The Fergenstein is rising! Constructed in a battered Harlem lab, A$AP Ferg has announced himself as the next major rap talent to come out of the mob that bred A$AP Rocky. After show stealing verses on some of Rocky’s most popular tracks, Ferg has been putting in work carving out a solo career with a stack of tracks and film clips that can be hilarious one second and straight-up terrifying the next. We spoke to Ferg when he was in town for Rocky’s concert, asking him about his new ‘Trap Lord’ album, sneakers and his plans for the fashion game.
Hey Ferg how’s Sydney?
I love it man. We just running around doing shopping. We just came from the Ksubi store. Got some good threads, they showed love. I’m not playing in Melbourne, I have to fly out to LA for the BET Awards. I love Australia, I would literally get a house out here.
All the females is fine, first of all. It’s a diverse culture too, it’s like a big melting pot. We got die hard ASAP fans here, Trap Lord fans. For me to come out here and they know all of my music and got my merch on and shit like that is crazy to see.
Yeah, the world is a pretty small place these days. Is Trap Lord completely done? Is it still coming out August 20?
Definitely. We’re still clearing a few songs, and we added two new songs but it will be out on time.
Does Fergenstein make an appearance on Trap Lord?
The Fergenstein from kissin’ pink!
Oh yeah, of course the Fergenstein is on there – the jiggy Fergenstein! Yeah he’ll be on there bruh bruh. (Sings) I’m on my Fergenstein.
Comfy. I love that sing songy stuff. Is your new tape gonna be as thugged out as the singles we've seen so far?
Well it’s a mixture of everything, it’s like an open book to my life, a diary. A blog for music. It’s just like daily things from when I was in the hood to travelling the world now – you get a mixture of everything.
Werd berd. Feeding on both the gristle and gravy from the meat pie of life, keep it true. So what’s changed for you now people know who you are?
My horizons – I have more span sonically. I’m meeting all types of producers who play music and play different genres of music. I’m more into making something from scratch now, doing something more experimental than just regular rap. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just meeting all these new people and it’s inspiring me.
For sure. ‘No new friends’ can be a flawed philosophy, there’s a lot of strangers out there who can make us better. Real talk for the kids. Are you guys into sneakers much?
We’re not really big sneakerheads. Rocky really fucks with the sneakers, he gets crazy with them but I keep it simple. I just bought these Patrick Ewing sneakers that have got the Jamaican flag on the back. I wear ‘em like everyday because I love them. Besides that I just do Air Force 1s, the Uptowns. I’m more into the fashion, the clothes, I keep it basic with the shoes.
Sometimes when you’ve got so much crazy stuff up top, you’ve gotta keep it simple down below.
However, what the hell are those sneakers on the front of the Work cover and why'd you wear them? They’re crazy.
Those are Rick Owens. We come from art and fashion culture. I was a designer before I was a rapper, a lot of people don’t know that. I designed men’s belts and T-shirts and jackets. The belts were like a three-layer leather belt that I would design and do from scratch. I had a lot of famous clients and stuff like that, that’s how I made a living before rapping.
Comfy, you went to art school, right?
Yeah I did Art and Design, my major was fine arts and fashion. I started on the belts out of school.
Do you still make belts?
I don’t have time anymore, but later on I would like to hook up with a fashion house and do a small internship. I need to get my foot back in the door with the whole branding aspect.
Get a colab going – they’re all the rage. People are colabbing with shoe laces and spice mixes, it can’t be hard to hook up.
Hell yeah colabs! I’m not really fucking with every brand right now ‘cos a lot of shit is getting corny ‘cos it’s so over saturated. Everybody is trying to be different wearing this different shit, but because everybody’s doing it it’s actually the same. So I’ve been coming up with my own ideas and custom pieces that I would like to wear myself that I use for performances and videos. You should be expecting some colabs and stuff soon.
I look forward to it. When did the Mob first start fucking with the chopped and screwed style pitch shifting and why?
Chopped and screwed comes from Houston originally and we just adapted the style because we were into the culture. We were inspired by Big Moe and DJ Screw. We listened to their music all slowed down, with the pitch chopped up. We wanted to do some music that way. We didn’t take the whole style, we just kind of adapted it, and we drizzled it amongst the songs instead of the whole song.
What inspires the kinda scary militant vibe of your clips, fashion and marketing?
We come from somewhere dark, that’s what we’re about. We were coming through with the ghetto goth vibes and the whole militant spirit. So it was only natural for me to express myself that way in the videos.
Where did you get the guns from for the Persian Wine video? You can't get those at Walmart!
Haha. Yeah you definitely can’t get those from Walmart. I got a little connect. They’re actually real guns. At the prop shop they get real guns and take all the mechanics out of them – so no Bruce Lee accidents.
Safety first. I’ve heard a lot of interpretations and maybe it keeps changing, but what does ASAP stand for right now?
Mine is, ‘Always Strive and prosper’. That’s always been mine, because we’re always striving and prospering. We really started from the bottom, now we here.
A$AP Ferg's debut mixtape 'Trap Lord' comes out August 20. Headline pic via The Source