A$AP Ferg is a designer and rapper on a creative search to make music unconstrained by the boundaries of the Hip Hop scene. Having grown up in Harlem with i-D cover star A$AP Rocky, Ferg started out designing clothing for his own brand whilst at art school before joining A$AP Mob, i-D caught up with the Hood Pope in Mexico to talk about EDM, selling out and working with female rappers.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
It means standing by your brother’s side, even sometimes when your brothers are misunderstood or you have a misunderstanding about something, you still stand by their side. You may go through a bunch of arguments and fights and shit like that, but nothing can break your brotherly bond. You have to be a brother’s keeper, that’s what brotherhood is.
So what do you always strive for?
I always strive to be a better person, keep good energy around me. I just want to be, you know, not a perfect motherfucker but somebody who can help other people, and through helping other people I can learn and get wisdom and I can pass it on to my peers. You have to be humble, that’s the name of the game.
How do you approach writing your lyrics? When do you feel most inspired?
When I’m traveling, when I’m in a car on the road or on a plane, sometimes even when I’m taking a shit or in the shower. But I have to find a topic, it has to be about something real, like a real emotion, even if it starts off as something real and then I take it somewhere else, I have to add on but it all has to start from a real feeling that I’ve had. I feel like the more true your music is the more people can relate to it, the moment you go off course about it or shit like that people can’t relate, that’s why I don’t try to go off course on my songs, I try to talk about real life situations so people can connect to the music and think “damn he went through that shit too?”
How did you know you were ready to drop you debut albu,?
Before I was even ready I felt like I could just put out my own album. When I was making Trap Lord it was originally not going to be an album, just a mixtape, but my label figured like, I was doing so good as an artist coming up out of the A$AP brew that they figured why not just put it out as an album and have people pay attention to it, get the feedback that you would want from it, the seriousness behind it. Get the whole machine, the whole label behind it. Sometimes you put out a mixtape and people listen to it, pass it on and wonder when your album will come out. So fuck it, I’m just gonna put out an album.
Will there be a time when a female rapper could join A$AP Mob?
I’ve got a record label, Trilligan Island Records, one of the girls that I signed is Crystal Caines, she produced the song Lord off the album with me and Bone Thugs, she is crazy ill at rapping, I’m a strong believer in female artists but that’s my opinion, as far as A$AP Mob, I think its tied, its been tied since we’ve came up, it’s a brotherhood.
Collaborations are a common thing within the rap community, what’s your opinion of working with pop stars?
I’m just a huge fan of music and some people can call it selling out or whatever, like if you do a pop song or a soulful song or something that is different from what people are used to hearing you on. If I love that other type of music, why not make that other type of music too? Music is just music, I believe in just collaborating with everybody and making dope music, you know what I’m saying? Fuck genres! Fuck just doing Hip Hop or Rap, that’s why I love EDM, not because of the music per se, but the whole thing of bridging the gap between Skrillex and A$AP Ferg, you never see that shit! You have to pay homage to Run DMC for doing it first, for working on rock songs and shit like that, they paved the way for us.
You guys have a big 90s influence right?
I’m influenced by everything, I’m influenced by cultures, by RnB, by seeing people live; like coming out of Harlem and being in Mexico, and seeing everything going on over here, I’m influenced by everything.