26 Quintessential Takeaways From A$AP Rocky’s #CRWN Interview
A$AP Rocky knows how to fill a room. On Tuesday (Apr. 21), a room full of stylishly dressed fans and social who-whos filed into the chic white Varick Street studio complex used to accommodate some of this year’s TriBeca Film Festival happenings. At this particular event, the rapper born Rakim Meyers shone as the man of the hour, grinning brightly and infectiously all throughout his #CRWN sit-down with Elliott Wilson.
In between charming the audience with lighthearted jokes, pretty boy anecdotes, rants about his love for the “womens” and flexing the muscles he know he doesn’t have for the crowd (“I ain’t got no muscles, but I make it look good”), he opened up on a multitude of topics. Rocky opened up about being in great rap company in 2015, the album he’s going to drop after his forthcoming A.L.L.A. (At Long Last A.$.A.P.) album, wanting to be like Uncle Luke mixed with Big Daddy Kane, missing A$AP Yams, loving shrooms and his admittedly minor role in the Sundance film, Dope.
That’s just the half of it. There were way too many quotables to not acknowledge after sitting in on the juicy, hour-long talk, so we grabbed all the wildest soundbites just for you. You’re welcome.
1. Dope visuals are essential to entertain this ADD-like generation.
A$AP Rocky: I think a lot of people can agree that visuals are now as important as the music. You want to be a part of the experience. I try to give people a visual experience every time I do a video, whether it’s conceptual or just fun. I try to give them a preview into a world they’re not familiar with. Certain things sound better slowed down and certain things sound better with visuals. It’s 2015, so our attention span is so short. Most of those kids got ADD these days. You get on the internet and so-and-so dropped a new video, then the next week it doesn’t matter. So-and-o has another video. That’s the world we live in right now where we see things so quickly and we gotta adapt to it and make some visuals. Some creative shit.
2. Canal Street is a treasure trove to re-up on rare jewelry finds.
This is some jiggy stuff right here. I got these from Canal Street (points to chains). I collect Canal Street jewelry. This one right here is of Raekwon from Wu-Tang. This one’s Prodigy. They’re different lengths. You gotta search for ‘em. You can’t get this, bruh bruh. Everybody goes to their jewelers with their fake ice and shit. Nah, I go to Canal Street. My shit’s official. I’m giving y’all my secrets. I shouldn’t have even told y’all about Canal Street. They’re affordable! It took a long time for me to find these.
3. More artists should release dope music and videos just because.
It aggravates the shit out of me… I feel like artists only put out music with ulterior motives. They have to have a reason behind it. You see an artist put out a dope ass visual with a song, that’s because their album is coming out and they want to sell something. I just want to give y’all dope, jiggy shit at the expense of my own free time! It doesn’t always have to come with a catch.
4. Just like the rest of us, he’s inspired by everything from the J.Coles to the average Joes.
I wan’t y’all to inspire me. I saw Earl Sweatshirt’s video and felt inspired. I saw Joey Badass’ video and felt inspired. Kendrick’s album inspired me. J.Cole’s success inspired me. I want to feel inspired. We gotta keep raising the bar. I get inspired by normal people walking up and down the block. The other day I tried to give a homeless man an interview to ask him how’d he end up that way, but he only wanted money and stuff. He didn’t want to talk to me.
5. 2015 is the year of music’s youth uprising. This year alone, and this is the fourth month, we already had releases from some of the greatest artists in hip hop alone. I’m on the internet and hearing these little kids that are coming out, and these niggas is fresh. They’re way better than all these old niggas that’s in the game. I’m telling you, it’s all about the youth and it’s all about tomorrow. I don’t think just because a person’s got a million dollars in their bank account it makes them a credible artist. I’m listening to people that still live in their mother’s house and are still trying to figure it out. As long as you’ve got some jiggy shit to say, I’ll listen, and if you’ve got a dope visual to go with it, I’m bought.
6. He’s annoyed that for some new listeners, two of his biggest singles “F*ckin Problems” and “Wild For The Night” define him. I hate when I got six-year-olds coming up to me saying, “I love bad bitches, that’s my fuckin problem.” Listen little girl, there’s other songs you can listen to. And they’re quite good.
7. Sacrificing tree and sex for music is more rewarding than it sounds. I’m 26 years old; I get distracted easily. Weed and pussy are very big distractions for me, so you gotta cut the phones off so you don’t get no pussy. You can’t smoke no weed. You gotta do a bunch of work. I sacrificed pussy and weed for y’all motherfuckers. For months! Nah [it wasn’t hard to do]. I was having fun, and the music that I made… it was just one of those things where you can’t really articulate it with words. You’re just going to have to listen to it.
8. Rocky is absolutely here for shrooms and thangs. Anybody ever did mushrooms out there? Shout out to the community. We’re growing by the day. I love psychedelics, man. Einstein was on psychedelics. Steve Jobs was on psychedelics. I bet you guys didn’t know that. They say if you obtain psychedelics and if you can endure them that makes you a creative genius. For those of you who are squares and don’t do weed or psychedelics, yes I’m talking to you, I got a problem with those people. Our community is growing. We’re about 100,000 of us, so try it. I hate to be an advocate but I love it. I was joking before; if you don’t smoke weed and stuff that’s fine. That’s how you choose to live your life. I understand. It’s the extreme drugs that I don’t condone. The heroine. The meth. The weird shit. Nothing that’s gonna make me look ugly.
9. He has an artsy album ready to roll out after A.L.L.A. I did a whole instrumental album. My boy from London town, we shot it out there last summer. It’s called The Beauty and the Beast: Slowed Down Sessions Chapter 1 and it’s basically a spin off Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This is my own version of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a long story that goes with the mythical tale about this chick and this guy who grew up together. The chick’s obviously cliché and named Beauty. I finished it. I want to put out the At Long Last A.S.A.P. album because people want to hear bars. They don’t want to hear beats. They want to hear me rapping. I want to get that out the way and then whoever’s into some artsy shit can fuck with that.
10. A.L.L.A. is part of his solution to 2014’s rap drought. I was fortunate enough to be named after one of the greatest emcees of all time. That’s like being named Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. I was intimidated because those shoes are too big to walk in. I got to a point where I felt like rap was shit. I hated rap 2014. I thought, I need to do something about this. Other artists inspired me and I just felt this year is the return of the god emcee. I’m talking some lord shit on this next one.
11. Choosing Danger Mouse and Juicy J as album producers was a no-brainer. I don’t know how many people here are familiar with Danger Mouse, but he’s one half of the duo with Cee Lo Greene which makes Gnarls Barkley. He’s been a big inspiration of mine since I was 19 years old. I always wanted to work with him. And working with Juicy J? That’s just a no-brainer right there. Juicy J is like working with Bone Thugz n Harmony. And he actually produces. It’s a win-win situation. Working with Juicy is easy.
12. The rap world is the new WWE. These rap motherfuckers be lying. Rap is the new wrestling. Make up a weird ass name and come out saying some outlandish, crazy, dumb shit and everyone will pay attention to you.
13. Rocky’s not exactly the “leader” of the A$AP Mob. I had a support system. It wasn’t just me. The whole Mob was with the shits. Not only that, but Yams… anything I ever wanted to do, he supported. He got my vision. We were just a bunch of young visionaries that happened to get together, and that only happens every once in a few. Everybody has an eclectic vision. And I’m not no leader. I joined A$AP in 2007. I’m not anybody’s leader, I just know when it’s time to stop fucking around. Yams, if anything, was what we had as a leader.
14. He found a rare gem in RCA Records. [At first], we were hiding from the world, from the devils, from the fucked up people who are in this industry. I wanted to work with people that understood me. And I felt like when I went to RCA with Brian, I felt they understood what I wanted to do. There aren’t too many record labels that allow artists to have creative control. That’s a big freedom in itself, because nobody can fuck your shit up. You’re in charge of your own shit. And when they do fuck your shit up, you get to point the finger at somebody. It helps. There are pros and cons with what we’ve got going on.
15. Sorry paparazzi, he lives a “boring” life now. I wanted to get lost and get away from the people talking about me. I might be popular and I might be famous but I don’t want to be considered a celebrity because… I’m not gonna lie. The attention is good. It’s fun to come out the building and have paparazzi and have women want to sleep with you, but what if you want to turn that shit off? You can’t turn it off, man. I don’t even play with them anymore. Look, I’m boring. I don’t drive cars. I walk everywhere or I rent Ubers. I’d rather take a taxi or the train. I’m from New York; fuck I need a car for? There’s nothing interesting about me. I’m not fucking any famous bitches at the moment.
16. Being single and free is better than becoming the bastard who turns pretty ladies crazy. [Being single] is bomb! I get to say hello to all the ladies. For me, I might call a pretty woman a pretty woman and I’m not flirting. You’re just pretty! You gotta tell her, “You’re really pretty,” and leave. When you’re in a relationship, that can get you in trouble. I was just saying hello! So I’d prefer to be single so I can chill in peace. With the utmost respect for Lauryn Hill—because I don’t want to make that a joke—man, fuck the dude that made Lauryn Hill go crazy. Fuck that guy. I don’t want the world to look at me like that bastard. I don’t want the world to hate me. Not saying the person I was with had as much influence on people as much as Lauryn Hill did, but I think it’s a pity when someone hurts a beautiful woman to the point where they have to go crazy.
17. Having close friends around helps cope with the loss of A$AP Yams. I got good people around. And seriously, it’s not like I took a loss. We took a loss. When you’re hurt, there are people you can really go to that know exactly what you’re talking about and feeling. That feels good, man.
18. After his overhyped appearance in Dope, he’d prefer his next movie role to be an elegant one. Have any of you guys ever heard of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Think about that. Ever seen Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine? Think about that. Ever seen Juice with Tupac? Take those three movies, put ‘em in one and that’s Dope. That’s my synopsis and how I see it. I play 26-year-old Dom. He’s from L.A. with a New York accent and he sells drugs. So cliché. It’s just hand in hand. Most rappers are drug dealers, so it was a no-brainer. I want to play a character that’s more complicated next time, though. Maybe a journalist or a brain surgeon. Something elegant. Test my intelligence. It’s funny, I’m not even in [Dope] a lot. I don’t know why they show me like that. It’s because I’m pretty. I’m not even in the movie, I got a cameo.
19. Social media usage is limited to creep escapades.
I tweet, but you know what the thing is? It’s almost like admitting to the world that you’re extremely bored at the moment. Like really? I’m gonna start talking to nobody and hope that someone writes back? I’d rather keep that to myself. I get bored sometimes but I could find things to do other than tweet niggas. I only go to Instagram and Twitter to look at my DMs. I’m a very proud creep. I have to be, I’m 26! I’m having fun. Ladies, Insta DM me if you’re trying to holla at the boy.
20. There are some things that need to be clarified about Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and brand co-signs.
It’s not that I supported [Hood by Air and Been Trill], I made them famous. It’s the truth. Do you know how hard it is to make a fashion line big? Do you know how many aspiring designers that are just in this city alone that need that chance and need that push? And here’s the thing [about Virgil Abloh], Off White’s not for me but that doesn’t mean it’s not for everybody else. There are certain people who don’t give a fuck what I say but then you’ve got people who are like, “Listen, I gotta know what’s going on and if Flacko said it’s quiet, it’s quiet. I’m not wearing that.” If it looks like I’m dissing this man’s brand… And I already killed his other brand, Been Trill, that’s dead. That’s his brand too and it’s finished. Now it looks like I’m bullying him. I was just in London with him earlier! It’s nothing personal against Virgil. I just don’t wear Off-White. It’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s wack. I think the stuff he’s doing with the women’s line is actually dope.
21. Kanye West deserves his props for trailblazing in the fashion world.
I think that Kanye had a rough time in the fashion industry, but I think it’s all starting to pay off. He and Pharrell paid the way for artists like myself. I wouldn’t be here. I would be full of shit if I told you that as a teen I wasn’t inspired by Kanye West. I’d be lying, but at the moment, I’m inspired by me and that’s okay. And other dudes like Earl and other cats that are putting out dope art. Action Bronson and Danny Brown, too.
22. Corny rappers make the best friends.
I’ll tell y’all right now, if any of y’all are aspiring to be in the industry, the coolest motherfuckers are the corniest ones. I’m talking about that ones that are just like, you’re so cool. I wouldn’t do a song with you, but we can smoke forever. Let’s hit the club or I got some bitches but other than that, I can’t do no records with people I don’t, on a creative level, see eye-to-eye with.
23. No, his name did not come from Aesop Rock.
My name is Lord Pretty Jodeye Flacko the second, but [Mos Def] is Pretty Flacko the first. I had to get permission to add that name. That was way long ago. I had to [ask him]. Because they used to come at me like, “You took Aesop Rock’s name.” Who the fuck is Aesop Rock? And then I met the dude and I was like this dude is amazing. I didn’t take his name, man. But Pretty Flacko I get from Mos Def.
24. Everyone will love Mos Def and Pusha T’s next albums.
I’m not gonna lie to y’all, I’m not gonna hold y’all. I’m gonna say it right now. Two people who I could definitely say got some crack for y’all coming up for sure, for certain are Mos Def and Pusha T. I swear to y’all, Pusha T is spitting like he’s 19 again. I was on psychedelics the night he came over, so I guess I was hearing it twice as good, I’m being honest. But he came through to the studio and I didn’t give a fuck, I was acting like a fan in front of his face. So what? I’m a fan! It feels good to be in hip hop again. I was like damn man, I’m embarrassed to be a part of this shit. We take so much Ls as a community. Look at this rap shit going on. And then once in a blue, it’s somebody or something that happens that makes you think, this is why I fell in love with hip hop in the first place.
25. His legacy is one long interesting math equation of jiggy names.
I want my legacy to be like Slick Rick mixed with Big Daddy Kane meets LL Cool J meets Keith Sweat—because he got all the bitches—meets Jodeci. That’s what I want to be. Wait, who else had all the bitches back in the day? [Audience member yells Uncle Luke] Oh word! That Miami based Uncle Luke. He was very, very based at the moment. I wanna be like Uncle Luke but less reckless.
26. He’s truly found family and a bright future in the A$AP Mob.
Yamborghini, he had it. He left the blueprint and the notebook with what he wanted us to say, how he wanted us to do it and we’re gonna keep carrying out his legacy. We have literal notebooks, composition books from A$AP Yams of all the plans he wanted. And besides that we have our own vision for making things happen. Expect something from the A$AP Mob this summer. I think we’ve always been close, so I won’t say him passing brought us closer together. But what I will say is that we appreciate each other way more because we know that tomorrow’s promised to no one. Our own brother… When somebody dies and they’re not involved in street shit or some fucked up shit, you’re just like, damn. None of us are involved in no street shit no more. We don’t have to be. We’re making music. So to have somebody die being in that field, it was a wake up call. We still got each other. We still got Yams.
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