EXCLUSIVE: A$AP Rocky Tells Us How a Picture of Baby Yams Made the Cover of 'Cozy Tapes Vol.1'
We interview Lord Flacko about his new albums, MTV, and fashion.
[gallery columns="3"]It’s been a long time coming, but as promised A$AP Mob has officially released their studio album Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. The album’s cover clearly pays tribute to their late member A$AP Yams, while the tracks live up to the name “Friends” by not only featuring members of the Mob, but also a slew of artists they co-sign. There’s no shortage of up-and-coming rappers on the album as Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Madeintyo and Playboi Carti all drop verses; while “Nasty’s World” serves as a refreshing track featuring Onyx, a group that helped pave the way for many of today’s hip-hop collectives – including A$AP Mob. Tyler, the Creator also has a noteworthy contribution on the final track of the album “Telephone Calls” with friend/tourmate A$AP Rocky.
Despite the Mob’s frontman A$AP Rocky being seemingly everywhere over the past year, he still manages to appease his fans by hopping on a list of the Cozy tracks. Few artists in hip-hop have been able to navigate different worlds with as much success as Rocky, who has managed to solidify spots in music, high fashion and film. Adding to the impressive list of accolades is his recent partnership with MTV, where he’s landed a major role as a creative for the network. All of these achievements are a testament to his star power and with no signs of letting up anytime soon, it’s clear that Flacko’s in the game for the long haul.
We caught up with A$AP Rocky at a private Cozy Tapes listening session held in Los Angeles to ask him about the new album, his creative work with MTV and his hectic lifestyle. Check out the full discussion with Rocky below as he almost slips up to reveal some major upcoming personal projects in the works.
How’s it going?
Just got off the plane from New York. I was shooting a movie called Monster, had to leave set early just to make it to this. This popped up today just for press.
Yeah I thought this was going to be a party (laughs).
Nah, this is just for press. I been partying too much man.
Congrats on the release of Cozy Tapes. How long have you guys been working on the album?
Years. Like conceptually – years, but as far as the actual work process of making the music, like 11 months.
So it’s been in the works for a while…
Nah because I got two albums (catches himself), oh shit… I can’t… I been working on a lot (laughs). Since then I did three movies. Well no one saw me in Pop Star, but I did three movies.
I actually saw Pop Star.
That’s ‘cause you got a sense of culture.
Yeah I thought you were good in it, Nas too.
I think 50 had the funny part too.
Oh yeah and RZA!
Yoooo RZA (laughs). He’s a G.
Nah because I got two albums (catches himself), oh shit… I can’t… I been working on a lot (laughs).
You guys got the Yams dedication for the album cover. Can you talk about first seeing that picture?
The first time I ever saw a Yams baby pic is after he passed away, but I just knew how iconic it was. And my A.L.L.A album, the vinyl version, the back was supposed to have a baby picture of Yams so we ended up taking that concept, because we missed that and we just added it to this. I figured that would be the best thing to do. I came up with that while I was high.
Everyone in the Mob got their own careers now; you guys are established in the industry. What does it mean to still be able to come together and make an album like this?
It’s just love man, I hope everybody cozy and we just wanna get love. We hope y’all niggas love this shit ‘cause niggas wanna sell records, niggas wanna be famous… we already did all that. We just here making music because we are the A$AP Mob and this is our first collective album. We never put out an album together, think about that?
How have you managed working on this album along with everything else you’ve been doing the past year?
I’m gonna tell you the truth. This year, I can honestly say was the most radical because I was in different environments. Just different crazy shit and it switches abruptly. For instance, I wake up at 6 a.m. to go on an acting set. Not getting a nap or nothing and then wrapping at 11 at night and going to the club at 2. Leaving the club around 4. Getting to your hotel at 5:30. Waking up at 8 the next morning. Go to your trailer. Actually fuck a chick in your trailer. Go back to your trailer and come up with a concept for a video. After that shoot a video with French Montana; that’s your bro but you gotta fly like 6 hours with no sleep… and it’s your birthday by the way. I’m serious!
My life has just been so crazy. I’m talking about to the extent where I’m the guy that’s okay couch surfing and I’m the guy that’s okay being in a big ass mansion. I’ll sleep at my friend’s house, couch surf one night, go to my house, I’m good. I could leave the Dior party and go to an A$AP Twelvyy show or go to a YG show and be just as comfortable. I’ll even bring some of the Dior people with me, like why don’t you meet this crowd? Nigga, I’m the first black Dior model. That’s facts. Not only did I change music but I changed fashion. Now with this MTV stuff I want to change television.
I’m the first black Dior model. That’s facts. Not only did I change music but I changed fashion. Now with this MTV stuff I want to change television.
Can you talk a little bit about your new role with MTV?
I can talk a lot of bit about it. It’s curating and facilitating, like a creative director. Basically programming, bumps, interstitials, anything you name it. I’m all about vignettes, you do know that. That’s my strong suit. The thing about “Money Man,” “LSD” all that, videographers get credit but niggas know that’s my vision. I don’t know how to record myself and perform at the same time so you gotta work with someone else and by default they get that credit. Finally, I’m getting my credit that I deserve as a visionary for cinematography and videography, you get what I’m saying? I feel like people never really knew how hands-on I was, or where the origins of these ideas came from – they just assume it’s somebody else’s vision. “Yamborghini High” was all me, that was inspired by Ali G, the movie where he had all these cameos. I was gettin’ high watchin’ Ali G… I directed “Pesos” and “Goldie.” “Goldie,” everybody was wearin’ Jean Paul Gaultier wearing John Lennon glasses, I popped that off. I’m not gonna lie, my boy Matty Williams gave me those, he traded me those for a pair of Louie’s. He said Gaga gave them to him, you know?
What artists have you been listening to lately?
I just feel where we are now in life, most artists don’t look at it like what will hip-hop look like in 5-10 years? Where am I going to be in 5-10 years? They’re just worried about now. For real though, that shit hurts me. ‘Cause I care about hip-hop, I really do. I got artists who I’m fans of: Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, the Creator, Danny Brown. Even new niggas, I fuck with Flatbush Zombies, I fuck with Kodak Black, I like Yachty, I even like Famous Dex. All these kids, Playboi Carti. A lot of these guys making that music for now and I want them to think about 5, 10, 15 years from now.
I just feel where we are now in life, most artists don’t look at it like what will hip-hop look like in 5-10 years? Where am I going to be in 5-10 years? They’re just worried about now. For real though, that shit hurts me.
What do you think when some of the newer artists say they don’t really care about the history of hip-hop?
I think it’s fucked up, but it is what it is. It’s the times now; it’s the millennials. I’m just waiting for one of these millennial thinkin’ mufuckas, I’m waiting for four years to pass and to see where they at. You know they say a rapper’s career span is usually two to four years tops. Like two is average, you’re lucky if you can get two years. Two years… I just dropped jewels on you, hopefully you heard what I said.
Stream A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends album here.