. That’s just simple arithmetic.

Hip-hop lost a lot of this individuality over the years. There are no more Outkasts gracing our airwaves these days. There are musical outcasts, sure, but they’re known better as “Brick Squad” (just kidding, I ride out to this music). I guess this is why I’ve distanced myself from the radio, altogether, and DJ my Spotify at my own discretion.

Having said that, it’s hard to say hip-hop isn’t (recently) heading in the right direction, thanks to a select few individuals. It’s hard to question the individuality of A$AP Mob and its irreplaceable members.

A$AP Rocky burst onto the scene in 2012, bringing a new meaning to hip-hop fashion. Out with the black Timbs and black hoodies of the 90s, in with the Maison Martin Margiela.

In 2013, A$AP Ferg showed the world just how irreplaceable he was, through his brilliant LP, Trap Lord. But the Mob doesn’t end there. C’mon, they’re a mob. They roll deep.

Meet P on the Boards, a producer and one of the many talented members of the Mob. You might’ve heard him before, as he’s credited with the “cooking up” of a number of hit songs like “Bath Salts” (featuring the Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Rocky and Ant, respectively). P also appeared on Ferg’s record “Dump Dump,” with production credit. I had the privilege of catching up with P this weekend, so I could pick the brain of an artist in the industry today. Let it be known, individuality is certainly of no short supply in this generation. You just need to know where to find it.

Originality doesn’t just “grow on trees,” so to speak. There’s more to it. Although, when I asked P about his beatmaking process, perhaps his originality does, in fact, come from trees.

“It’s music — whenever I’m working, I’m focused,” P on the Boards said. “The way that basketball players work on their game everyday, I try do the same. As long my GPen packed — and there’s some fruits or some type snacks that don’t give you cavities around — I’m going to zone out and let the world hear what I hear in my mind.”

And, apparently, there’s a lot going on in P’s mind, which the world will want to hear. Hip-hop today is the same type of lyrical content lazily mixed over the same type of musical content.

In other words: catchy hooks and 808 drums. I was curious to see where P’s musical style was going to take him.

“Ferg [A$AP Ferg] told me to make whatever music I want, so ever since then — and honestly speaking — I’ve been all over the place, musically. In fact, I have this EP titled The Cascade EP, with the artist named Soft Lighting, which is crazy! It’s a non-rap album, and I can’t wait for the world to hear that when it releases.

It’s interesting to see artists progress — stylistically — over the years. Take P, here, for example.

After producing a number of hit singles in the hip-hop genre, P isn’t settling for just hip-hop music — despite his success. For P on the Boards, his success in one genre has enabled him to experiment with new genres — and new sounds alike.

When asked about whom he would like to work with in 2014, P told me:

“In all honestly, I’m focused on all my brothers (the Mob), but I really want to do some records with Gunplay, Kid Cudi, Danny Brown, Jhene Aiko, Chairlift, Imogen Heap, Sade, Sampha, Twigs and Aloe Blacc. I need Puffy and Birdman on a interlude talking they sh*t too (laughs). Anybody that I could show my diversity with honestly. I’m up for all challenges — all genres — I’m on my Neptunes-in-the-early-2000′s sh*t. They were working with everybody, all genres, and still dominated hip-hop — at the same time.”

That’s the beauty of music. There aren’t any rules to it. There’s no blueprint to what makes one type of music, one type of music — and another type, another.

Having said that, the music (and diversity) that P is flaunting — clearly isn’t falling on deaf ears. As “in-house” producer for the A$AP Mob, P has been responsible for a couple of hit tracks. I asked P how it felt to produce a few of my favorite records from of the Mob, namely “Bath Salts” (featuring the Flatbush Zombies and A$AP Ant & Rocky) and Dump Dump (off A$AP Ferg’s debut albumTrap Lord).

“I’ma come clean, it shocks me to this day that the song still receives the same amount of love it did when it first released. That record was so crazy, that’s the bar I set for myself for the world, so anything I put out has to be on that level — or even crazier,” P said of Bath Salts.

In regard to Dump Dump, and working with Ferg, P went on to say,

“It’s Ferg! That man’s gotta be one the most creative human beings on this planet. He called me on birthday, cause I was in Miami at the time, and told me that he used that beat [on Trap Lord]. I’ma come clean, I heard the finished record and knew people were definitely going to lose their minds whenever he performed it. “

After speaking with P, I can’t help but say that my faith in the future direction of hip-hop has been restored — at least a little. Artists like P on the Boards and the rest of the A$AP Mob making music with the commercial appeal that radios look for, give us hope, for now.

Before we left, I had a chance to ask P about his role on the Mob’s new EP, L.O.R.D. – he had this to say.

“Me and the guys were in the studio heavily this summer and winter. We have a lot of music stashed and, honestly, probably my best work thus far. They’ve been on tour so much, I just tried to put myself in their shoes and see what they wanted tell the world — experiences they experienced, and what sound they wanted to do all of that on. I’m not gonna sit here and say and try to take all the credit because, honestly, that project was a group effort. And when I say “group” effort, I’m not talking about that group project you had to do in when you’re in high school — when it’s time to present and only one person ends up talking. Nah, we’re all talking during this project.”

reposted from Elite Daily

Tootie Ro - Mobbin’ Official Video 

Exclusive: A$AP Ferg and A$AP Nast detail how art, Golden Era Hip Hop and Harlem influence their sound. The collective also provide an update on their “L.O.R.D.” album.

There’s no shortage of critical opinion Harlem, New York’s A$AP Mob. At various times, the collective has been labeled appropriators of Southern Hip Hop, EDM and Golden Era Rap as well as Hip Hop’s current Haute couture movement. With A$AP Rocky’s 2013 #1 debutLong.Live.A$AP, followed by A$AP Ferg’s Top 10 debut,Trap Lord, the general public has been exposed to enough of the group’s aesthetic to see the many elements included can peacefully coexist.

"First it started off with the whole Pitchfork/Fader Fort crowd, and then it moved to the hood,” A$AP Ferg revealed, after finishing entertaining such a crowd during 2013’s Fader Fort at the South by Southwest Music Festival. “I went back to Harlem and saw that they were fucking with it, so we kind of bridged the gap between the hippies and the hood niggas.”

Additional releases by A$AP Nast and an upcoming group effort, L.O.R.D., may further bridge said gaps. Given A$AP Mob’s current level of commercial success, the biggest challenge may balancing the demand for more new music with maintaining or exceeding the level of quality control they’ve exhibited. For those eagerly awaiting L.O.R.D., which was originally scheduled for a March 4 release, the issues of preserving the brand while satiating fans may sort themselves out at the same time.

HipHopDX: Since you dropped “Work,” have you noticed a difference in the energy of your live shows?

A$AP Ferg: Nah, from the beginning they were going crazy. First it started off with the wholePitchfork/Fader Fort crowd, and then it moved to the hood. I went back to Harlem and saw that they were fucking with it, so we kind of bridged the gap between the hippies and the hood niggas.

DX: Since you’ve brought up the hood and the hippies or hipsters, which is more important to you—having the Internet on lock or the streets?

A$AP Ferg: It’s the people period. Whoever connects to it, that’s who I connect to. I’m a hippy, and I’m a hood nigga. I went to art school—an art and design high school—so I can relate to the artists and the artsy muthafuckas. I grew up in Amsterdam and 143rd in Harlem, where it was gangbangers and it was drug dealers. So I can relate to both worlds.

DX: How do you feel going to art school has helped you in your career?

A$AP Ferg: Well, I’m a visual artist, period. I make songs to make videos, and you won’t completely get to know my music until you see the visuals. We all are visual artists. We started off getting fly, doing fashion and all that. Before it was a rapping group, it was just a crew of young, fly niggas, but we used to have to fight a lot ‘cause everybody got it twisted. They thought ‘cause we were doing [Maison Martin] Margielas and tight jeans that niggas couldn’t get down, so we had to prove ourselves a lot. And I guess that’s why people took to us, ‘cause they could relate to us. They could relate to the movement, and they understood where we came from. It was a lot of hood niggas that wanted to be different, but they didn’t know how to be different, or they were scared to be ridiculed by everyone else.

A$AP Illz: They were scared to express themselves.

A$AP Ferg: Exactly.

DX: Since you’re traveling around the world right now, what have been the most surprising conditions you’ve performed in?

A$AP Ferg: Every hood is the same. I’m comfortable everywhere I go, and I feel like I have family everywhere I go. I’m not scared of nothing ‘cause I’ve seen too much shit. We came here to change our life. We came here to take this opportunity to build an empire that our grandchildren can benefit from. I’ve seen my uncle go to prison. I’ve seen a bunch of people that I’ve loved and cared for die in the hood, and there’s nothing cool about that shit. When we talk about that type of stuff in our music, we’re just telling the kids to be aware of it. The suburban kids probably don’t know nothing about that lifestyle, but that’s why they fuck with us, ‘cause we keep it real. We’re like the forecast for the hood or whatever is going on in the universe. But the same way we can tell you about the hood, we can tell you about some Jeremy Scott shit. We can tell you about some [Jean-Michel] Basquiat shit, or some Andy Warhol shit. [We can talk about] some muthafuckin’ Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton…very rare shit. We just talk about all aspects of ourselves, and that’s what we’re here for. A$AP: always strive, and always prosper.

DX: By any chance, do you paint or do you any type of physical visual art?

Ferg: I’m an artist, but I use different mediums to express myself. Right now, it’s not about me painting or nothing. It’s about me spreading the word to these kids and letting these kids know that you can do it too. I came from the bottom, and I made a way for myself. We all kicked down this door so we could benefit from this shit. So when I do my thing, I’m not doing my thing for myself. I’m doing it for A$AP Nast; I’m doing my thing for Marty Balla, A$AP Bari, A$AP Lou, A$AP Illz, Illy and Ty Beats, so these niggas could keep eating and keep doing their thing. That just makes me go harder.

DX: How did Shabba Ranks feel about you putting out that song with his name on it?

A$AP Ferg: Shabba Ranks was in the video, so of course he loved the movement. When he heard the record, he was pleased. His kids are A$AP fans, so it’s all love.

DX: We’ve been asking everyone about the record Illmatic. How was that influential…

A$AP Ferg: Yup. "Trillmatic."

A$AP Nast: Definitely “Trillmatic.” Basically what I wanted to do with that was put people in that time machine and bring them back to 1997, 1996—with Wu-Tang ClanA Tribe Called QuestAZGang Starr—all these guys were coming up, and it was all about rapping. It wasn’t about your fancy clothes. Well it was, but to an extent. “Trillmatic” was basically to showcase that we’re in 2014, but we could still shine with the whole Golden Era. So I just wanted to put people in that zone, and that was it. I think we got the point across. Shout out to everybody who likes it, loves it, or however you feel about it.

Ferg: Shout outs to Shock G for putting Tupac on. Shout outs to Shock G, and the whole Digital Underground for putting Tupac on.

DX: He’s a real dude. I saw him in the subway once—real cat.

A$AP Illz: Did he have a big hat on?

A$AP Ferg: Did he have the fake nose on [laughs]?

DX: Nah, he had a big ass keyboard. And I see him around Hollywood carrying instruments all the time.

A$AP Ferg: He’s out here, man. That’s real shit.

DX: What can you tell us about the L.O.R.D. album?

A$AP Nast: It’s coming soon. We just basically wanted to give people an official album and give people real work. So what we did was take our time with this album really give people bangers, and really give the fans what they deserve from us. That’s the reason why the dates have been pushed back and everyone’s wondering what’s up with the album. The album is coming soon. I’m not gonna give you a date, but you gotta wait for greatness, and that’s just the way life is.

A$AP Ferg: I just wanna say one thing. When we came out with Lord$ Never Worry, we weren’t all together. It wasn’t a cohesive thing. “Choppas On Deck,” "Persian Wine" and "Work" were supposed to go on my album, but I put that on the mixtape. He put his shit on the mixtape was supposed to be for his project. So I can say this A$AP Mob album is a cohesive thing—we were all in the studio together, and you’re gonna feel the vibes from that shit. We all grew up. We’re all leaders, and we all got our own followings now. So you can feel the reflection of that through the music, and that’s where I’m gonna leave it at. L.O.R.D. is the shit, it will be out ASAP…A$AP.

A$AP Ferg x Acclaim Magazine

Before his Australian tour, kicking off tonight, the Harlem rapper lets us in on unreleased Pharrell collab ‘A$AP Girl’ and offers to hook us up with one of his ‘Mob Wives’ 

Words Jonathan Brent

Photography by Michelle Grace Hunder.

Darold Ferguson, Jr. (you may know him as A$AP Ferg) is one of those guys who seems at home wherever he is. He’s only been in Australia for half a day but by the time we meet he’s been on a mini-tour of the city and released a new freestyle: ode to Trinidad ‘Petit Valley’. (On his busy release schedule: “I release music while I’m shitting.”) On the way back to his hotel room, he snatches a bottle of hand lotion from the room service cart parked outside and moisturises before our interview. As we chat, he reclines in his seat, sometimes smiling broadly (and baring a resplendent grill). He is upbeat and present and it all stands in contrast with the moody, chiaroscuro cover art for his debut full-length Trap Lord. 

 FRANK151 founder Stephen Malbon was just in town for CARBON festival. You guys did a book with FRANK151, where you did a tribute to your dad, right?

Basically, I was saying he was a great man and I’m just continuing a legacy.

He was a stylish man. How would you describe his style?

My father was a very stylish guy. A lot of people looked up to my father as well. He designed the Bad Boy logo for Puffy, he did the Uptown cats’ logo for Andre Harrell, and he did his own clothing line called Ferg Apparel. He was the first guy to do prints and stuff on long sleeves – he brought that ‘90s flavour to hip hop. He was printing everybody’s merch.

Does that mean you had some gurus around, people to look up to, growing up?

Yeah, I’m like one of them golden kids. I used to always be like, damn, I wonder how Dame Dash’s son feels, or like how Puffy’s sons feel to have a restaurant named after them. I had a clothing line named after me, Ferg.

You did an interview with Montreality where you were saying that, in a past life you would have been an activist. What makes you say that?

Because I just stand up for what I believe in. And I believe it’s bigger than just music – it’s a whole culture that I stand up for, that I speak for. So, in some kind of way, I am an activist for the people that have the same beliefs as.

What do you believe in?

I just believe that everyone should be themselves. Everybody should be innovative, creative and everybody should walk in their own shoes. Don’t try to step in nobody else’s shoes and live their life. I feel like everyone has a special thing that God installed in them, something unique.

What can you tell me about the Trap Lord iPhone app?

The app is dope because I wanted to figure out a way I could make myself closer in interacting with my fan base. I designed this app where you could buy my latest clothing line, Trap Lord.

You can watch my latest music, my latest videos and you get an alert as soon as it comes out so you’ll be the first one to get it if you have the app.

Do you have other plans for apps, or any other kinds of software, in the future?

Yeah, I wanna get real into the technology, ‘cause, like everybody says, that’s the future. Well we’re in the future already, so it’s time to like really get on the ball. I feel like soon humans is not gonna have jobs in this sector – you know what I’m saying. There’s gonna be, like, one person pressing a button and then spinning the universe from there.

We’ve all gotta find ways to be smarter than a machine.

Yeah, we gotta stick in here. We love technology, but at the same time we gotta figure out a way to provide our services to society

I think rappers are safe though. We haven’t made a machine that raps yet.

We got holograms.

Yeah, you’ve gotta watch out.

You can bring back dead people.

How do you compete with Tupac?

You know Ferg versus Tupac, you know what I’m saying.

At least you’re real.

Yeah, Tupac can’t jump in the crowd like I can.

When they invent that – that’s when you’re in trouble.

Exactly.

With A$AP Mob there are different skills within the collective. Do you see comparisons with Kanye’s DONDA creative agency?

Nah. I don’t know too much about DONDA.

I don’t think anybody does. They seem pretty secretive.

We’ve worked with Virgil [Abloh] though, Kanye’s creative director. We’ve done stuff with Virgil, but for the most part we have our own ideas. When we work with somebody and collaborate with somebody it’s for them to take our ideas to the next level.

Like the ‘Hood Pope video’, it looks beautiful. Did you choose the director for that?

I chose Shomi Patwary because I’m real close with his brother. His brother actually made that song – the beat.

Veryrvre, right?

Yeah, Veryrvre. So his brother actually introduced me to Shomi, like ‘Yo my brother is moving from VA to New York, he’s a director, you should fuck with him.’. So I built with him and like he was one of the people who understood my vision, ‘cause I write my own treatments, I command my own props, you know I look for prop houses and things like that. and production, I fuck with different people in production. So he was just there to be the house to just put it up – he was the first person. Like he put ‘Work’ out, my first single. So that’s why I like to stick him, because he actually gave me that chance without me having any money or nothing like that.

Change of direction – have you come across any foods sometimes that make you wanna break your pescetarian lifestyle?

I’ve been thinking about steak lately. I told my girlfriend that I’m gonna make her a streak just cause I wanna watch her enjoy it. I’ll just make me some fish or something then watch her enjoy that steak

Believe it or not people ask me what I eat all the time. Shit, I just bought a can of tuna from across the street. There’s like some chilli-flavoured tuna fish that comes in a can that’s mad – it comes with a pack and crackers – it’s good as fuck.

Where do you get the best food in Harlem?

I go to this place called Café 22. They have soul food there. It’s the only place in Harlem where you can get home-cooked food. Its really good. It actually makes me lazy in the kitchen.

What do you get when you go there?

I get the candied yams, the macaroni and cheese. They have these stir-fried string beans with garlic sauce on it. And I get the boiled salmon. They also have this teriyaki salmon there and this collard greens dish that’s really good.

Speaking of yams, I feel like you don’t hear a lot about A$AP Yams, and even Asap Bari, in the media.

Is that their goal, to avoid being in front of the camera?

Yams doesn’t like the camera. Everybody wants Yams to be an artist and such, but he’s just into making transactions happen. He wants to be the next Puff Daddy.

Like Andy Warhol said, “Making money is art.”

Making money is art. I like making money. Because I like to try things and see if they work and make money. That’s art, its like culinary stuff – you make food, somebody tells you it’s good and it worked.

Or you make a product and people buy it – that means it’s good, so it works. It’s art.

Are there any other beliefs or practices that the A$AP mob share?

I practice Kabbalah.

Really?

Nah, I’m fucking with you. A$AP is our religion we follow it. I’m the pope, my preacher and my followers.

How can I convert to the ASAP Mob way of life?

You gotta get initiated.

What’s the initiation like?

I gotta talk to Rocky and see if we can do that. It’s a secret society, all we ask is trust.

Are you working on much stuff in terms of visual art, fine art, fashion design?

Yeah, lately I haven’t been working on any clothing designs except for my stage clothing. I design my tour wardrobe and my set design – my stage. Whenever you see the lights, whenever you see whatever’s on the screen, it’s me and my production team.

I design all the Trap Lord clothing. Nothing goes past my eyes. I design all the A$AP Ferg merch. I will stop everything and be like no I’m gonna do this, do this right. Put these letters in black, put shimmer paint, make sure its reflector. I do all of that shit.

I used a silk screen before I was a rapper. So I know what goes on behind the screens – how to shoot the screens. Theres a tutorial that VFILES did on me. They have me teaching this girl how to silkscreen online. You should check it out.

And you’ve designed belts right?

Yeah, I’ve designed belts.

Have you ever sold a belt to Chief Keef? I’ve heard that he really likes belts.

Well I was selling belts, before I even knew who Chief Keef was. Like Swizz Beats bought out my belts. Swizz Beats has like 12 belts. Chris Brown got like 10 belts that I did custom made. Diggie Sevens – he was on an AT&T commercial with my t-shirt on.

You talked earlier about wanting to work with Pharrell, maybe on the next LP. Is that still on the cards?

I actually did a song with Pharrell – it never came out though. It was me, A$AP Nast and Rocky. It was called ‘A$AP Girl’.

What was it about?

It was about girls that are in love with A$AP. We call them Mob Wives. If you come to New Zealand we might have a mob wife for you. New Zealand, Australia we got them all over the place. Yeah, so we did a track, but it never came out. It probably might come out in the near future.

On one of your records?

I’m not sure – whoever needs it at the time. I would love to have it, but I want more of his advice then anything. I wanna work with him, you know I respect the person behind the music.

Nobody doesn’t like Pharrell.

He’s the biggest, oldest artist, and I’m the biggest, youngest artist. [Laughs.]

A$AP Ferg Australia Tour: Melbourne, Australia.

photos by Michelle G Hunder

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A$AP Ferg will be performing at Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

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