Tariq “A$AP Nast” Devega has had quite a journey since his humble beginnings in Harlem, New York. Devega built up a rock solid foundation in his home city before being approached by A$AP Yams, A$AP Illz and A$AP Bari to form A$AP Mob, who instantly recognised Nast as an individual sharing their vision. When the U.S. rap world moved to adapt to the low-slung, Southern style emanating out of Atlanta, Florida and the like, Nast cut a different path, developing a flow that could not be more New York.
In fact, separating himself from the crowd has been a consistent theme in Nast’s career. His fast-paced, verbose style peppered with complex rhyming scheme flies in the face of what has become known as “mumble rap”. Similarly, though pretty much every rapper alive has ties with some fashion brand or another, Nast’s tastes are his own. He’s been one of the main cultural figureheads who have catalysed the resurgence of the Converse One Star in recent years, where he co-signed the silhouette out of genuine passion rather than opportunism.
The clothes he wears and the designers he champions all contain an edge of counter-culture edge about them, making him the perfect fit for Converse’s One Star campaign. Whether it’s overtly anti-mainstream, revisiting overlooked heritage styles or just simply not something most people are paying attention to, Nast is always purveying the next cultural touchstone and has no interest in playing catch up to anyone else.
Though the whole of the A$AP Mob’s style is well-documented and watched closely by fans and bloggers alike, it’s Nast who has always been shining the light on the next big thing to pop off, before it actually does. As anyone who follows him on Instagram can attest, Nast is ahead of the curve when it comes to his aesthetic.
Nast would manifest his passion and nous for style into something tangible with his The Somewhere in The Mid Century x A$AP Nast collection, which fused his natural stylistic flair for fashion and design. Nast integrated thick, yellow corduroy ribbing onto the One Star alongside a striking red star for the first time after taking inspiration from ‘50s and ‘60s furniture and his obsession with the material. The results speak for themselves, as Nast sold out his debut shoe rapidly, making the project a runaway success.
Musically speaking, Nast’s never fails to stand-out. It’s not just his nimble and unique flow, either, even just the sound of his voice is so unique he consistently steals the limelight in collaborations. In fact, pretty much everything he contributed to A$AP Mob’s Lords Never Worry and Cozy Tapes Volumes I and II were critically revered. He’s solidified his reputation for being The Coziest, whether he’s in the pocket over a beat or flexing the cleanest fits out
One of his most notable collaborations would have to be “Ladies Hit Squad”, which saw him link up with grime’s chief ambassador Skepta and one half of Newham Generals, D Double E. A reference to Wiley and DJ Target’s UKG crew in the late ‘90s (pre-Pay As U Go, even), “Ladies Hit Squad” took all three artists out of their comfort zones. While they all thrived, it was Nast’s unshakably infectious hook that the track what it is today. Of course Nast can rap like hell, but not enough people are talking about his ability to write a hook.
Alongside Rocky and the rest of the Mob, A$AP Nast was one of the first major U.S. artists to co-sign grime and throw his full weight behind the UK sound. Being one of the first notable U.S. artists to truly highlight the emerging British scene illustrates how Nast is always one step ahead of his peers, and continues to set the bar in both style and soundscape.
It’s impossible to predict what Nast will do next, which is why he’s such an enigmatic and revered figure in the scene. One thing is for sure, through his unique style identity and proven track record as an artist, A$AP Nast is the perfect frontman for the Converse Rated One Star campaign—a shoe which shares precisely the same values which has seen Nast flip the worlds of both music and fashion on their respective heads.
A$AP Nast fronts the new Converse One Star which is now available from converse.com.