A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky

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About A$AP Rocky

In 2018, A$AP Rocky staged a “performance installation” called Lab Rat on the seventh floor of venerated auction house Sotheby’s. That Rocky moved in arty, high-society circles wasn’t news: He’d done the fashion thing, gone to the Met Gala, collaborated with Raf Simons when Simons was at Dior. Still, the moment felt like a landmark, a measure of cultural influence that few rappers had attained. More than just a rapper, though, Rocky was a representation of a next-gen model of hip-hop, a post-internet artist who synthesised decades of rap history into a sound that was seamless, catchy, mainstream but with a sense of style that felt elevated. He was Gucci, he was street, he was New York without the burden of having to carry that New York torch. He made albums the way interior designers made rooms: unlikely juxtapositions, interesting connections. Everywhere he went, from Sotheby’s on down, it seemed like Rocky belonged. Born Rakim Mayers in 1988, Rocky fell in with the Harlem-based A$AP Mob in his late teens—a collective that, like Odd Future in Los Angeles, functioned as much like a creative agency as a rap crew, bringing a sense of self-sufficiency and independence to the mainstream machine. By the time he released his first full-length, 2013’s LONG.LIVE.A$AP, he’d already toured with Drake and performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival, straddling mainstream and indie without pulling a muscle. AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP came out in 2015, followed by TESTING in 2018, each moving progressively further away from pop without slipping on the charts.

Harlem, NY, United States
3 October 1988
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