Although it’s been a minute since the world has heard from A$AP Rocky, it’s understandable why. The 26-year-old rapper, model and now actor has been busy. From recording A.L.L.A., the follow-up to his 2013 debut Long.Live.ASAP, which features guests FKA twigs, Lykke Li and long-time producer Clams Casino, to making his acting debut alongside Zoe Kravitz and Forest Whitaker, Rocky has been adding to his already impressive resume the past couple of years. He’s also recovering from the unfortunate death of mentor and friend A$AP Yams, who passed away due to a drug overdose in January of this year. During his performance at the SXSW Milk Music Lounge, hosted by Samsung, he was in much better spirits, going through notable tracks “Goldie,” “Pesos” and “Wild for the Night,” as well as rapping along to songs from the rest of the A$AP Mob.
After his set, Rocky took the time to speak with HYPETRAK about where he’s been, what he’s been up to, his acting debut and what would be his ideal role, and what he listens to when doing psychedelics.
During your performance tonight you mentioned psychedelics. What’s your playlist like when you do psychedelics? I listen to Animal Collective and Flying Lotus.
That’s very rare but I prefer to listen to Jefferson Airplane, obviously cliche s**t like the Beatles. You know that song [by Question Mark and the Mysterians] “96 Tears?” That’s one of my favorites. I love ’60s music.
Where have you been, man? You popped up with “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” and “Multiply,” but you’ve been under the radar musically.
Well, I just recorded this whole album in London. I secluded myself I – I was stressed but happy. I was stressed because I felt that people didn’t perceive our creation the way that now people are starting to stop talking s**t. It took us to put out s**t like “Multiply,” like say “Shut the f**k up,” you know what I’m saying? People try to test like we’re not the originators and we didn’t innovate a lot of this s**t. I pay respect all the time to motherf**kers. I’m just saying that I felt like it was time for me to give them something different, because I was fed up with hearing what everybody else was making. So I didn’t even want to be in the States. I cut my phone off, put my beeper on. It was a crazy experience. That’s why on “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” I’m like “Trappin’ through the speaker, peep the beeper ringer, uh / Turnin’ off phones, just to reach ‘em, gotta beep’em,” because I had beepers on while I was in the booth. I was just talking about my experiences that’s all.
I just feel people fabricate so much in life. For instance, all my brothers came down from New York to be out here, and while we’re chilling we got various people that know you from various times. Some may know you from 10, some may know you from 12, some may know you from 14. But point blank, they know you from a long time ago, and when you got everybody talking and telling stories you learn a lot about people. Because if I told you my own stories aside of what people already know about me growing up radical in shelters and s**t, if I told you my own stories you would think I’m fabricating, I’m lying. We don’t look like we sold drugs. That’s all we did together. We would help each other buy scales, help each other with connects. [Points to A$AP Illz] He bought a BMW when he was 19. I mean he crashed it two years later (laughs) but granted he had one. We’ve been us, so it’s not like this is some new s**t and I’m just like “Y’all think y’all know me, because obviously y’all don’t know me.” I got to show these motherf**kers Little Pretty Flacko Jodye stepped up in this piece.
Speaking of stepping up, acting, fashion…
Yeah, man. Number one movie at Sundance, in theaters June 12. I’m blessed, thank God. Fashion s**t, I stay jiggy. But this new s**t is just me expressing myself. I really don’t give a f**k no more. I don’t give a f**k about 95 percent, the other five percent of me cares. I care about my people and stuff like that, and I know if I let a lot of s**t just go, it’s f**king it up for everybody. So other than that I’d probably be way more reckless, but I’m not out here trying to be the most reckless or macho dude. I just really wanna be myself.
I want to get into that, your role in Dope.
I was helping Chanel Iman read her lines, and I came across my character and I felt like a connection and I auditioned. At first when I auditioned I did a video audition because I was recording my album, and I did it on my phone and we sent them two videos, and they were going crazy. But I just thought it was a celebrity thing like, “Oh, this independent movie, we’ve got a celebrity, let’s just say he’s good because he’s good.” Then it came to the point where they wanted me to actually come in and audition, and I killed that s**t. After that, they called me up and was like, “You’re Dom.” I was swaggin’.
What would be the ideal role for you?
Have you ever seen the movie with Mos Def called Something The Lord Made?
Check it out. It’s an old movie about the first African American surgeon. He didn’t have any education, he didn’t have any experience, but he was really good at it and was a protege of a white doctor who was worldrenowned. But I guess the doctor would get more credit for s**t they did together. So the doctor, because he was black, he wasn’t even allowed to go into the ceremony. And basically other doctors and committees starting hating on the two so much that they were like, “Well he doesn’t have education and he doesn’t have diplomas.” And once he was about to become his own independent doctor they pulled that bulls**t on him. So then he had to wait years to get his diploma to become a doctor. That’s how crazy it is and he didn’t even have a school education. Do you know how inspiring that is? But Mos Def f**king killed it. I would love to do that.
How does it feel to be back doing music?
It feels f**king amazing. I’m happy to be back but they don’t know I’m back, man.
You even said you haven’t even toured for the past two years. You need to be on some Super Saiyan Goku s**t with your return.
Like, I feel weird I go onstage, hair f**ked up still. I might’ve f**ked around and worn this yesterday, but still came up there looking very handsome. I’m looking at myself in the mirror right now.
I feel like you just need to make a motivational video where you tell people how to look in the mirror.
Yo (laughs) you know we’re all like that lowkey, but I’m probably the worst. I’m more verbal about it, I just admit it. I think I’m handsome.