The Harlem artist behind “Work” and Trap Lord talks about being fearless in fashion and on a BMX bike.

This feature appears in Complex's June/July 2013 issue.

I used to be a daredevil on BMX bikes. I could wheelie from 143rd [Street] to 125th going downhill, with one hand, and put my foot over the handlebars. My specialty was the six o’clock wheelie, where the bike went straight up and my back damn near touched the ground. I wasn’t scared. People who are scared don’t live life. They look up to people who are doing what they want to do. I’m relevant because I fill a void for people who aren’t doing what they want to do in life.

I always shout out my dad. My artistic roots come from him. He had his own T-shirt company and taught me the trade. He knew a lot of the people I run into today, like Puffy. He was in a crew called Same Gang that ran Harlem, like A$AP does now. He died of kidney failure, from breathing in all that plastisol paint. I could be like, “How am I ever going to fill my pop’s shoes?” But in my eyes, I’m becoming better than him, accomplishing things he didn’t get a chance to. He would want that.


When Rocky wore the Ann Demeulemeester shirt on BET, people called it a dress...People who call us gay just aren’t open-minded.


When people left or got booted out of A$AP Mob, it was because they didn’t see the vision and believe. They weren’t for the team. When Rocky got that $3 million deal, it combed out the bullshit and left the real niggas. Those of us who stayed are prospering. If I was dumb, I could’ve left, like, “I need to go and get my $3 million.” It’s a chain effect. Rocky goes first, whoever goes second is stepping up to the plate, and so on. You’ve got to play your position.

A$AP is comfortable being black sheep. We were always weirdos. We wanted to be unique. People didn’t accept us in Harlem. They were scared to stand next to Jeremy Scott. Why? Because he’s gay? He’s one of the best designers of our generation. When Rocky wore the Ann Demeulemeester shirt on BET, people called it a dress. It’s some high fashion shit, a $30,000 long-sleeve shirt. We’re on that different type of fly. People who call us gay just aren’t open-minded. "

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