Keeping Up with A$AP Rocky
The rapper-turned-actor talks about his upcoming roles.
A$AP Rocky has a new album due out any minute, plans to start touring again and is about to showcase his acting chops in the forthcoming film Dope, which co-stars Zoe Kravitz. So what better time for the multi-hyphenate rapper to drop by the Tribeca Film Festival to chat about music, film and fashion, not to mention debut his trippy new music video Beauty and the Beast before a capacity crowd? The conversation was guided by former XXL editor Elliot Wilson for a series called CRWN, (to be broadcast at WatchLoud.com) though the 26-year-old Harlem-born MC pretty much freestyled his way through the evening, dropping some memorable comments about his influences and the scene he’s come to dominate. “Rap is the new wrestling,” he joked at one point. “ Make up a weird ass name and come out saying some outlandish, crazy, dumb shit and everyone will pay attention to you.” Of course, given that Rocky is a darling of the fashion flock, everyone was name checking his clothes. Turns out he hates labels that announce themselves. “Be modest,” he said. As proof, he opened up the floor to guesses about who designed the white T-shirt he was wearing. A few tried, unsuccessfully. (It was Dries Von Noten.) “I prefer skinny jeans,” he elaborated. “Not for everyone, but for me. I’m jiggy, I’m handsome and I make them look good.” Roger that for the chains circling his neck, which came by way of Canal Street, he allowed. (“Now you all know my secrets.”) Fashion was hard, he said. “Kanye had a rough time in the fashion industry, and it’s all starting to pay off. He and Pharrell paved the way for artists like myself. I would be full of shit if I didn’t say when I was 16 I wasn’t inspired by Kanye West, but now I’m inspired by me and Earl [Sweatshirt], Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, all these guys.” Mos Def was a key influence “because he can rap his ass off and he’s an incredible actor.” Rocky, who’s famously dated Chanel Iman and Iggy Azalea, hopes to follow suit. He described his new album A.L.L.A (At Long Last A$SAP) as his best work yet and the film Dope as a combination of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Juice (1992) and Spring Breakers (2013). Rocky plays a Los Angeles-born drug dealer named Dom in this coming of age film set in LA that was a hit at Sundance. The role was fine for a start, he said, but he hopes there are more complex screen professions awaiting him down the road. “Maybe like a journalist or a brain surgeon,” he noted. “Test my intelligence.”