It’s been a year of extremes for A$AP Rocky, or Pretty Flacko, the name he tells me he prefers when we are introduced. The Sundance premiere of Dope, in which the Harlem rapper made his acting debut, came just six days after the tragic loss of his friend and A$AP worldwide co-creator, A$AP Yams.
Yams’ (born Steven Rodriguez) print is all over Rocky’s latest album At.Long.Last.A$AP or A.L.L.A. He co-executive produced the album and Rocky pays full tribute to his co-conspirator on the album cover by rocking Yams distinctive purple birthmark.
A.L.L.A is an impressive record. A considered chronicle of an artist transitioning from a young man filled with ambition, bravado and game to one who has truly lived and wishes to speak honestly. It also sees Rocky flex a more dexterous flow with a confidence that has him go toe-to-toe with Yeezy, Weezy, Juicy J, Future, Schoolboy Q and of course, Rod Stewart.
On the phone Rocky is warm, gracious and playful, constantly acknowledging and praising others. He explains that he wants to make the rawest music possible for his rawest fans and that he is looking forward to returning to Australia next year for a number of performances presented by NOISEY.
Noisey: I want to thank you for making such a beautiful record.
Rocky: Thank you, that really means alot. I prefer compliments and gestures and people just gratefully saying thank you. Those are like the true trophies and Grammys handed out every day, but only when it’s sincere.
My favorite track is “Fine Whine”, the crucial collaboration with M.I.A. and Future. It’s made me cry on occasion.
I love to hear that but I don’t love to hear that you cried. You must have some really bad boyfriend issues.
(laughing) But I’m in love again now, so I'm okay with tears. You just turned 27 didn’t you?
Yes I’m 27 now and happy to be 27. But I still look 24.
You look like a baby. I do as well to be honest.
Shout out to the baby faces.
Twenty six is a beautiful age in rap. It’s when boys become men. It’s when Jay dropped Reasonable Doubt, when Drake’s whole flow changed and now you on this record.
Those analogies are on point, that was kinda crazy what you just said, I completely dig it and feel you.
It’s been an incredible year in rap, between Rodeo, DIrty Sprite 2, What A Time and your own album it’s been so charged. What’s been your favourite?
That’s really hard but you know, I’m gonna be honest - it’s probably mine.
Good. I feel like people need to say that more. You work so hard on it and put it out and people expect you to be modest.
Indeed and I’m not going to lie. I wanted to clash beautiful orchestrated music with hard ass muddied drowned out ghetto ass funk. I wanted to give people a combination of both and I feel like I mastered that.
You and Yams brought A$AP Mob to the world together.
I owe my life to Yams, to my best friend. He’s my number one supporter and in the beginning he helped me get to places I’d never imagine. He was always on-board with my vision and willing and ready to help me execute my plans and strategies. We created these blueprints to figure how to successfully be us. At the same time, just get our shit out there without compromising who we are. The popular crowd has shitty taste. They like shitty music. They like shitty films. That’s why I have a cult following. It’s not about a fan base with me, everybody has fans. They’re fickle - they come and go.
You talk about sexuality a lot in your music and publicly. Why do we tolerate extreme violence in our culture but we shame and censor sexuality unless it’s packaged in the form of an underage whitey pop star?
Man. Oh my God. Whoah shit I don’t know. You said it best. I want to know. I’m looking for the answers to that too.
A good example is that story that came out about you having an orgy on acid at SXSW. People were like, ‘Oh my God’ but come on is this really that controversial?
(laughs) I thought it was cool. It just happens you know.
What do you think is the best way to instigate group sex without it being awkward? Do you need to be on hallucinogens?
No. I think it’s just an environment for the people that have that energy. You can’t really force something like that; it’s magic I guess - it has to happen naturally. If it happens, it happens. I don’t know what man actually looks forward to group sex. That’s not something’ that we look forward but if you’re brothers in a house full of chicks and if the energy is right things go down. I know you get what I’m saying’, I don’t wake up thinking about orgies.
*Operator interrupts: Courtney you have two more minutes.
Rocky: Don’t interrupt her when she’s talking about orgies, damn.
How was your last visit to Australia?
I had an amazing time. I can’t wait to get back out there. I love the fashion. The people. I’m looking forward to the good restaurants.
I’ll take you out for steak frites and rosé at France-Soir in Melbourne. It’s a good time.
Yes but I don’t eat meat,. I’m four years meat free. We gotta’ check out a vegetarian joint.
Congrats on four years! Are you quite a spiritual person, do you meditate?
I pray more than I meditate and I smoke more than I meditate. So I meditate a lot. That’s the highest form of mediation.
A$AP Rocky Australia Tour 2016
17 Feb – Melbourne at Margaret Court Arena
18 Feb – Brisbane at Eatons Hill
21 Feb – Adelaide at Entertainment Theatre
25 Feb – Sydney at Hordern Pavillion
28 Feb – Perth at Metro City
Frontier Members pre-sale via frontiertouring.com/asaprocky
Tue 27 Oct (2pm AEDT) to Wed 28 Oct (2pm AEDT)
General public on sale from Thursday 29 October, 10am local time.
'At.Long.Last.A$AP' is available now through RCA Records/Sony Music Australia.