We caught up with A$AP Ferg earlier this month to discuss his second studio album, Always Strive And Prosper, what it was like working with Skrillex and Missy Elliott, his style, and rumors behind the A$AP Mob Record. Get familiar with the New York rapper.
The buzz behind Always Strive And Prosper is crazy, how does that make you feel?
It feels good. It feels like my work paid off.
Did you always want to do music?
I’ve always done music as far as being a Hip Hop artist or celebrity. I always knew that I’d be doing something, I didn’t know it’d be music. I always knew I’d be doing something BIG, something I’d be known for, but I didn’t know it would be music.
With the mini-break you had, did you feel pressured having that gap between your releases?
Nah, I didn’t feel the pressure. I just felt like my fans are gonna be ready for a new project. But I didn’t feel pressured.
Being an artist, you’re always on display. Can you describe your personal style to us?
My personals style? It’s unorthodox. You will never know what to expect from me. I’m constantly evolving as an artist, you know, I’m growing every second, I’m always looking for new inspirations. I might be inspired by Basquiat one day, or by Picasso, or Litchenstein, or Gianni Versace, man, just all people. It could even be somebody I just seen in the streets, you know what I’m saying? I’m always being inspired, so you just never know what to expect from me because there’s a bunch of different things happening in my mind, magical things.
Did you have a creative goal or objective when you put this record together?
My objective was for my fans to learn more about me, so it was like an open book to my life; what I’ve been going through for the past few years, how I’ve always strived, and finally prospered.
You have some interesting guests on this record; how did the collabs with Skrillex and Missy Elliott come about?
Well Skrillex, I was at his house when I was in LA and we just messing with songs. Every time we see each other or we’re around each other we just call each other like, “Yo I’m in LA, come through,” and we were just working on music, and not specifically for the album, we just always work on music. I started freestyling, start talking about my neighborhood, and I felt like the song was perfect for my album. That’s where it all started, from Hungry Ham on my block. The whole Missy Elliott record happened because, Timbaland was like “I want to introduce you to Missy,” so I went by the studio, she fell in love with the record, and she jumped on there.
As far as all of the features, originally, I didn’t have any features on my album, but what I learned from Teddy Riley and Michael Jackson, is when Teddy Riley was working on Michael Jackson’s project, they did the whole album, and Michael Jackson said, “Hey I love this album a lot, now we just need to remix each song” – so by him remixing each song, that was the final product of the album. You know remixes are always better than the original song. So I had the same mind frame, like, “this album is sick, how can I take it to the next level, or the new level,” – I started taking some of my verses off and putting people on there, that’s how I can take it to the next level. That’s why you hearing Future on “New Level,” that’s why you hearing ScHoolBoy Q on “Let It Bang,” that’s why you hearing Missy Elliott on “Strive” – when Missy Elliott hopped on “Strive” the song was done already. You know, I played “Strive” for Madonna as well, I just felt that it would be crazy, Madonna and Missy Elliott on the same record.
I’m an entertainer, I just want to entertain the world by putting out Great Music.
You honestly do, we noticed that “New Level” has the same hit and bangin’ affect that “Work” does. Like, you can drop “New Level” at the club, and pause it, and the crowd will know all the words, just like you can drop “Work” – stop it – and everyone is still rapping the rest of the lyrics.
Yup. That was the point of THAT record, because if you noticed, I don’t have any new songs like that on my album. That was basically [the song] to bridge the gap between “Work” and “Shabba,” and the new stuff. I had to give them familiar territory, and at the same time, spoon feed them the topics I’m talking about on my album. I’m talking about Always Strive And Prosper, and the song is called “New Level” and I’m talking about how I’m always striving, and finally prospered on the new record because I’m on a new level.
Which artist and/or producer would you like to wok with that you haven’t had the chance to work with yet?
I wanna work with Quincy Jones.
Other than the “Level Up” Tour with Tory Lanez, what do you have planned for 2016?
I have an album tour that I’m doing where I’ll be performing all the songs on my album. I’m REALLY looking forward to that, because I felt like I haven’t really hit my fanbase in a while, since Trap Lord came out because I’ve been doing so much collaborative tours, and festivals. I didn’t forget about them [my fans], it’s just now I finally have a project to perform for them, a new project. Get ready.
Are we ever going to see an A$AP Mob record?
Never. Nah I’m just playin’ with you. We’re working on it right now. A lot of great songs on it, a lot of collaboratives, a lot of great friends that we collaborating with. It’s going to be a dope album. It’s called The Cozy Tape. It was Yam’s wishes before he passed away, he wrote down in his black book “Cozy Tape”, and included who he wanted every body to work with. We’re just making those wishes come to life.
Ay. I want to ask you a question, What three songs did you like off the album?
I love “Psycho,” “Let It Bang,” and “New Level” in that order, the way those just play after the other, I can’t get enough of that.
I appreciate that. “Psycho” is one of my favorites as well because it’s just so revealing. Sometimes I’m too truthful, but I feel like what artist is too truthful right now? I have to be that way because nobody is keeping it real.
If you haven’t yet, go cop Always Strive And Prosper here.