In this corner, the undisputed heavyweight style champ, straight outta Missouri by way of L.A., the man who put the wings on your adidas, Jeremy Scott! And in that corner, the pound-for-pound flyest motherf*cker on the planet, all the way from Harlem—A$AP Rocky! Let’s get ready to rumble!
This feature appears in Complex's February/March 2012 issue.
Today’s rap game is crowded with artists, but there are only a few stars. It’s the reason magazines and blogs keep recycling the same subjects, and why fans can count the rappers worth talking about on their hands. But take it from us: A$AP Rocky is a star.
Critics ask, “What has he done?” For starters, the 23-year-old Harlemite put out two of the best songs of 2011—the lean-induced “Purple Swag” and the infectious “Peso”—followed by a must-hear mixtape, LIVE.LOVE.A$AP. Finally, after a flurry of high-stakes negotiations, Rocky and his crew landed a $3 million deal with RCA/Polo Grounds.
But the young rapper’s draw is deeper than his bespoke flows. Witty and intelligent, flashy but down-to-earth, he’s the type of artist whose charisma fills a room. As A$AP makes the rounds at L.A.’s SmashBox Studios, every dude on set gets a dap, every chick gets a cheek kiss. And when it comes to fashion, Rocky’s no rookie. Before the rap money, A$AP was pushing weight so he could afford brands like YSL, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, and—you guessed it—Jeremy Scott. But things are better for A$AP now. As far as scrambling for Jeremy Scott threads, consider this Complex cover his connect.
Jeremy Scott knows all about star power. He’s the go-to for Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Rihanna. His playful remixes of pop-culture iconography and masterful use of prints and metallics have transcended fashion runways and splashed all over the streets. His off-the-hook collaborations with Swatch watches and Longchamp bags are rivaled only by his surreal adidas line, which has taken the tough-to-please sneakerhead world by storm. The Missouri native has been called “Fashion’s Last Rebel,” and he’s been hailed as the only suitable heir to the Chanel throne by be-all-end-all designer Karl Lagerfeld. Scott’s respect stems from his fearlessness. He does exactly what he wants, and he knows how to translate that vision to the world.
Rocky and Jeremy never met before this shoot, but the respect is mutual and the chemistry effortless. This is what happens when worlds collide.
You've name-dropped Jeremy in a bunch of songs. When did you first notice his designs?
A$AP: Around 2008. We started doing the whole thing. He used to come out with Mickey Mouse shit, three tongues, African patterns and shit. I started getting exclusive shit from France. I liked it so much because the only way you can find it is if you go on eBay, and you’re paying double. There’s no way an average person is gonna have it.
I wake up saying I'm going to look the best I can look and do what the f*ck I want.
Jeremy: Can I ask you a question? What does A$AP stand for?
A: It stands for “Always Strive and Prosper.” Which is cool, because it’s a positive thing. It’s constructive. People forget how important the youth is sometimes. They determine the future, you know? We respect our elders, so it’s an honor for us to have recognition from you guys. Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Jeremy Scott—that means a lot to us. Just like Jay-Z, Nas, and 2Pac—you guys mean that to us. Seriously.
J: Thank you, thank you.
A: This is more than just a rapper and a designer getting together. This is bringing the cultures together and clashing them.
A$AP, you’ve called yourself the flyest motherfucker on earth.
A: I might have said that when I was high or something. [Laughs.]
What do you think this cover with Jeremy will do for your fashion cred?
A: Everything. Because this guy’s a legend. He’s our hero, and we love what he does.