Ballinnnnnnn: Harlem’s Rapper A$AP Rocky Talks $3 Million Record Deal, Mainstream Acceptance & NY Hip-Hop

About two weeks ago, I reported that Harlem’s rapper A$AP Rocky signed to Polo Grounds/RCA Records. This past summer, the 23-year-old New York native became popular and made a name for himself with his singles “Purple Swag” and “Peso,” which got millions of views online and is already in heavy rotation on New York’s radio station Hot 97Pitchfork is reporting that Rocky’s deal with Polo Grounds/RCA is worth $3 million ($1.7 million for his solo output and $1.3 million to fund a group label called A$AP Worldwide). Below are some excerpts from Rocky’s interview with Pitchfork:

Pitchfork: A lot of rappers are moving away from big record deals and, as recently as last month, it seemed like you didn’t want to sign with a major, either. What changed your mind?

A$AP Rocky: About three million dollars. [Other rappers who don’t sign] are smart, but I feel like Sony/RCA is a family and the people there actually care about me. When I came to meet [Polo Grounds Music founder] Bryan Leach, I got to know him on a personal level– he would set up car service for me to go to other labels. He wanted to see me make it. He’s from Harlem.

I’m going to have creative control; there’s no bullshit. The situation is almost unrealistic. I mean, five months ago I had about $3,000 in my bank account. Now I’m worth $3 million. Nobody’s gotten a deal like that since 50 Cent.

Pitchfork: You have a place on blogs and in more underground circles, but you’re getting mainstream love and being played on Hot 97, too. Where do you see yourself fitting in?

A$AP: The only thing mainstream about me are my investors. That’s it. I can adapt to the radio because I’m a street motherfucker. I can adapt to the underground because I was independent for a while. Up in Harlem and the Bronx, they didn’t accept us up until now, until we got Jim Jones, Drake, and Lil Wayne cosigning the weirdo. Now people are like, “Oh, shit. He’s really making moves. How much money he got?” And it’s like, “Suck a dick.”

Pitchfork: It seems like there’s a lot of pressure on you to represent and rejuvenate New York hip-hop. How do you feel about other rap coming out of the city right now?

A$AP: [makes thumbs-down gesture] It sucks– it’s cliché shit. Diamonds, cars, aviator shades, Gucci, half-naked bitches, wack-ass beats. When Jay-Z was the only one rapping about that stuff, it was cool. Now it’s just so fucking old. Who gives a fuck?

Source: Carrie Battan/Pitchfork

Picture via Ysa Pérez

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