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Toronto Frosh Festival 2014 featuring ASAP Mob | ©The Come Up Show/flickr
Toronto Frosh Festival 2014 featuring ASAP Mob | ©The Come Up Show/flickr

7 Reasons You Should Be Listening To A$AP Rocky

Picture of Culture Trip NYC
Updated: 25 May 2016
Hailing from the electrifying streets of Harlem, A$AP Rocky is one of the most invigorating artists around. Though he was known underground for years, his 2011 mixtape Live. Love. A$AP. helped him rise to critical acclaim. After signing a record deal with Polo Grounds Music, RCA Records, and Sony Music Entertainment, A$AP Rocky released his debut album Long. Live. A$AP. in 2013. In 2015, he dropped his second studio album, At. Long. Last. A$AP. Both albums debuted at number one on Billboard 200. We profile seven reasons you should be listening to this New York City artist.

Some Of His Greatest Influences Come From His Family

A$AP Rocky was born Rakim Mayers in 1988, named after one half of the famous hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. His family consisted of his mother, his father, an older brother, and three younger sisters. Before his death in 2001, Rocky’s brother had a strong influence on his career, teaching the artist how to rap at an early age (and how to style his hair in French braids).

He’s A Natural

By the young age of eight, Rocky was already proving his talent, learning the tricks of the trade from his older brother in Pennsylvania. When Rocky turned 12, his father was sent to prison on drug-related charges. A year late, his brother died in Harlem, New York. Driven by the tragic events of his childhood, Rocky found the fuel to make his rap dream a reality.

He’s Dynamic

Rocky cites several musical artists as his personal influences. He credits the Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats as being one of his first, alongside Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, UKG, Run DMC, Wu-Tang Clan, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

He Started From The Bottom

Rocky’s road to success was not paved in gold. After his father was jailed, Rocky moved around homeless shelters with his mother and younger sisters. In order to make money, Rocky began selling marijuana. At 15, he started selling crack in the Bronx. He and his family finally found stability in New York City, and he began to pursue a serious career in the music business.

He Comes From An Artistic Crew

In 2007, Rocky joined the A$AP Mob crew, a Harlem-based collection of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers, and bikers, all of whom shared similar tastes in art and music. In 2011, Rocky released his first and lesser-known mixtape, Deep Purple. On this was his first debut single, ‘Purple Swag’.

Even His Leaked Songs Gain Fame

In August 2011, his single ‘Peso‘ was leaked online. Within weeks, it was being played over the radio, namely the high-profile New York City Radio station Hot 97. After debuting his music video for ‘Purple Swag’, Rocky garnered significant attention from record labels looking to sign him on. Once he released Live. Love. A$AP. and signed on with RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music, Rocky started his own label, A$AP Worldwide, with a fellow A$AP Mob member, A$AP Yams.

He Collaborates With The Best

Though he remains a rising star, Rocky has collaborated with some pretty notable artists. He has worked with Drake, Rihanna, Skrillex, and Kendrick Lamar. His songs are instant hits, and he is considered to be one of the best out there right now. His raps and lyrics deal with controversial issues in an unconventional way.