A$AP Rocky Reveals Changing A Homeless Man’s Life In An Astonishing Way
In a just-published, sprawling feature for The Guardian, A$AP Rocky is portrayed as a master of his own universe, grabbing control of his artistic and personal expressions without much input beyond. The person from whom he gained the most guidance, A$AP Yams, tragically passed away in January, leaving the break-out star from the A$AP Mob Crew to his own devices.
Whether for good or bad, Rocky is undeniably at the top of his game, having just released one of 2015’s most highly praised albums, At.Long.Last.A$AP., in May. He is steadily adding more than “rapper” to his C.V. in recent months (he made his silver-screen debut in the film Dope and he’s working on a short film with UK Grime artist Skepta) and while much of the popular consensus about him is that he’s a flashy, boastful, and excessive, this latest interview casts a shadow of him that is more modest, brave, and impetuous (in the best way possible). Plus, Yasiin Bey (f/k/a Mos Def) is a fan.
Acutely aware of the not-always-positive predispositions Heads had of him upon his entry into the game, he tells The Guardian’s Lanre Bakare “Coming in, I was so braggodocious: gold, bitches, all that other shit. Not a lot has changed. I’m just a little more humble. I’m here to stand out, I’m not here to shit on people no more.” While he argues that he’s become more down-to-earth, he is still a human, and with that ailment comes the far-too-easy sensation of becoming big-headed. When Bakare mentions Bey’s recent compliments on Rocky’s latest album (the two performed together in April), he admitted that he tries not to think about it to avoid getting “too hype, too happy, too gassed.”
The conversation turned to Rocky’s past and current repertoire, with the rapper lamenting over the legacy his 2012 monster hit, “Fuckin’ Problems,” is leaving behind. “It’s a fun song, [but] I didn’t want to be remembered as just that. That was my biggest song. Like man, I’ve got to wipe that off my record it’s like I’m not that guy any more. I was 22, 23 at the time – I was just having fun.” These days, the 26-year-old Harlem native is more considered with bringing back “actual culture to Hip-Hop,” and his recent interactions with global superstars like collaborator Rod Stewart (“it’s like seeing yourself 30 or 40 years older and white”) might be giving him the kind of cross-cultural perspective towards music that will allow him to reach that goal.
However, it’s clear that whichever direction his work may take, it will always be guided by his own impulses and visionary ideas, no matter how outrageous the strategy. As Bakare shares, “When he was recording in London, a young homeless man approached him and tried to sell him a CD. Instead, Rocky asked him to sing a song and, after hearing it he asked the man – Joe Fox – to come and record with him in his studio. The pair now live together in Manhattan and Fox features on five of the new album’s tracks.” Singer and songwriter Fox is featured on “Holy Ghost,” “Fine Whine,” “Jukebox Joints,” “Max B,” and “Pharsyde.”
Throwing caution to the wind while simultaneously navigating a successful career is a rare phenomenon, but Rocky feels secure that his future has already been laid out by his late best friend, Yams; “he left us notes on how he wanted it to be.”
Other topics addressed in the interview include Rocky’s relationship with Rita Ora (“who really gives a fuck about who Rita Ora’s fucking?”), the emphasis on the negative at the hands of the press (“Tell them people suck my dick. Please be sure to put that in there. Quote me”), why he wants to meet his London neighbor, David Bowie (“I just want to know what it’s like to paint his face back in the ’70s and shit”), and a lot more. Check out the full interview here.