A$AP Rocky

Rakim Mayers (born October 3, 1988), better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and actor. He is a member of the hip hop group A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.

Rocky released his debut mixtape Live. Love. A$AP, in 2011 to critical acclaim. The success of his mixtape led to a record deal with Polo Grounds Music, RCA Records, and Sony Music Entertainment. He subsequently recorded his 2013 debut album Long. Live. A$AP, which was also well received by critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In 2015, Rocky released his second studio album titled At. Long. Last. A$AP. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making it Rocky's second consecutive album to debut at number one and has received positive reviews from music critics.

Rocky has also directed music videos for himself, Danny Brown, SpaceGhostPurrp and other A$AP Mob members. He is also a noted record producer, producing under the pseudonym Lord Flacko.

Early life

Rakim Mayers was born on October 3, 1988, in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. His father was from Barbados, and his mother is African American. He has an older sister, Erika B. Mayers. Mayers' first name was taken from the hip hop artist Rakim, one half of the Eric B. & Rakim duo. His cousin is fellow ASAP Mob member ASAP Nast.

Mayers started rapping at the age of 9, when he moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He learned how to rap from his older brother, who also wore the French braids hairdo that Mayers later adopted. When Mayers was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs; he died in 2012. When Mayers was 13, his brother was killed in Harlem. The death inspired Rocky to take rapping more seriously. Mayers grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats. He was also influenced by Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Run DMC, Wu-Tang Clan, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

A$AP Rocky sold drugs while moving around homeless shelters with his mother and sister. At the age of 15, he was selling crack in the Bronx. After living for a period in a shelter with his mother in New York City, he moved to midtown Manhattan. In 2004, Mayers served two weeks in Rikers Island for drug dealing, where he shared a cell with future rapper Casanova.

Career

2007–11: Career beginnings and Live. Love. A$AP

In 2007, A$AP Rocky joined the A$AP Mob crew, a Harlem-based collective of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers, and bikers who shared similar interests in music, fashion, style, and art. It had been formed by A$AP Yams, A$AP Bari and A$AP Illz. In July 2011, Rocky released his single "Purple Swag" which quickly became a street anthem in New York City.

In August 2011, Rocky's debut single "Peso", was leaked online and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. After he released a music video for his song "Purple Swag", he received attention from several record labels. In October, he released the mixtape Live. Love. A$AP to critical acclaim and signed a two-year, $3 million record deal with RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. Upon his record deal, Rocky started a label, A$AP Worldwide, with A$AP Yams. On December 5, he was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 poll.

2012–14: Touring and Long. Live. A$AP

In February 2012, Rocky joined Kendrick Lamar as the opening act for Drake's Club Paradise Tour. In June, SpaceGhostPurrp, founder of Miami-based collective Raider Klan and Rocky's past collaborator, accused A$AP Twelvyy of jumping Raider Klan's Matt Stoops and subsequently disassociated himself from A$AP Mob and Rocky in a YouTube video. He and Raider Klan also accused ASAP Mob of copying their style, and Rocky of using lyrics from SpaceGhostPurrp's song "My Enemy" on "Goldie". Rocky responded in a July interview for MTV, saying that SpaceGhostPurrp is "try[ing] to build hype" and told him to "stick to makin' beats".

In July 2012, Rocky performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival. He was scheduled to make his network television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 20, but he was then arrested the night before, after an alleged involvement in a brawl, with 21-year-old artist iRome. The scuffle took place in downtown Manhattan and the performance was canceled. After it was rescheduled for August 21, Rocky performed "Goldie" on the show. On September 6, he also performed a guest rap on Rihanna's "Cockiness (Love It)" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

Rocky recorded his debut studio album Long. Live. A$AP, along with several producers, such as Clams Casino, Hit-Boy, Friendzone, A$AP Ty Beats, Soufein3000 and Joey Fat Beats. "Goldie" was released as the album's first single on April 27. On August 27, his crew A$AP Mob released the mixtape Lords Never Worry as a free download. During September through November, Rocky promoted the album with the 40-date national concert tour, the Long Live ASAP Tour, with opening acts ScHoolboy Q, Danny Brown, and A$AP Mob. Long. Live. A$AP was released on January 15, 2013, to mostly positive reviews from critics. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 139,000 copies in the United States. As of March 13, 2013, it has sold 284,000 copies. On March 16, 2015, Long. Live. A$AP was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for the shipment of 500,000 copies in the United States.

On April 12, 2013, in an interview at Wild 94.9 radio station, Rocky revealed that he was working on an instrumental album, which he plans on releasing without notice. He even discussed his favorite music videos and talked about his desire to collaborate with veteran rapper André 3000. On June 21, Rocky told MTV News that he had completed his debut instrumental album, which mostly consists of ambient oriented instrumental tracks, titled Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) and was originally set to be released during the summer for free download. However, that album was delayed with no other release date announced. Rocky previewed two snippets that might make the Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) compilation, titled "Riot Rave" and "Unicorn".

2015–17: At. Long. Last. A$AP

On March 16, 2014, Rocky has announced that he was working on his second studio album, entitled A.L.L.A. (an acronym for At. Long. Last. A$AP) which is a follow-up to his debut album, Long. Live. A$AP. Upon the wake of a delay of the ASAP Mob album, L.O.R.D., Rocky subsequently collaborated with cohorts A$AP Ferg, Nast and Twelvyy on the album's third single, "Hella Hoes", which was released on June 6, 2014. Nonetheless, A$AP Mob leader A$AP Yams announced on his Tumblr account that the album had been shelved.

On October 3, 2014, the day of his twenty-sixth birthday, Rocky launched a short-lived music giveaway called Flacko Jodye Season, which first premiered with "Multiply", which featured additional vocals from Juicy J; later released on iTunes one week after its premiere.

On New Year's Day to 2015, Rocky released his second album's lead single, "Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)", a sequel to "Pretty Flacko". Then, on January 18, seventeen days after the single's release, Rocky's mentor and partner, Steven "A$AP Yams" Rodriguez, died at the age of 26. However, some reports later stated that Yams' cause was ruled acute mixed drug intoxication while Rocky and several A$AP Mob members and affiliates said that the late leader of the collective died due to his sleep apnea, which caused asphyxiation and pulmonary aspiration. Weeks after Yams' death, Rocky revealed that At. Long. Last. A$AP was executive-produced by rapper Juicy J, producer Danger Mouse, Rocky and Yams themselves.

In 2014, Rocky appeared in a cameo role in the 2015 indie comedy-drama, Dope. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2015. It opened in all movie theaters on June 12. There at the event, Rocky explained his expressions and grief over the death of his own friend and partner; performed "Multiply" on-stage as a dedication to his loving memory, minutes before running backstage to calm down.

On April 8, 2015, the rapper released a song, titled "M'$", debuted during an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy, and was released on the iTunes Store two days later, however, it was announced that the song was not an official single from the album. The album, however, did include a remixed version of the track that replaced Rocky's second verse with a guest verse from Lil Wayne. On May 9, Rocky unveiled the album's cover art on his official Instagram page, with the caption "AT LONG LAST...." On the same day, he then released the album's alternative artwork and released the album's second single, titled "Everyday" featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson (the latter of which also produced the track alongside Emile Haynie). Rocky also announced that the release date for A.L.L.A. was updated to June 2, 2015; however, on May 25, 2015, around 6:00 PM EDT, the album leaked online, approximately one week before its expected release. Subsequently, Rocky tweeted to announce that the album will be released at midnight (May 26), changing the date a week early.

Upon its release, At. Long. Last. A$AP received generally positive to mixed reviews from music critics. Overall, the album was supported by the release of three singles: "Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)", "Everyday" and "L$D". At. Long. Last. A$AP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 116,000 copies in the United States. In conclusion to this, it also gave Rocky his second consecutive number one album on the charts to date. In Canada, the album debuted at number one, with 11,000 copies sold. The album has spent two more weeks beyond the top ten of the Billboard 200. As of July 2015, the album has sold 215,000 copies in the United States. It has sold 60,662 copies in the United Kingdom, as of June 2015. However, despite being his second consecutive number-one album, At. Long. Last. ASAP began to decline in album-equivalent sales, becoming Rocky's lowest-selling album in his career.

On June 11, 2015, Rocky was featured on The Tonight Show, where he performed the song "L$D" with The Roots. In June, it was confirmed that he was featured on the song "Good for You" performed by American actress and singer Selena Gomez. In June 2015, he appeared on the "Carpool Karaoke" segment of The Late Late Show, riding with Rod Stewart and host James Corden.

Rocky is featured on "Blended Family (What You Do for Love)", a track written with Alicia Keys for her sixth studio album Here in 2016. He is also featured on two tracks in Lust For Life, the 2017 album by Lana Del Rey. The tracks are called "Summer Bummer", which also features Playboi Carti, and "Groupie Love". He also featured in "Pick It Up" by Famous Dex, released in October 2017.

2018–present: Testing and WANGSAP

On January 23, 2018, ASAP Rocky released "☆☆☆☆☆ 5IVE $TAR$" on SoundCloud, produced by Metro Boomin, Frans Mernick, Jordan Blackmon and Daniel Lynas and featuring uncredited vocals by DRAM. Over the following two days he shared "Above", produced by Mernick and "Money Bags Freestyle (Dean Blunt Meditation)", produced by Blunt and featuring uncredited vocals by Lil Yachty. The songs were captioned "TESTING COMING SOON" and "THIS IS JUST A TEST", leading to speculation that they were in promotion of an upcoming studio album entitled Testing. On February 16, Rocky collaborated with Gucci Mane and 21 Savage for "Cocky", in promotion of the film Uncle Drew. He released the single "Bad Company" on March 27. It features rapper BlocBoy JB, as well as further allusions to Testing in its marketing. On April 5, he released a second single: "ASAP Forever". The song samples record producer Moby's 2000 single "Porcelain", crediting him as a featured artist. It was premiered on The Tonight Show alongside new track "Distorted Records", and a music video was released the following day. A day later he was featured on the song "One Track Mind", from rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars' fifth studio album America.

On May 20, 2018, Rocky announced on his Instagram page that his album Testing was finished, alongside revealing the cover art.

On July 23, 2018, Rocky and Tyler, The Creator announced a collaborative project, WANGSAP, by releasing a music video of a remix of Monika's Knock Knock named "Potato Salad" on AWGE's "AWGE DVD (Vol. 3)".

Business ventures

In October 2011, Rocky signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment worth of $3 million ($1.7 million of which was earmarked for his solo work; $1.3 million earmarked to fund his company). Rocky said that he sought a "bigger platform" for him and his collective with the deal. His first studio album planned to be under the deal, but it allowed him to continue releasing mixtapes through Sony/RED. Fellow rapper and A$AP Mob member A$AP Ferg, also signed a joint venture deal with RCA-distributed Polo Grounds Music, who released his single "Work", for retail on iTunes, and later announced an official remix featuring Rocky, French Montana, ScHoolboy Q and Trinidad James.

In 2013, he released his A$AP merchandise brand, and went to collaborate with high-profile fashion designer and close friend Raf Simons. On October 2, 2014, A$AP Rocky announced he had officially signed a contract for worldwide representation with William Morris Endeavor.

In February 2016, Guess released a collaboration with Rocky called GUE$$, which was inspired by Rocky's admiration for the brand's vintage '90s clothing that he wore while growing up.

Personal life

In 2011, Rocky began dating Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, whom he met through Chase N. Cashe. Azalea confirmed that they were dating in an interview with Vibe Magazine released on January 15, 2012. It was around this time that she revealed she had tattooed the title of Rocky's breakout mixtape "Live.Love.A$AP" on her fingers. She also claimed she was not the only one with tattoos dedicated to the relationship. Later, in July 2012, Rocky said they were no longer dating. In March 2013, Azalea revealed she had crossed out the "A$AP" part of the tattoo.

Mayers is a pescetarian.

Legal incidents

On August 31, 2013, Mayers allegedly slapped a woman during the Budweiser Made in America Festival. He was charged "with misdemeanor simple assault, a class two misdemeanor". The case was dismissed after a witness failed to appear to court. The woman later filed a lawsuit in July 2014, stating that she still suffered certain conditions following the alleged assault. Mayers stated that he never touched the woman, and that she "should have known that there could be trouble in place with so many people". The lawsuit was settled between the two in April 2015.

Discography

  • Long. Live. ASAP (2013)
  • At. Long. Last. ASAP (2015)
  • Testing (2018)

 


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