'dope' star a$ap rocky talks anarchy, puff daddy's influence and the n-word
The rapper turns his mouth full of gold to acting as Dom in 'Dope.'
Like Tupac, Ice Cube, Ice T, and many more rap stars before him, A$AP Rocky has turned his hand to acting and made his silver screen debut in the 90s hip hop comedy Dope. Rocky plays Dom, a drug dealer in a fictional Inglewood neighborhood named "The Bottoms." To avoid arrest, Dom unloads a backpack filled with the titular dope on the film's nerdy protagonist, Malcolm. But when he wants the goods returned, Dom becomes a man on a mission. i-D caught up with the rapper at Cannes and found out about how he fell into the role, how much love he's got for P Diddy and how he doesn't give a fuck about skin color.
What made you want to do this role?
When I was helping someone read the lines [his ex-girlfriend, Chanel Iman, who plays Lilly in the film] I came across the Dom character and I said to myself, "I've got to try out for this guy, he seems kind of ill. Seems pretty 'dope'." One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was on set in character, handsome and shit.
It's surprising you had time to make the film away from recording the new album?
Yeah the music is amazing. I've got time to do everything; it's all about moderation. You just have to pace yourself. I'm in the studio every day and I still find time to make love to women every night.
Dope turns stereotypes on their head. How do you feel about the film?
I'd compare it to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, mixed with a bit of Spring Breakers and you sprinkle a little bit of Juice with Tupac and then you have it. A masterpiece.
Did you see comparisons between the film, your character and your music? Some people find your lyrics too aggressive.
It's fine. You know it's all art. You can't make them think. I put it out there into the room and however people perceive it and how they feel about it is on them. I can't force anyone to think anything.
Two of the film's executive producers are Pharrell Williams and Sean Combs, and they worked on the soundtrack, too. Did you enjoy that collaboration?
Yeah man, it's easy. I think those guys have a vision that we can't even comprehend. If you take all the stuff that Pharrell is doing alone, and you think about Despicable Me and all the soundtracks that he's doing, I mean come on! Puff Daddy, it goes without saying, is the godfather of urban music, hands down.
The film is about the stereotyping of black people. How does race affect your career?
Race doesn't mean shit these days, especially for me. I'm a free spirit. I refuse to be marginalized, held back or limited because of color. There are people who play into that, and people who don't give a fuck about it and choose not to live in that society. I'm an anarchist man, I'm all about the people who don't give a fuck about colors and all of that dumb shit. You know it sounds good, especially me in my position saying it, but even if I was poor I would still be saying it.
Can you be a rich anarchist?
Hell yeah! Why not? I have my own lifestyle, I have a cult following. There are people who actually want to eat what I eat, dress how I dress, fuck the type of women that I fuck and shower how I shower. They might even shit how I shit! That is a cult following. They apply my anarchy. What I'm saying to you is that I encourage people to be entrepreneurs and be the best that they can be. That's the whole purpose of it. I'm not stupid. I'm an anarchist.
Can you speak about the use of the n-word in the film and your songs?
You have to realize that it's 2015 and it's part of my vernacular. I come from an era and a type of lifestyle that made it more than acceptable, that made it common. It's a no-brainer, so for us it's not like we are saying the n-word in private. I do it out in public, because I am who I am. I refuse to hide who I am for anyone. If you watch my first video, there's a white girl with grills saying the n-word. Who gives a fuck? It's called Purple Swag. It's a white girl and her name is Anna Perp. That's my first video that I directed. She's saying the n-word, and you know why? Because that is the time we are living in, that shit don't matter.
Text Kaleem Aftab