A lot of fans at the meet and greet said you inspire them. How does that make you feel?
I love that. It makes me feel better, because I could go on WorldStarHipHop and click the latest video of me and.... [Rocky goes on WorldStar, clicks on one of his videos, and reads the comments.] Look at all this hate. Let’s just scroll down. This shit shows me that motherfuckers are aware of what I’m doing, and they have an opinion. Everybody wants their opinion to be voiced. They feel entitled, which you should as a human being. If you have a mouth and an opinion, it should be voiced. But when it comes to hip-hop music, it's the most scrutinized genre there is.
Let’s be real. Does Katy Perry have issues about being tough, being real, or being straight, or being gay? It’s all good. With us, it’s just different. It’s a miracle. Why is it so fucking hard to accept the fact that we’re heterosexual men who love fashion? We get along with gay people, we accept gay people. We get along with white people, we get along with Asian people. We love everybody. That’s just it. The truth is, all I care about is my craft. I could give a fuck about anybody’s opinion. I’m doing me and that’s it.
I hate the way Wayne dresses... Maybe it doesn’t work for you, but it works for him... Let that man be legendary.
I’m not sure if it’s the I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, but something is clearly resonating with the kids.
It’s working. I want kids to say, “Yo, I want to do what I want to do. I want to live free.” A$AP is a lifestyle. Be young. Smoke some weed. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. I’m not a role model. I’m an entertainer—but I’m a cultural figure.
You’re surrounded by older dudes, like your management. Where did you get your core values from?
I got it from my older brothers and my father. Not to be like a sucker, you know, but they showed me how to be a man. They taught me trill shit. My father was a drug dealer, my brother was a gang-banger, and my other brother was a working man, so think about it. All the essentials. [Laughs.] I sold drugs, and when I was young I thought I was a gang-banger, you know, a fucking businessman. My brother’s the one who taught me how to rap.
You’re also starting to get business deals outside of rap. How did the EA Sports deal come about?
EA Sports fucks with me hard. They wanted me to do placement for their video games and shit. The staff is full of women. They all came with me to the studio and chilled. Older women, bro. I’m like, “How the fuck do you relate to my music?” White, older women, bro! That’s incredible.
You’ve been grinding for years, but do you feel like you’re still getting started?
It’s just building from the ground right now. Before we know it, you’re going to be saying, “Wow, Rocky, you sold out this arena quicker than Michael Jackson did!” I hope! [Laughs.] If God is good. Maybe I’m jumping the gun.
It’s easy to see the kids are heavily influenced by your style.
Do you think any of hip-hop’s fashion greats are influencing more people than you?
Do you think you’re influencing people like Kanye?
Of course. That’s obvious. [Laughs.] We’re all in the same circle. He’s way richer than me, but of course he’s influenced by me. C’mon, bro. I made waxed denim cool in hip-hop. Fucking waxed denim and rips in jeans. Nobody else did that. I don’t give a fuck. I didn’t know what I was doing. These jeans are Balmain, and I wear them with a Supreme jacket. Of course I’m influencing.
How do you feel about the culture of hip-hop changing? Lil Wayne is skateboarding now. That’s dope. I put Wayne in Jay-Z and Kanye’s bracket, in terms of success. Wayne is still fun. Are we forgetting that Wayne made everybody switch their flow up and start using the E’s and R’s, and “I’m ir-regul-ar, seg-ular”? Like, c’mon, are we forgetting that Wayne changed hip-hop, too? Are we forgetting that he made all these motherfuckers want to have tattoos? Are we forgetting that? It wasn’t Wiz, it was Wayne. Wiz did it, too, but I’m just stating facts. This is a guy who fucking went from being the youngest underdog in his crew to saving his company, and saving his “Daddy.” I’m not a fucking Lil Wayne dickrider—I’m just speaking facts.
People can say what they want about him with the way he dresses. I hate the way he dresses. I’m keeping it 100 with you. It’s very tacky at times. But that’s what he chooses to do. Get off his dick! If that’s what he chooses to wear, OK. At least he’s not wearing it ’cause he saw some other lame motherfuckers wearing it. That’s when I don’t respect it. He’s doing him! Maybe it doesn’t work for you, but it works for him. So we need to get off his dick and let that man be legendary.
Is there a musician whose career you’re envious of?
Elvis was the first man to really introduce the world to swag. On TV, it was so crazy. His pelvic gyrations were a vulgar movement. He was banned from TV for doing that, looking like he was on alcohol. He had to apologize and make a public statement about it. It took balls to do that in the 1950s. Nobody was doing that.
Switching gears, the Rihanna ass grab at the MTV Awards was pretty awesome.
I didn’t mean for the ass grab to be the thing. I don’t fiend for fake publicity shit. I’m just a trill nigga. [Laughs.] Rihanna is what I want to be, as far as having a big core following. She’s very successful. She’s been doing it for years. Think about it. “Pon de Replay”.... So ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12.... She’s got seven years in this shit. Shout-outs to that young lady, and hopefully, with the grace of God, seven years from now, I can say the same.
It’s clear that you do things your own way, whether in your music or your fashion. Do you consider yourself a rebel?
Of course. I’m doing everything I want to do, the way I think it should be done. Let’s break it down. I’m from New York City. I look like I’m from California. I rap like I’m from 1993, ’94, or ’95. I dress like I’m from France. [Laughs.] And I fuck bitches like I’m Tupac. And I ain’t scared of shit, like I’m God. So, of course I’m a rebel. I do what the fuck I want. Everybody has rebellious ways, but I feel like A$AP stands for its own anarchy. We are rebels. We choose to make our own music, and it’s going to become popular. All of our shit sounds underground. It doesn’t sound like anything you hear.
Speaking of being a rebel, last night you basically told the process server to fuck off—
That goes back to the Purrp situation. Purrp hit a guy and beat him up, and we started fighting the sound people. Last night, when that guy tried to serve me the papers, I wanted to punch him, but we know what would have happened then. That was a funny moment. I can’t believe you were there for that. That’s hilarious. You should have taken a picture.
WATCH A$AP ROCKY'S EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW:
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Matthew Henson. (PROP STYLING) Alexis Anthony. FIRST IMAGE: Coat by Burberry Prorsum / Shirt by En Noir / Pants by En Noir / All jewelry A$AP Rocky's own. Breastplate stylist's own. SECOND IMAGE: Sweatshirt by Alexander McQueen / Shorts be En Noir / Pants by En Noir / Hat by Black Scale / Cape stylist's own. THIRD IMAGE: Jacket by Alexander Wang / T-Shirt by En Noir / Pants by En Noir / Hat by Black Scale / Sneakers by Nike.