A$AP rocky opens up on drugs and women in london
With a surprise appearance from Mos Def and an exclusive listen to a track off his new album, A$AP Rocky’s talk was enlightening.
Last night, i-D's music editor Hattie Collins sat down with the charming and musically illusive A$AP Rocky in London for what was arguably the highlight of Red Bull Music Academy's UK tour. In a surprise twist, living legend Mos Def (watching from the frow) was called up to share his views on Flacko's forthcoming album, A.L.L.A. and took time to shout out local heroes Skepta, Little Simz and King Krule. After two years of radio silence, Rocky has now recorded most of his new record in London and collaborated extensively with Joe Fox, a young UK musician he met in the street and called up to the stage to chat. With our hearts racing from just how pretty Flacko is and our ears buzzing from an exclusive listen to album track, M's, here's what we learnt from the fashion killa…
1. Mos Def is really feeling A$AP's new material
"I have fevers already. It's incredible. The energy is there. I don't want to get too analytical of it but it definitely gives me a New York feeling. It's got that rawness. It feels like the first Beastie Boys album moving into Paul's Boutique."
2. A$AP knows he's pretty
"I win fashion awards cause I'm handsome".
3. The role of engineer is underrated
"An engineer is as significant as a wife. You know how hard it is to find a better half? The worst thing in the world is a bad engineer."
4. Drugs played a key role in producing his new work
"I had some psychedelics and some weed. I'm not gonna give credit to drugs, I'm just saying they work for me. It's not necessarily always a part of my creative process, but for that process it was. It worked."
5. He's been quiet on the music front for a good reason
"I knew the reason I didn't want to make music was cause I wasn't feeling inspired and I felt like I had to perfect my craft. A wise man once told me that anything perfect, any creation, is 90% edited and 10% substance. My 90% took two years."
6. He knows there's no room for hate in the industry
"As black people we're too scared to see each other succeed. You gotta show love to those mother fuckers! We need to start embracing each other."
7. He's dyslexic
"I'm dyslexic so I do everything ass-backwards like Kriss Kross."
8. Beautiful women are his obsession
"When you have beautiful women in the studio I find it helps because they're an inspiration. I live for women. They smell good, they got soft voices, they got boobs. I think women are so beautiful that a straight woman can be walking down the street with her husband and can appreciate other women. Guys never do that."
9. He's not into monogamy
"Women are catching on to all the bullshit. My best times with women is when I'm honest. I tell her I might fuck another woman, it helps. Honestly, I guess some women can't take it. When the time comes to settle down, I might just have two girlfriends."
10. His earliest memory is gazing into his own dreamy eyes
"My first memory is when I was two or three years old and the first time I was looking in the mirror. It was weird, like when you see your pet looking in the mirror. You realize that you exist."
11. He was raised in shelters between the Bronx, Harlem and North Carolina
"I was born in Harlem but what people don't know is that really I lived between Harlem and the Bronx my whole life. I think that moving around is really important to kids. If you travel, you adapt to certain cultures."
12. At school he was no teacher's pet
"I used to only go to school to show off my outfit and fuck with the bitches. My favorite two classes were lunch and gym. When I was like 14-years-old I started selling weed but guys didn't take me seriously and I didn't sell much. By 15 I was selling crack. I'm not proud of that. It's some nasty shit to sell."
13. He understands fashion…
"Fashion is a form of identification. If you wear Vans and Supreme, more than likely you skate, couch surf and do drugs. If you wear Bottega Veneta or Dior, you just rich. Rick Owens, you dark. Fashion is an expression."
14 …but has no plans to move into the fashion game
"I'm not a fashion designer, so if I put out a brand I'd have to start at the bottom and do it properly. A lot of people who think they know fashion really just regurgitate shit. I don't want people to look at me and think I'm just doing it because I'm a celebrity or whatever. That's bullshit. I haven't got time for it right now but that doesn't mean I ain't gonna wear dope shit though."
15. While in town, he has been fully embracing London life
"I rode the tube the other day! I was on the train! The Picadilly line. There were projectors on the wall, like futuristic Harry Potter shit. Going through the wall getting jiggy shit. I almost lost my Oyster card and got stranded inside. When I was younger I heard rumors that over here the potato chips was pink and the cops were all on roller-skates with whistles."
16. Note: he's NOT a celebrity
"When I'm by myself people act normal, but if you act like a celebrity with security and shit they'll treat you like one. I'm an artist, not a celebrity."
17. He's been working with young London guitarist Joe Fox, who describes the album as…
"A psychedelic forward-thinking masterpiece. The crazy thing is that I always thought it sounded like Gorillaz, and then we started working with Danger Mouse who worked on Demon Days, so it all came together. Rocky has no ego at all and treated me like a complete equal - I'll always appreciate that."
18. What he learnt from collaborating with Joe Fox
"Don't do drugs with British people."
19. Friendship is taking grime to the US
"The States have no idea what grime is. A$AP Ferg was the first to go over to Skepta and do that BBK and A$AP shit. Those guys are genuine and it started with a friendship and I can't take credit for it."
20. The most important thing in his life