Real Name: Jabari Shelton
From: "Born and raised in Harlem. I lived on 116th. Then I moved uptown. Then I moved downtown to where the white people live at, but a nigga still lives in the hood right now. I'm still in the hood everyday."
Known For: Starting A$AP, getting the crew into fashion.
How He Met A$AP Rocky: "I grew up with him damn-near half of my life. Rocky's way older than me. He went to my little school so I didn't even know Rocky around that time. This was around probably sixth grade. [Then in high school] he was a senior and I was a freshman. By the time I really got to know everybody, he already was leaving."
Role In A$AP: "I started A$AP. The homie Yams has been my homeboy since I was younger. We used to go downtown on the 2 train and go shopping and shit. It was just cool from there, shopping and chilling with each other, finding different clothing and streetwear stores together. This was like, 2004 or 2005. This was when BAPE and all of that shit first started popping. Me and Yams have known each other for damn-near 11 years. We were down with another crew with Teyana Taylor. Me, Yams, Teyana Taylor and A$AP Illz was in a grew together. Me, A$AP Yams and A$AP Illz started A$AP. ASAP Illz is Illijah. He's the A$AP model. From there, we were down with a crew called Team Nerd. Same shit, but then me, Illz and Yams stopped fucking with that shit. We parted from that whole shit, because it was getting corny. So we decided to come up with a crew. At first, it was just us chilling, doing our own thing. Then, we just started linking up with different niggas. Then, we just formed A$AP.
One day, we were all in Wendy's in SoHo. I was like, 'Yo, we're always trying to come up with different names and shit. We should just be called PIF Unit.' The shit was like, Paid In Full, something. So one day, Yams was like, 'Fuck that. We're called A$AP.' I was like, 'What the fuck that mean?' He was like, 'Always Strive And Prosper.' I was like, 'You know what, Yams? That shit is too hard.' From there, we just ran with that bitch. Yams is a smart music genius. Yams is the reason why Rocky is at where he's at right now. If it wasn't for Yams, Rocky wouldn't never be anywhere in the industry. What Yams did was he branded his Tumblr and made people fuck with Rocky off the simple point that they didn't know Yams knew Rocky. Nobody knew who this guy was with this good-ass Tumblr, hitting young niggas with old knowledge. That's why Yams is the reason we're going to make it so far. When I first met him, he was working for Dipset. He was working for Duke Da God and Max B. That nigga's always been into this music shit. So he knows half of the story to this rap game. That nigga just sits at the computer. There were times when I didn't even see that nigga. You wouldn't see that nigga for half of a whole year in the streets, until someone points out that Yams has been in the house just brainstorming. So wherever he's at right now, he's been working for that. He's been plotting on this for a long time."
Before The Fame: "I was the same skinny jean–wearing nigga that still skateboards in the hood. I was one of those niggas just on my downtown white-boy shit, but still in the hood. Still chilling with them niggas who was murdering niggas. Still chilling with the gangsters. Still chilling with the homies, the Bloods, all of them niggas. I was just my own self. I wasn't the nigga to have the True Religion outfit."
Since The Fame: "The craziest thing was for Hov to tell us that he fucks with Rocky and not to fuck with Cristal anymore, even though we still do. It was an honor for him to be like, 'I listen to y'all music.' It shocked the shit out of me. For a nigga's mixtape to just come out, and you've got Hov taking time out his day. He's on the Watch The Throne and this nigga's listening to Rocky. That's when I knew shit was real, because that's Hov. After Hov, who's not going to listen? Other than that, the bitches have been crazy.
On Fashion: "I'm more of a vintage shopper. I like coming up on very rare pieces. My girl just recently bought me a pair of Balmains and shit, some biker joints, damn-near two stacks. I'm the type of nigga where this fashion shit is my lifestyle. This isn't just some shit I do because another nigga is doing it. I don't wear these clothes just because Kanye West said something. I wear these clothes because I've been known about this. Raf Simons just did a hoodie and a T-shirt for us. I've been wearing Raf way before that. The shit's crazy, because all the shit that we're getting right now is deserved, because we've been on our shit. We've been wearing skinny shit. We didn't just do this because motherfuckers saw this shit on TV. We were actually doing this and then seeing niggas on TV copy off of us. The whole industry is nothing but a knock-off of SoHo and the motherfucking Lower East Side. When you see something funky and new and fresh with the clothing, just know that's me. That's all me. Like with the Nike jacket. Niggas made Destroyer jackets. Celebrities made destroyer jackets, and we were the only motherfuckers that got posted up on Hypebeast and all these other blogs."
What He's Learned: "I haven't learned anything yet. I haven't seen anything that I hadn't seen. I've seen some shady shit in the industry, but that comes with real life anyway. At the end of the day, this industry shit is not what it seems. It's just a whole bunch of wack niggas that ain't got no swag. They start seeing the young niggas, and they start getting afraid. We're fans of everybody, man. That's why I was mad at the whole Odd Future thing. These motherfuckers. We've been wearing Supreme way before y'all niggas was even thought of. So for y'all to ever say that niggas was copying y'all style, because niggas wore a fucking towel over our heads? Niggas, it's hot outside. What the fuck do you think we're doing? I just feel like the West Coast is copying our style. And they feel like we're copying their style, but it's nothing like that."
What's Next: "I just want people to know that I'm coming out with a clothing line. That's about it. I don't want to say the name or anything."
Final Words: "I just want people to know me as a nigga that's been doing this. Anything that you see in A$AP is our lifestyle. There's nothing fake about it. Anything we do, we do it because we've been doing it, not because we watch TV. Like a nigga like Soulja Boy. Whatever he sees somebody do, he wants to copy that. We're not those type of motherfuckers. We're trendsetters more than anything. I feel like nobody took the time out. We knew so many motherfuckers that knew Kanye, that knew Jay-Z, that knew Drake, and it's just like, motherfuckers look out for themselves. That's what I've noticed about this whole shit. These motherfuckers are looking out for themselves. With A$AP, there's none of that. We look out for each other. We just had to cut a member off because he was being selfish. There's no selfishness. No thinking about yourself. We've had to go through that with this whole A$AP shit. Ever since we got poppin', we've seen niggas become phony and fake, and we just cut niggas off day-by-day. Shout out to the homie A$AP Illz, A$AP Deem, A$AP Rick, A$AP AV, A$AP Josh, A$AP Rellie, A$AP K, who helps me out with the designs—and that's about it. Did you talk to A$AP Dom? We don't fuck with that nigga. That's alright though. That's just who we had to eliminate because he was on some selfish shit, but I ain't even going to get into that. Most people just see the rappers and shit, but this shit is a real family. People have got to look at us like Dipset, because it's a family. They were just a whole bunch of niggas that were friends, but they were brothers. That's how we are."