Born Rakim Mayers on October 3, 1988, he is better known by his stage name, A$AP Rocky. Rocky is an American record producer, rapper, director, actor and model who hails from Harlem, in Manhattan, New York. He is also a member of the well-known hi hop group, known as A$AP Mob, which is where his stage name comes from. Rocky grew up very poor and in a highly dysfunctional and unconventional home environment. He lost his father to jail and his brother to murder.
Today, many years later, A$AP Rocky is a big name in the world of hip hop and rap, and has released multiple mixtapes and albums, among embarking on multiple other ventures. He is no longer living on the streets, but living the highlife and enjoying sweet success. It took him a lot of hard work and dedication, but it has paid off, and when you look at his album sells, you know it. Here are ten things you didn’t know about A$AP Rocky.
1. Grew up in poverty
Harlem was less than the ideal place for a childhood. Rocky spent a good portion of his childhood in poverty and watching crime-after-crime wave through his neighborhood, but even more devastating, his own family. At the young age of 12, Rocky watched his father get sent away to jail for dealing drugs. It was only a year later then, that his brother was murdered close to the apartment where they lived. After the two devastations, he spent a big chunk of his youth bouncing around and camping out in shelter-after-shelter with his single mother.
2. Learned what masculinity was in Harlem
When Rocky was 13, he was still learning about life and what it being a “guy” meant. He didn’t understand masculinity and had no one to explain it to him, so he learned in an unconventional way what masculinity meant to other guys. He recalls, during an interview, all the crazy stuff that used to happen in his Harlem neighborhood. He said that he learned how guys test and use their strength by watching guys knock delivery guys off of their bikes, and to the ground. Rocky says that is a true story and it was how he learned that guys are supposed to be tough.
3. His early career in hip hop
When A$AP lost his father and his brother, he felt like had no one to look up to or anything to inspire him, so he turned his focus elsewhere, which was hip hop. This was where he drew his inspiration. He was eight years old when he started dabbling in rhymes, which got him interested in hip hop and rap. It wasn’t until he was about 17 years old. He had a lot of influences during his youth that motivated him to give it his all, and try his hand in the music business. He closely followed Devin the Dude, the Diplomats, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, UGK, and others.
4. Rocky sets himself apart
While others in the business try to get their deals with record labels on their own and sell themselves alone, Rocky took a different route that really got himself noticed and made himself more desirable for bids from record labels. He worked hard, before he began to shop for a deal, to connect with, and have a crew of creative minds banded together. At the table, Sony was the company that viewed Rocky as self-sustaining and could possibly save them on the costs of creating a name for him. So they signed him on. A$AP was assembled in 2007 by Rocky.
5. Style of Rap
Rocky devoured southern-fried rap for years, among a variety of hip-hop styles from other areas. One favorited area is Houston, which Rocky often uses in his music. Rocky’s style is described as smooth and breezy and it incorporates the Houston rap lingo, which is recognized in his songs when he’ll be heard referencing purple drank, and drawing out his syllables. Rocky’s first release, LiveLoveA$AP, displayed a long tradition of New York rappers using styles from many other regions. Style-wise, it ultimately paid respect to Ohio’s Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony in one breath, then “Houston’s chopped and screwed in the next.”
6. Admits to being homophobic at one time
During an interview, Rocky admits to having been homophobic, but now says that’s messed up. He says that he would literally look in the mirror and think how all the designer clothes he was wearing were designed by people who were gay. He would hear tons of stories about so many people in his industry who were gay, but he would think, whether it was true or not, it really didn’t matter. He knew he had to get over it because it was a very immature way to think. He has since gotten over it and none of it matters anymore. He’s good with everyone, no matter what or who they like.
7. Where his moniker comes from
Rocky’s tells how everyone in his posse, A$AP, got the moniker. The Group includes rappers, producers, as well as video directors. The acronym “A$AP” was adopted by Rocky’s posse. Rocky explains that everyone in the posse got the A$AP name, and the moniker stands for a wide variety of things, one of the main ideas behind it is “Always Strive and Prosper.” Another is, “Assassinating Snitches and Police.”
8. First two singles
Rocky was dedicated to his crew and his dedication paid off. His first two singles were self-released, “Peso” and “Purple Swag,” and they eventually earned air-time. Once they were discovered, a label war began and subsequently, Rocky wound up signing a $3 million deal with Sony’s subsidiary, Polo Grounds, distributed by RCA records. Rocky says that the very first thing he bought after he signed on the dotted line was, champagne.
9. What kind of music does he listen to?
You would think all Rocky listened to was rap or hip hop. However, this is not the case, as a matter-of-fact he surprises people when he tells them that when he’s riding in Uber or anywhere else, he usually listens to classical music. He says that it kind of makes him “feel like a mobster who’s on his way to a mob hit.”