By Rahul Lal
The A$AP Mob’s two most high profile members, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg stopped by Play.it’s Rap Radar podcast to talk to hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller for a wide ranging conversation about their recent projects, as well as other artists who they admire.
Rocky’s last album was At. Long. Last. A$AP which was released back in May 2015 and drew mixed reviews from the critics who even went as far to call the New York lyricist overrated.
“Nonsense is nonsense and even though I shouldn’t pay attention to it, I’m with the nonsense sometimes,” he said. “I’m a Lord, that’s disrespectful to the culture to even play with me like that. Would you call Michael Jackson overrated? I look at myself in the same light, I don’t give a f— if my stadiums and my domes ain’t packed out like his were. I’m gonna get there, hopefully. It’s just like motivation to s— on n—-s again because when I’m on my bulls—- n—–s like ‘He too full of himself, he going too hard, how you keep up with this,’ but now, last year, my whole thing, my motive was I wanted people to acknowledge me as a creative and an entrepreneur.”
From the beginning, A$AP Rocky has had his eye on being more than a rap artist, but now he’s looking to focus on his MC skills.
“We had the MTV deals, I did the guest collabs, fashion designing, all the Dior stuff, all my deals and business ventures? Those are f—ing amazing and they set me up to be the young entrepreneur that I am today,” Rocky added. “Now? I need to get back to being considered the best rapper alive and I’m gonna show n—–s what it is. We need to be considered the best n—–s alive and it’s other n—–s that’s hot too, it ain’t just us. But, at the same time, I feel like n—–s is sleeping like n—–s don’t run around with our style doing what we doing and whatnot and I’m tired of talking about that s— so it’s time to keep going.”
A$AP Ferg was a designer before he was a rapper; he owned a boutique in Harlem that printed styles for the likes of Teddy Riley, Heavy D and Bell Biv DeVoe to name a few.
“You have Furious Five and Kool Herc and all of these guys, Kurtis Blow, Run- D.M.C. and all of these pioneers,” Ferg started. “Afrika Bambaataa, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, all of these dudes was fly! Look at their gear! I mean, you had rappers dressing like rock stars with leather and feathers and all of that s— and that’s what it’s kind of going back to. You got the freedom to feel how you want to feel. You want to look like an action figure, you’re coming from the Bronx where motherf—–s was burning buildings and shooting each other everyday so they wanted to feel like superheroes. When they got money, they was spending about a couple hundred thousand on clothes when they got that bread.”
Ferg explained that music inspires fashion and fashion will, in turn, inspire the music. One of the most daring and influential artists who both Rocky and Ferg look up to is OutKast’s Andre 3000. Citing his music, intelligence, acting ability and fashion, Rocky said that he wants to be seen in the same light as Andre one day. The two also have incredible admiration for Ms. Lauryn Hill as well.
“She’s a goddess for real,” said Rocky definitively. “First of all, Lauryn Hill raps circles around all these dudes that’s spitting. That bitch would body anybody. F— is you talking about? I got so much respect for that woman, I love Lauryn Hill. She inspired me. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of the most classic [albums], that s— is like Illmatic. I don’t give a f— what nobody say. You don’t like it, suck my d—, so what?”
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Ferg, meanwhile, expressed his admiration for Pharrell Williams, who he has worked with in the past. “Now Pharrell is my big brother but before that, it was crazy. I got a chance to work with Pharrell for two days straight and I’m like ‘yo, I got another day,’” he said laughing. “He actually touches the keys. He ain’t got like five motherf–s who are ghost producing. I seen this man took off all his rings and put them on the counter, get on the keyboard and start working. I’m just looking at the rings because he’s got heart-shaped diamonds and s–.”
Fern also enthused about Kanye West’s 808’s & Heartbreak by Kanye West. The album was a massive departure for West, and proved incredibly influential on a number of artists, including Drake. That departure inspired Ferg on his 2016 album Always Strive and Prosper, which was a very different album for him.
“What I learned is that you need to grow in front of the people,” said Ferg. “On 808’s & Heartbreak, Kanye did it. That was what we loved. Everybody wasn’t used to that s— because they heard College Dropout and Graduation. Listen, I’m here to make music. Who’s to say what art is good, bad or whatever? Who was to say that Basquiat’s paintings didn’t look like scribble-scrabble like a two-year-old’s? They said he was a black man in a basement of the Gagosian Gallery painting f—ing artwork. They made him sound like a f—ing creature. No, he was really making masterpieces that he had in his mind.”
To hear more from the interview including details on Yams Day, upcoming work and stories about some of the adventures the two have been on together, listen to the latest episode of Rap Radar on CBS Radio’s Play.it podcast network.