There are enough members of A$AP Mob, the rap clique led by kingmaker A$AP Rocky, that you might imagine there’s a little-used A$AP Rick or A$AP Bill, patiently waiting in the wings for his moment to shine. A$AP Mob is legion, but a few members have been able to distinguish themselves outside of Rocky’s halo. Among these is A$AP Ferg, a similarly fashion-interested rap weirdo blessed with a free associative flow and an art school background who’s set to release his debut mixtape, Trap Lord, in July. We caught up with Ferg as he was riding a tour bus toward the group’s next tour destination; he was sleepy and the phone connection was legitimately terrible, which is why I’ve condensed all of the moments where I had to repeat the question over and over. If he can deal with that silliness, he can deal with anything.
The first thing I noticed about you is that your Wikipedia entry is folded into Rocky’s
I don’t have a Wikipedia page. It’s a shame.
So what’s your origin story?
I grew up in Harlem, New York. Do I still live in Harlem? No, I don’t live anywhere there. I’m constantly on the road; I have no place to live.
What’s your routine when you’re back in town?
Well, when I’m in New York I gotta go to Williamsburg. I like going to the thrift shops over there, like Beacon’s Closet and all those places. I like to go to Dumbo. I like to go to Soho. Opening Ceremony, just like a bunch of different shops over there, Oak NYC. You know, just real chill out places, chill out spots.
Did you grow up being friends with Rocky and the other guys in A$AP?
Yeah, well, I met Rocky at about age 13 or 14 in Harlem, because he was there with a crew called Million Dollar Babies, and I was going with another crew. We got into fashion and rap music and shopping in Soho and going to all the underground parties, and we kind of connected in that way.
What would you call your role in A$AP?
My role in A$AP is basically an innovator. Yeah, just to be an innovator, and be a muse that you can look at for inspiration.
Did you know from the beginning that you were going to start recording your own material?
Well, at that time I just knew I wanted to get out there and I wanted my voice to be heard. It wasn’t really the fact and the matter of who I’ll go after. As long as the music was right and it was time for me to be out there, that’s what I had to do. I was working, so I knew that I would be lucky because I had the most work.
You’re one of the musicians who have a personal Tumblr. Do you know how many followers you have?
Nope, I don’t.
Have you ever been tempted to look, or do you just go through life being comfortable not knowing?
I go to Tumblr for inspiration and just to see what the world is up to. That’s what I go on Tumblr for, and to post here and there.
I read somewhere else that you’re a pescatarian. When did that start?
Yeah, because of the way chickens are just mass produced; it’s just nasty. I don’t like the idea of it, and I don’t like the fact how they treat the meat now with hormones and things that they injected into these chickens and animals to make them big. It’s just not cool.
So I take it you don’t eat factory farmed fish?
I eat factory farmed fish, like wild fish. Even though they do have fish farms, I eat wild fish but I don’t really fuck with the fish you go out and buy in the supermarket, that’s like pre-packaged and shit like that.
I saw another interview where you talked about how one of A$AP’s guiding philosophies is that you’re not afraid to be weirdoes. When you’re approaching your own music, how does that philosophy influence the way you approach your own music?
I want to get one thing straight: it’s not that we’re weirdoes—that’s what we were maybe at first, because we were so different. Now it’s like everybody’s different, so nobody’s weird, you know what I’m saying? We’re not weird. We’re just innovative and creative. We’re true artists. So that’s what I meant by weird. Weird is actually like the new cool, like if you’re weird and different you’re like an athlete now, you can wear different things and get into fashion. We’re like the new athletes, the new jock, so we’re not weird. Just artistic.
Is A$AP Mob still accepting applicants for members? How does anyone even become part of the group?
You have to be chosen.
What are the chosen methods? I’m curious.
I don’t know. We’re just like, “come.” That’s it.
Right on. I understand that you have an official Rap Genius account. Can you think of the wrongest interpretation of one of your lyrics that you’ve ever seen?
Oh so many. Because when I rap, I rap with my whole style. So when people hear my words, sometimes they get my words twisted or think I’m saying something totally different. So that’s why a lot of the time I like chopped n’ screwed, because it’s so slow and you can actually hear what I’m saying. Because I rap fast a lot, people really are just hearing the flow and they’re just putting the words to it and all the while I’m actually really saying something. So with chopped n’ screwed Mob music you can really hear what I’m saying. There are so many songs that are misinterpreted.
Do you remember the last dream you had?
The last dream I had? Well the last dream I had, I was making love with a purple haired goddess. She was just hella beautiful, she had a fat ass, and her skin was really nice and tan.
That’s a hell of a dream.
I didn’t even want to wake up.
If you were giving our readers a reason to pay attention to you in the next year, what would you say?
I will be in everybody’s iPod, everybody’s computer, everybody’s iTunes. I will be the biggest sensation in the world, I promise you that. One thing, though. The whole fish thing. Make sure you put that I don’t fuck with the farmed, mass produced fish. That’s like my thing.
Photography by Kevin Amato.