Mon 25 Mar 2013
ASAP Rocky recently landed another high profile fashion cover. After appearing on the cover of Vogue earlier this month, Interview Mag tapped the rapper to grace their latest issue. For the cover story, Rocky’s good friend and fashion designer Alexander Wang shared an in-depth conversation about both of their accomplishments in 2012, fashion, breakin stereotypes, collaborations and more. Back in January, Wang featured Rocky in his Spring 2013 promo video.
WANG: I know that you’ve talked before about wanting to “revolutionize” your generation. What do you mean by that—and what does it mean to you?
ROCKY: If I have an opportunity to say something positive, then I’m gonna take advantage of it, but there are two sides to that. It’d be politically correct for me to say something good for the kids when I have a chance—say something that’s positive—just because it’ll help my image. But I came up in a world that was just crazy—and it was hectic and kind of radical at the same time.
For me, growing up in Harlem and then migrating down to SoHo and the Lower East Side and chillin’ down there and making that my stomping ground . . . That was a big thing, because I’m from Harlem, and downtown is more artsy and also more open-minded….
Check out more photos from the features spread and cover story after the jump…
So I got the best of both worlds. It was like being on the streets and then being in school at the same time, and I tried to keep my hands in everything just so I wasn’t missing out on any fun. I just always wanted to be knowledgeable of my whereabouts, my surroundings, and what was going on with our generation. So now that I’m here and I’ve got a microphone in my hand and about 6,000 people watching me, I need to tell them how I feel. For instance, one big issue in hip-hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip-hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip-hop is small-minded or stupid—and that’s not the case. We’ve got people like Jay-Z. We’ve got people like Kanye. We’ve got people like me. We’re all prime examples of people who don’t think like that. I treat everybody equal, and so I want to be sure that my listeners and my followers do the same if they’re gonna represent me. And if I’m gonna represent them, then I also want to do it in a good way.
WANG: This past year has obviously been an incredible year for you too, in terms of your success and everything you’ve achieved. But at the same time, you’ve probably encountered a lot of difficulties and obstacles. How were you able to stay focused with everything that was going on?
ROCKY: Well, 2012 was probably the most historic year of my life. I got to work with you for the first time. I’m getting my respect as a video director. The fashion industry respects me and knows who I am. But then the album leaked. I also lost my dad over Christmas.
ROCKY: But in 2013, I’ve already had a number-one album, and here I am on the cover of Interview talking to my good friend Alex Wang, so it looks like this year is going to be a good one.
WANG: When I first found out about you, I was so amazed and intrigued because there was so much genuine interest in fashion there. I remember when we first met, you came to the showroom, and you knew so much about me. It’s always nice to find that very authentic connection with someone who really knows what you’re talking about, even though they’re from a different world.
ROCKY: Well, I’m from New York—Upper Manhattan, Harlem—so fashion was a natural thing to me. It was just one of those things that helped me be an individual, because with fashion, you can stand out and you can make it your own. It’s like an art that you can make into your own. So for me, fashion was about standing out as an individual—and it helped me get the attention that most people try to get with publicity stunts or by doing other crazy things. But I just let the attention come to me naturally, and I think some of that has to do with my fashion.
WANG: It’s a very positive message that you’re putting out there in your music and in breaking down those preconceptions that hip-hop gets stereotyped with a lot.
ROCKY: I also want people to see that I come from the ghetto—I come from the hood—and honestly, man, the mind-state there was kind of fucked up for a while. But now you see me—and other people like me—who are standing up and saying, “All right, the jig is up. It’s not a joke. These are actual people we’re talking about.” It’s same as with racism. There was a time when someone would get on a plane and request to move their seat just because the person sitting next to them was of a different ethnicity or religion or nationality. But I don’t think my generation wants that. That’s how it used to be. People are racist because parents and grandparents are embedding that kind of shit in their heads. But it’s 2013. Time goes on. We’ve moved past that. Everybody should be able to enjoy their life, because you only live once. So I just want to get it all out there and be the best role model that I can be, if people want to put me in that kind of predicament. I mean, I didn’t ask to be a role model, because I’m not perfect.
WANG: I wanted to ask you a musical question. You’ve been collaborating with a lot of great people lately. What makes you want to collaborate with someone?
ROCKY: The process of me collaborating with people like Skrillex and Florence [Welch] has been more organic than anything because I haven’t wanted to do anything that people expect me to do. I really want to do the unexpected, and I think that’s what I did when I executed Long.Live.A$AP. I wanted people to really see the message and that I’m an artist who not only has the capability of rapping, but of composing great music both for people of my generation and for people with different backgrounds. I wanted to appeal to people who’ve never really listened to hip-hop or really given it a chance before. I’ve also tried to incorporate all my favorite lifestyle things in the music. Of course, “Fashion Killa” is one of peoples’ favorites because it just expresses how much I like fashion. I had to give you that very rare Alexander Wang shout-out on that track . . .
Photography by Craig Mcdean
Stylist Sarah Ellison
Rocky is wearing Y-3, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, Siki IM, Rick Owens, 1-100 and Jill Platner.