2013 saw Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky go from underground rap’s brightest new stars to one of hip hop’s most formidable figures.
Influenced by the Southern-style swagger of UGK and the rhymes of his hometown heroes the Diplomats, A$AP Rocky gave up slinging drugs in Harlem and moved to Elmwood Park, New Jersey, where he started rapping. By the time he had completed school, the self-proclaimed hood outcast had already gained comparisons to Wiz Khalifa and was being championed by Fader magazine, Stereogum, and rap superstar Drake, due to the Internet-leaked singles ‘Peso’ and ‘Trilla’.
In 2011, just after he turned 22, A$AP Rocky released the Deep Purple mixtape and followed it months later with the digital release of his debut album ‘LIVE.LOVE.A$AP’. After signing a reported large deal with Sony, the album was re-released in February of 2012. Even without an official debut, the rapper rounded out the year with a nomination for BBC Radio’s Sound of 2012 poll, performing alongside Rihanna at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, playing Lana Del Rey’s husband in the singer’s ‘National Anthem’ video, and landing a spot in a television commercial for the popular videogame FIFA Soccer 13. The debut, ‘LONG.LIVE.A$AP’, finally landed in 2013 and featured the single ‘Goldie’. Santigold, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, and Yelawolf were among his guests while production came from the likes of Clams Casino, Danger Mouse, and Jim Jonsin.
The debut album from the self-described “pretty motherf***er”, ‘LONG.LIVE.A$AP‘ was released to critical acclaim, and spawned several massive singles, including ‘Goldie’, ‘Wild For The Night’ with Skrillex, and the swaggering ‘F***n Problems’ which featured verses from rap titans Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
Rocky’s electronic-tinged, texturised hazy beats have quickly become a winning formula his peers are embracing, and his reign looks set to continue with the release of his forthcoming instrumental album, ‘Beauty and the Beast: Slowed Down Sessions, Chapter 1′.
Add to that an EP, ‘L.O.R.D’, recorded alongside his collective, A$AP Mob, and it looks like it’s going to be another massive year for A$AP Rocky.
Having already performed a sell out 40 date headline tour, you’d be wise to catch Rocky now – before he’s selling out the world’s biggest arenas.