His success came overnight and it couldn’t have come any faster. Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky had a great year in 2012 and made a major contribution to Hip-Hop culture. This fashionable kid who sports a Soho upscale style kept the blogospheres on fire with his Houston inspired music, dope visuals, and fashionable outfits. He also grew as an artist over the last year which helped improved his interviewing skills and we also saw less temper tantrums and rants from Rocky in 2012. In 2013, he still has a lot of growing to do as a music artist, business man and fashion stylist. This Spring 2013, Rocky will be opening up for Rihanna on her upcoming worldwide tour. He recently interviewed with Pitchfork , where he talked about his music and debut album Long.Live.A$AP which arrives a week from today Tuesday (January 15). Below are some highlights:
There are a lot of people who claim that you’re all flash and fashion– that you’re just a pretty boy and not a legitimate rapper. How do you call me just a swag rapper? When I started, I was 23 years old directing my own music videos; I’m co-producing on my album; I’m hands-on with everything. I’m more than just a pretty boy: I’m an artist. I’m not saying I’m a hip-hop music artist, I’m an artiste.
Skrillex is probably the most surprising name on Long.Live.A$AP. How did that song, “Wild for the Night”, happen? My relationship with Sonny [Moore, aka Skrillex] is funny. We’re friends. He and I started out together, believe it or not. The guy who shot the video for “Purple Swag” was his personal cameraman, and he would show me Skrillex’s shit. I was like, “Yo, why does this dude have this weird-ass haircut? What does he do?” This was before he got big. We’ve hung out a lot– we used to go to a lot of clubs. You wouldn’t take me to be a Skrillex fan, but honestly, when I’m at his shows, I get high and liquored up, and I just go in the crowd and start raving.
On the other end of the spectrum, the album also features production from Danger Mouse on “Phoenix”. I used to bag up drugs with vanilla candles in my room and bump Gnarls Barkley. St. Elsewhere was good, but The Odd Couple was really my shit. Some of my favorite songs were “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul”, “Charity Case”, and “No Time Soon”. When I reached out, Danger Mouse accepted my hand and acted like a big brother.
On the album, you’ve kept a lot of your signatures– the pitched-down vocals, the Houston and Memphis references– but you’ve also moved away from that on some songs, too. I didn’t necessarily move away, but why do it so much? I don’t do anything too much. When shit gets overdone, I step away. Givenchy is so overdone right now. So many rappers are wearing it. All they know is Kanye and A$AP and Jay-Z and all those motherfuckers wear it, so it’s the thing to do. So I don’t fuck with Givenchy right now. If I was to do that vocal pitch thing too much, I would get tired of it and be mad at myself.
When you were first getting attention, a lot of people looked to you as a potentially important New York rapper. What’s your relationship to New York been like in the last year? I’m from New York and I love New York and I’m always repping New York, but what I represent is something deeper than just being a New York rapper. I want to be the first guy to help people accept everybody for who they are. I’m talking about colors, religions, sex, everybody. My music is for everybody, it’s not just for one kind of group. I’m a people’s person, believe it or not. I just have a dark side to me, which we all do. But at the same time, there’s a lot of light, and that’s why God is letting me shine, because I’ve got a good heart. We really need to make this shit a new revolution. All of the young people– the artsy people, people who get overlooked because they’re weird or they don’t have hype around them– need to get some shine. I want to inspire people to really open up their minds and not be one-sided or biased or hypocritical or… I just want to change people, because the world is a fucked-up place and a lot of people gave up on trying to change it.
Read the interview in is entirety over at Pitchfork.
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