Can a young Harlem rapper with a love for high end streetwear and southern style beats bring the spotlight back to Hip Hop’s birthplace? Drake, Jim Jones, David Banner and Snoop Dogg are among the genre’s stars that seem to think so. Drake even had him as an opener on his recent Club Paradise tour. With his mix tape, LiveLoveA$AP, A$AP Rocky (Rakim Myers) has been keeping the internet buzzing with a stream of music and self directed music videos. And that buzz is so big that it resulted in a $3 million dollar label deal with RCA for himself and his crew A$AP Mob. (All members of the crew carry the acronym A$AP, meaning To Accumulate Status And Power as a first name) Now with his single “Peso” jumping on mainstream radio and hitting the road for his headlining tour that makes a stop at the Middle East on Monday, the self proclaimed “That Pretty Mother Fucker” sat with us and talked about good music, handling business and the importance of listening to your elders.
G. Valentino Ball: How does a kid from Harlem named after a Hip Hop legend develop such a love for that Houston sound?
ASAP Rocky: When I first heard it, it just appealed to me so much that it became a habit. It was druggy. Then I just put it together and created my own style.
G. Valentino Ball: But since that was so foreign to your surroundings did people accept it? What was the initial reaction from people?
ASAP Rocky: They just thought we were weird. We were just on some revolutionary shit. Some futuristic shit.
G. Valentino Ball: What was it about you that people said was weird?
ASAP Rocky: You have to look at how we dressed. We had rips in jeans. We had rugged ass high fashion shit. That punk rock star mentality.
G. Valentino Ball: But it wasn’t like you didn’t have the girls and did everything the so called normal people did?
ASAP Rocky: And that’s why we are where we are now. Long as the bitches like you and recognize real. Once the ladies love you, that’s all she wrote. Ladies loved me since day one so I’m straight.
G. Valentino Ball: What’s been the best part of your career so far?
ASAP Rocky: Get talk from some real motherfuckers in the game and getting advice from them.
G. Valentino Ball: Who has given you the best advice?
ASAP Rocky: Snoop Dogg, Styles P, David Banner, Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Bun B, Mos Def, it goes on. Some young rappers are too stubborn and disrespectful to take heed. They think they know it all. But you should take heed to their advice. They are giving you advice from their experience. Young rappers get caught up in the hype. Me? I’m always I student mode.
G. Valentino Ball: What do you think it is that older people aren’t understanding about young people today?
ASAP Rocky: That we are smarter. But they have more wisdom because they have more experience. But technically we are smarter than the generation before us. We have technology and all that revolutionary shit. The older generation is more wise. And there is a difference between wit and wisdom.
G. Valentino Ball: Why was it so important for you to not have the normal artist deal? How were you able to make that happen?
ASAP Rocky: Cause I’m not a normal person. I told these labels if you don’t have any interest in giving me a label go fuck yourself. That was that. It started off as negotiation of what we are going to get for a label deal. People knew what I wanted from the jump.
G. Valentino Ball: What’s your game plan for 2012?
ASAP Rocky: Same plan I had in 2011. Take over the world Pinky.