He’s Not From Houston But He Rap-A-Lot: A$AP Rocky Speaks On Being Introduced To Houston Rap, Dipset, Big L & Doing An Album With Schoolboy Q

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I remember last summer when I was inside the barber shop in Harlem, over on 123rd and Lexington, I first heard A$AP Rocky’s single “Purple Swag.” He didn’t even have a deal at that time but he was already buzzing in the streets of NYC, thanks to the Interweb. Rocky does not sound like the average New York rapper. His sound was heavily influenced by the South (Houston). Exclaim! sat down with Rocky for an interview. He talked about when he first was introduced to Houston rap, Dipset, Big L, doing a collabo album with Schoolboy Q and much more. Below are some excerpts:

You grew up in Harlem. What were you listening to as an uptown kid?
Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, that’s about it.

How did you get introduced to Houston rap?
It was mostly through [crew member/business manager] A$AP Yams, it hit the scene pretty hard in 2003 until 2006. It stuck onto me. When I joined A$AP, they were into the whole Houston culture, sipping lean, all that other shit, so it was just natural.

What about the Houston sound and culture clicked for you?
Because nobody else was doing it no more. I really love it, I enjoy it. I spoke to a wise man not too long ago, he said he didn’t make up the “Fo shizzle nizzle my dizzle”, but he said it was a rapper in the Bay [Area] by the name of E-40. But he said that he created it, and people kinda said he was the creator of [that slang]. And that’s all I’m doing right now. You couldn’t tell the Wu-Tang Clan that they weren’t influenced by the Shaolin Temple. They never been there before, they probably didn’t even know any Asian people! But they went hard with that. That’s how it is with A$AP and Houston. Same thing.

Source: Exclaim

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As far as Harlem rappers working with people outside the five boroughs, I think of the Diplomats, who worked with Twista and Master P when New Yorkers weren’t messing with them. Do you see them as precedent?
I really appreciate them for doing that, because I like to go left. I like to do stuff that no one else is currently doing at the moment. We know who don’t, the trend-followers. This is for the trendsetters. [The Diplomats] were trendsetters, and I salute them for that. It’s always a smart thing to do, to involve yourself with something that’s not currently happening because you can make something out of it. Make something big out of it.

What are your favourite Harlem records?
Big L, “Put ‘Em On.” That’s one joint I enjoy. A few Dipset joints, that’s going to be clichĂ© but it’s typically Harlem shit… we got McGruff, he did a few dope joints. You ever heard of him?

You also got chemistry with the West coast sound. You and Schoolboy Q have natural chemistry, are you planning to do a full-length record together?
Yup, me and Schoolboy Q. That’s going to be trill as fuck. A$AP X TDE. [No release date] yet, just an idea. A good idea.

Read the entire interview over at Exclaim.

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.