Any teenager or rap enthusiast growing up in the early 2010s remembers the moment they saw the cover for Live. Love. ASAP. You might have first peeped it while your homie was playing “Peso” on their iPhone 4. Or maybe you stumbled on it when someone sent you a DatPiff link through BlackBerry Messenger, urging you to download the tape immediately. Some of us came across it when our classmates came to school wearing a bootleg Gildan T-shirt with the mixtape’s cover on it. Or you saw a giant poster of Pretty Flacko blowing smoke out his mouth on the wall of your friend’s college dorm room. Whether you came across it on your Tumblr feed or had it as the screensaver of your laptop, the cover art for ASAP Rocky’s debut mixtape felt ubiquitous and was nothing short of iconic. Surprisingly, that iconic photo of ASAP Rocky wasn’t shot by a member of the ASAP Mob or by a professional photographer hired by a record label. It was shot by Brock Fetch, an untrained film photographer who was personally flown out by the Mob to shoot the cover and document the last recording sessions for ASAP Rocky’s groundbreaking debut, which is finally dropping on streaming services today to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Rocky will be performing the entire tape live as the headliner at ComplexCon, which hits Long Beach on November 6 and 7.
“It wasn’t just: ‘Fly out, here’s a photo studio, and let’s get this cover shot’ type of thing. It was very special,” remembers Fetch, who developed a close personal relationship with Rocky and ASAP Yams long before the cover shoot. “These kids were all staying in a huge unfurnished apartment where there were just two couches. People were sleeping on foldouts and blow-up mattresses but everybody was there. There were people playing Xbox in one corner and then people rapping in another corner with a producer. It was the beginning of this whole thing. I didn’t come in with a specific cover shot in mind nor was I just shooting photos until I nailed it. I was just a fly on the wall, as usual.”
Although Fetch’s most widely recognized works are the mixtape covers he photographed like Live. Love. ASAP or The Flatbush Zombies’ BetterOffDead, his work documenting the lives of some of our favorite artists runs deep. Aside from capturing the ASAP Mob, he has also taken candid shots of rappers such as Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Mac Miller, Vince Staples, Tyler, The Creator, and more. And his YouTube channel is a goldmine with amazing footage of live performances in New York during the early 2010s, including Frank Ocean’s first performance in New York City and ASAP Mob shutting down Santos Party House before the fame.
We spoke to Fetch about the making of the Live. Love. ASAP cover, how he started photographing some of the biggest artists this past decade, his experience meeting the ASAP Mob before the fame, and learned how he took some of his most iconic photos. Read the full interview below and check out some rare photos Fetch took from the final days of recording Live. Love. ASAP.