The world got its first taste of Fergenstein on Live. Love. A$AP., the purple-tinged, codeine-soaked 2011 debut mixtape from New York newcomer A$AP Rocky. The tape ushered in Rocky as a breath of fresh air in the hip-hop game and introduced A$AP as not just a young collective of adventurous New York MCs, but a full-blown trilled-out lifestyle brand. On the track "Kissin' Pink," A$AP Mob member Ferg infused the tape with one of its most standout moments, a cheeky, Dirty South-flavored, half sung verse that left us wanting more.
Born Darold Ferguson, 25-year-old A$AP Ferg hails from Harlem, where his father used to design and sell his own clothing line to a crew of luminaries like Puff Daddy and Biggie. A hustler and renaissance man in his own right, when the self-proclaimed Hood Pope says his debut album Trap Lord will "change your life," he means it. While most MCs are hasty to put out a mixtape, Ferg and his crew are adamant about quality over quantity. Make no mistake; Trap Lord is a fully-formed powerhouse. He's making a name for himself with heavy-hitting anthems like "Work" and "Shabba," and is currently headlining a U.S. tour in support of this critically acclaimed debut.
Back in October, after a jam-packed day of interviews in anticipation of his first solo tour, Ferg chatted with us about his current fashion influences, his Trap Lord aspirations, and why the old beef with Miami's Raider Klan is "not even relevant."
New Times: Where are you right now?
A$AP Ferg: I'm in New York and it's so cold out here. I wish I was in Miami. I was just in Miami, too, for my birthday.
Happy belated birthday! What did you to do celebrate?
I had a couple club walk-throughs, club events out there. Just enjoying myself, taking a little vacation, havin' a few drinks out there, you know what I'm saying? Enjoying the beautiful sights.
Do you have any favorite Miami spots?
All of it. The beach is cool, the strip. A couple different hotels I gotta keep in disclosure. I like Miami.
You grew up in Harlem and you also shout out the Caribbean a lot in your music -- what's your background?
I'm Trinidadian. My grandfather's from Trinidad, my mother. And my father is from down South.
Can you tell me about your roots in fashion? Where does your style come from and what are you excited about right now?
I'm just excited that people don't have to wear jewelry with their clothes, you know, to make their clothes look expensive anymore. You can just wear like a white T-shirt, and you know, it's just the cut of your shirt that you can tell it's an expensive T-shirt. You know what I'm saying? I'm more into the cuts of fashion. Like people get more conservative with the way they dress, versus like wearing loud Versace prints all the time, things like that.
My fashion sense basically comes from my father, I guess, and other stuff that inspires me. Like rappers or, you know, Curt Cobain, Jimmy Hendrix, a bunch of different people. I got so much stuff flowin' through my mind right now I can't even name everybody, but, I get inspired by everything, movies, everybody.
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You were working a bit in fashion before you moved into rap. Do you ever see yourself going back to that?
Yeah, definitely. I'm kinda still doing it. You know, I got the Trap Lord line that I'm doing. That's doing really good. I started out, you know, doing it to give back to my fans, but they started to love it so much that I started making more designs and really just putting some work in on it.
What kind of stuff is in the Trap Lord line?
It's T-shirts, hoodies. We got custom shorts that's like cut and distressed. We've got long-sleeve shirts, bandanas, everything.
You've called yourself an artistic person who's come to the rap game to take over. What other art forms could you see yourself taking over?
Some culinary arts, you know what I'm saying? For a beautiful lady.
What's your favorite food?
My manager always calls me the Salmon King, because I'm always ordering some type of salmon. Whether it's curry salmon, grilled salmon, fried salmon. I'm always getting some type of salmon. 'Coz I'm a pescetarian now, you know, so I don't eat chicken, and like, meat and everything. So I just stick to the fish and like clams and seafood, things like that.
Maybe you can put out a cookbook, like 2 Chainz.
Oh, that's too rare. 2 Chainz is too rare for me. He dropped a cookbook. I don't think I can top that, I don't know. But we're actually good friends.
At what point would you say you felt like you had really come into your own as an artist, apart from A$AP Mob?
I would say when I seen the reaction to "Work." Every time I performed it, like people would just go crazy. It was like an undeniable crazy. Almost like, if you didn't know the song, it still moved you in a certain type of way. And that's when I knew I had something. And then my bookers, like that book my shows, would come to the show and be like, "Yo, they was really like going crazy to your shit." And like, I had to look back on the videos, when I was performing, and I was like, "Yo, they are goin' stupid." I built off that momentum. And I kind of know what moves people now. You know, I've been on so much tours and things, I just know what type of song to perform to move people.
Trap Lord the album is a pretty strong introduction to the world. What's the biggest message you hope people take from it?
I just want people to get up off they ass and work, and do something with themselves. That's it. I want people to be innovative. I want people to create more. I want people to be themselves, be individuals. And that's what I stand for.
What are you listening to now? Anything people might be surprised about?
I've been letting my ears rest for a little bit, so I haven't been listening to anything really. But I'm about to bomb the world with some fire shit in a second. So just look forward to my next project, and my next music. Look forward to the Mob album. Look forward to our tour, October 30. Trap Lord's in stores right now, you know?
Can you be a little more specific about what you have coming up next, stuff you're writing, people you're working with, or maybe a new music video?
I have the A$AP Mob album coming out next, that's what we're working on right now. And the Mob tour, well the Turnt and Burnt tour. I'm headlining, it's my first tour that I'm headlining. We're gonna travel from October 30 to December 11.
Do A$AP Mob and Miami's Raider Klan still have beef? Anything you want to clarify?
Nah, that's old. We can't talk about that. That's not even relevant. I don't got no drama with nobody. God has blessed me with a lot -- too much -- and I'm not gonna waste time on drama. I got too much people that's, you know, depending on me, to become the best I can be.
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Who would you say is coming up next?
The whole A$AP Mob. You've got Twelvie, you got Nast, you got Addie. So it's any of them that really want it. But really I think all them niggas is about to come up at the same time, because they go hard.