A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP was finally released yesterday — it was first due September 11, then due Halloween — and, as promised, it features lots of friends. (Santigold! Drake! Florence Welch! But no Lana Del Rey!) Vulture spoke to Rocky, an ex-drug-dealing vegetarian from Harlem, about his delayed album, its guests, and the A$AP Mob’s mantra.
Hey, what’s up?
How you doing? It’s that pretty motherfucker.
Okay, yes. Long.Live.A$AP is finally out after a lot of buildup.
It’s like a weight’s coming off my shoulders. I’m feeling really good about it. It feels like a prison inmate that just did 25 years finally being free. No parole. No probation. Just free. I know that’s a fucked-up reference to use, but that’s how it feels. It feels like the album was the key to people wondering what I’m capable of. They don’t know yet. They gonna see on this album how creative I really am. And how much of an artist I really am.
You have Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar on the album. Is there anyone you insisted on getting?
Danger Mouse [on “Phoenix”] and Skrillex [“Wild for the Night”].
I was pleasantly surprised by Florence Welch for “I Come Apart.”
She said she was a fan of my shit. She wanted to work together. I just couldn’t believe that she actually listened to A$AP Rocky. I’m starting to find out that a lot of people that you wouldn’t think listen to me really do.
Why didn’t Lana Del Rey didn’t make it on the album, especially after the visible chemistry between you and her in her “National Anthem” video?
The thing was, I did a freestyle reference [on “Ridin”], and it got leaked. And I was like, Man, since this is leaked, there’s no point in even putting it on the album. The album, I love it. But there were a few tracks I couldn’t get on. It’s sad to speak about for me. There’s this one song, “Suddenly,” I co-produced it. We couldn’t find a sample for it. And it took everybody forever to find that sample. And we got it cleared at the last minute.
Are you trying to do more producing?
Yeah, I produced “Long.Live.A$AP,” the first track off the album, also.
You’ve made a point of saying you’re obsessed with being different.
That’s right. It’s about breaking down barriers. I feel like people worry about the wrong things sometimes. I’m not perfect. I strive for perfection, but I’m not perfect. But what I can say is my morals are totally different than any other 24-year-old rapper my age now. I look at life totally different. A whole other aspect. I have different views and morals on life in general. And opinions. I’m just here to express it and show people who I am as a person and as an individual.
That’s been the whole mantra of the A$AP Mob: Live your life and good things will happen.
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I’m glad you get it. You get it all the way. For real, man. Not everybody gets it. I’ve ran into people that’s like, “Yo, I really like your music, but I just don’t understand how you have that much of an impact on people and how you have this much of a fan base. Your music is okay to me. But I just don’t get it.” And a lot of people said it took some getting used to it, and now they love it.
You’ve credited Elvis Presley for being the original swag master.
He was. And he got in trouble for it, too. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to break boundaries, man. That’s all. I’m here to be the first so that the people after me don’t have to think twice about expressing themselves and being free.
Is it ever difficult to balance your solo career and being the face of the A$AP Mob?
It’s not even hard. It’s easy. The thing is, I’m not afraid to lose shine. The reason why most people — when you see me with A$AP [Mob], I don’t act like a leader. I’m the CEO of A$AP Worldwide. But as you can see, when I’m with them, everybody’s equal. We don’t really base our love off of finances or who’s superior by financial status. We’re all equal. When I’m with them, I’m letting them shine ‘cause it’s just like how it used to be. They still there. I’m just chilling out front. Some people too scared to let other people shine. And that’s why we’re winning. Because we’re not scared.
You’ve become something of a fashion icon. How do you discover new designers?
Man, I shop, like, every week. So I figure it out. It’s like, if you’re in the music business or just being a music lover, there’s things you have access to now because you’re so deep into it. If you get what I’m saying. It’s one of those things you gotta be into to understand: Oh, this is what’s next, and this is not.