In the midst of a crazy ‘business as usual’ schedule, A$AP Ferg has been nonstop from the jump in 2016.
From performing at last week’s Yams Day to being on the road for the past month and then some alongside G-Eazy, to preparing his new album, Always Strive And Prosper, Ferg is sitting at the brink of a glorious year.
As part of the When It’s Dark Out tour (supporting G-Eazy’s new album of the same name) Terminal 5 was blessed with three sold-out shows this past week and the crowd was introduced to a new side of Ferg. While still performing fan favorites from his debut Trap Lord, Ferg also delivered some new fire, such as “New Level,” his single with Future and his Yams-dedicated track, “Tatted Angel.” His dedication to the late A$AP Yams made for a powerful moment on stage, as images of his fallen brother were projected on a large screen behind him and the audience swayed their cell phones in the air paying respect.
Written from the heart, “Tatted Angel” was the first song A$AP Ferg released in over a year, and is also foreshadowing to a more personal side the rapper promises to show in Always Strive And Prosper, which is still awaiting its official release date announcement.
Backstage after closing his Terminal 5 set out with his sign off, “Love, Peace, & A$AP,” Ferg was shown love from his family, friends and crew, with his mother and uncle in the building as well. While asking his friends to give him a minute so he can chat with The Source, a friend jokingly asked him, “So, when did you realize you could rap?”
“I was in front of the mirror and I said, damn you handsome!,” Ferg replied, laughing. “What can match with this handsome?”
While Ferg does have the time of his life with every show, he handles his business seriously. Dipping out rapidly following our conversation in order to make perfect timing to join G-Eazy back on stage, it became clear our interview was the first time the rapper sat down all day.
Check out our exclusive Q+A below and keep your eyes open for the announcement regarding the release date for Always Strive And Prosper.
How do you prepare for a show where you know in advance it’s to a sold out crowd?
I just try to kill every show. I go out there and really try to inject everybody with my energy. Every single person. I try to make eye contact with everybody. I try to connect with everybody. Try to make them feel me.
Tonight’s performance saw a nod to Yams as well, do you think you will continue taking time in your set to pay respect to him? Additionally, how was Yams Day?
I’ma always do a tribute to Yams until I die. Every day. Every time I perform it’s a tribute to Yams.
Yams Day show was incredible. Everybody came out and showed love and supported, performed. It wasn’t really even about the performance. It was about partying with each other and being on that stage together, because everybody is so busy that we don’t really get a chance to mingle and bond with each other as brothers, and it’s a shame but it took Yams Day to really settle everybody down and come together and really just have fun with each other.
With taking some time out, do you feel pressure having a gap in between releases?
I absolutely felt some kind of pressure. I know this Hip Hop game is not guaranteed. It’s a short window. You see rappers come into the game and disappear all the time, dumb fast. I didn’t think that would happen with me because I know who I am. I know that I can gain all my power back. I never lost my power, really, I just took some time off to really develop my craft and get the best possible product made. I try to make the best music that I can.
What are some of your goals for 2016?
Besides becoming a better artist, I just really want to be a better person. I just want to see some of my people that I grew up with get on. I want to continue to keep going to that new level. [Laughs.]
I also want to be a better son to my mother. A better brother to my brother. Just to be a good example to all the people that follow my music. I do understand that I have a responsibility to upkeep to all my fans that are watching. They’re all learning from me, whether I like it or not. I have to take on that responsibility.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your new album?
The new album is my best work yet. I put my all into it. I always tell people I really don’t know what I’m going to do after this album, because I’m bearing so much truth with this album.
I’m gonna have to gain some more experiences and travel the world for a couple years before I can think of something to top this one because it’s just my whole life buried into this album. It’s telling my rags to riches story, and it’s making me human again.
A lot of people think celebrities don’t have feelings or emotions or that we are emotionless. I’m telling you, listen, I was in the streets just like you. I had a job just like you. I got fired just like you. That created who I am today. Because I got fired from Ben & Jerry’s, that made me want to become the person I am today in my head. I said, alright, you gotta get poppin’ now, that’s all that means. I just got poppin’, I leveled up on everybody and did what I had to do. So that’s what this album represents.
What was the process like putting this album together?
I teamed up with everybody from DJ Khalil to Mustard to Missy. I got a song with Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign for the ladies, that’s crazy. I traveled a year and a half working with different producers just to develop the strongest, biggest sonic that I possibly can. I feel like I got the best songs; I recorded over a hundred songs. Probably even more than that, that won’t ever get released, just to develop the best music that I can possibly develop.
With so much material, how did you decide what made the cut?
All feeling. Everything I had to feel first and whatever I was feeling, I played for my colleagues and friends and that’s how we picked the best songs.
The decision to get more personal is a risky one but I think people are going to respond really well to that.
The reason why I went in that direction is I felt like my fans didn’t understand who I was as a person. With Trap Lord, I really feel like I zeroed in on the aesthetic of A$AP and who Trap Lord was, which is a small part of me, y’know what I’m saying, that I released to the world.
It’s just the aesthetic, the outer shell, it’s everything that looks pretty. So for this album I decided to take that gloss off. All of the fly sh*t, all of the diamonds, all of the bullsh*t is off and it’s who I am as a person. That’s what this album represents. Ferg, the person, where I come from, my block, my hood, my family.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the game?
I would say go for it. I would say do your homework, be scared as f*ck. Like I was. I was mad scared to get signed and sh*t because I didn’t know what it entailed. I didn’t know that I could write a rhyme as soon as somebody said, write a rhyme. We need it for this song. To make this deadline. I was afraid as hell. But I stepped up to the plate and I delivered.
You just have to be willing to do everything, that everybody else is not willing to do, to be the best. That’s what I do. I’ma go above and beyond to surpass the next man. Survival of the fittest really. You have to be willing to do it.
What did you think of A$AP Rocky’s photoshoot with Naomi Campbell? Were you jealous?
Nah, I just seen that! I don’t get jealous of things like that. I get excited! That just means my brother did something dope, imagine what I’m going to do. I’m happy when it’s both of us winning because that makes the brand bigger and stronger. We both have the same first name, we’re both A$AP. Whenever he’s winning, I’m winning and whenever I’m winning, he’s winning. I’m a product of him and he’s a product of me. There is no separation. I don’t even know how to get jealous of anybody. I’ve never been a jealous type.
What was it like working with Future on “New Level”?
I always love working with Future. He’s a big fan of mine, and I’m a big fan of his and we respect each other’s craft. He knows where I’m coming from with my art and I know where he’s coming from with his art, so we just compliment each other.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just be prepared for the storm that’s about to happen!
Image courtesy The Bnjmns