The Polo Grounds Studio in New York City's south Bronx is tucked into the sixth floor of a drab, unassuming building that rises above the shadow of the Third Avenue Bridge, just a few hundred feet north of the Harlem River where the five-lane highway splits east. The recording studio itself — a sizable room with two large couches and red and white stripes overlaying grey walls — has personality compared to the building's exterior, but is likewise generic. A stack of rusty lockers makes the space feel oddly transitory. It is here where many people hope A$AP Ferg, the next rapper out of A$AP Rocky's crew, is working his way to stardom.
Born Darold Ferguson Jr., Ferg has spent much of 2013 in this studio recording his debut album Trap Lord, which is set to be released on August 20 via A$AP Worldwide and Polo Grounds Music. That it's an album and not a mixtape is an important distinction to Ferg and his team, who have taken to Twitter recently to implore that the difference be recognized. For an unestablished MC this is mostly splitting hairs, but Trap Lord is rap music imagined on a grand and cinematic scale.
"I just wanted to make music from my dreams," he says. "I envisioned my visuals being as if I had my own Universal Studios in Harlem." The sentiment is sweet and almost innocent, but he is speaking plainly, as if his visions are a formality. "I wanted to see movie shit done in Harlem, like crazy shit. I'm not talking average. I'm talking special effects and shit."
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