A$AP Rocky is really doing a great job at branding himself. Since being introduced to the world, this past summer, the 22-year-old Harlem native have been working nonstop. He signed a $3 million deal with RCA/Pologroundz, toured with Drake, released his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP, collaborated with some of the dopest emcees in the game and now he is covering the February/March issue of Complex with fashion designer Jeremy Scott. Written by Joe La Puma, the issue hits newsstands February 7th. Below are some excerpts:
You’ve name-dropped Jeremy in a bunch of songs. When did you first notice his designs?
Around 2008. We started doing the whole thing. He used to come out with Mickey Mouse shit, three tongues, African patterns and shit. I started getting exclusive shit from France. I liked it so much because the only way you can find it is if you go on eBay, and you’re paying double. There’s no way an average person is gonna have it.
Jeremy, you’ve collaborated with some major players in rap. How does it feel to be co-signed by A$AP, one of the leaders of the new generation?
I’m very appreciative. I love hearing the stories about what my work means—not only to him, but to the kids he came up with. His friends, all of Harlem. For me that’s my ultimate goal: to touch people’s lives. The real people on the street. Of course I love having accolades from the fashion world and I’m thrilled with Rihanna and Gaga and Katy and everyone wearing my clothes. But when the real kids are using their money—
You both push the envelope in your respective fields. Is that what’s most important to you, doing your own thing?
A$AP: My own thing is all that matters to me. And it feels good when I get props for doing what’s best for me. I like when people admire it and relate to it.
Jeremy: The only box I’m in is a shoebox. That’s my challenge every time—to push the boundaries, to constantly be challenging, and at the same time doing what I feel is right. It’s easy to make something absurd. Sometimes people say, “Whoa”—like what I’m doing is crazy. It’s not for everyone. I have a special role and I take it deadly serious. I spend my life, all of my waking hours, working and thinking and trying to create and perfect new ideas.
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A$AP, you’ve talked about this before, but why do you still think there’s homophobia and ignorance in rap?
A: I’m not homosexual. That’s not where I’m at with my life. But I can still be greatly inspired by a homosexual. It has nothing to do with their sexuality. If I start discriminating against people, that will stop me as a person. That’s ignorant. What the fuck does that have to do with anything? It’s not like I want to date this motherfucker—I’m inspired by this dude. This isn’t about fashion, it’s what he personally did for me. I’m not saying I’m going to be an activist. I want to enlighten those brothers. I used to be like them, but I’m a grown-ass man. I don’t care what another man does with his time.
J: Why does it exist in the world? I don’t know. It’s just one of those things. I don’t know why people care about what other people do. When this becomes an issue in politics, that’s the thing that boggles my mind. I heard on CNN that Republicans won’t get behind Mitt Romney because of abortion and gay marriage. Why do you care?
When the going got tough, did you guys ever consider giving up?
A: Before I made it? Yeah, a lot of times. I’ve been through deep shit, like hella depressing shit where I doubted myself and I felt like it’s taking too fuckin’ long. And then I thought, “This is what I do best and I know I’m good. And if I know I’m really good, then the world has to know it.” And I kept pushing for it. There were times that I was like, “Fuck it man. I just want to keep selling drugs.” But I kept going.
And now you’ve got one of the hottest mixtapes of the year. If you could play it for anybody in the world, who would it be?
A: Let me take my time with this. I would play it for my brother. He died. So I would play it for him.
What about you, Jeremy? Did you ever feel like giving up?
J: Yeah, after my fourth show everyone decided to turn against me. I did a show that was all gold and it was in the middle of [a period of] minimalism, and people were like, “This is too brash and too tacky.” And, yeah, it was harsh to have Anna Wintour in your front row and all these people like André Leon Tally suddenly saying, “Oh, you should never design again.”
Read the interview in its entirety over at Complex.