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Complex / Paul Jung

Flacko season is upon us. After unveiling the cover art for his anticipated new album, Testing, as well as showcasing his first Under Armour sneaker, A$AP Rocky is now the subject of Complex‘s latest interview.

During the sit-down, Rocky dished on his upcoming album; working with the likes of Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, and Skepta, among others; meeting Kid Cudi, André 3000, and Nigo; signing Playboi Carti and Smooky MarGielaa, wanting to design furniture, and more.

Below, we’ve in turn highlighted the standout excerpts from the conversation, which you can then check out in full over at Complex.

On the absence of A$AP Yams for Testing:

“It wasn’t the same without Yams. But it’s with any legacy that loses a pioneer; you gotta keep going. Yams is a spirit. He’s an energy. He was always about discovering new talent and trying to put new people on. I think that’s what validated him in hip-hop. We miss him. RIP to A$AP Yams. I had to do what Puff had to do when Biggie died, or anybody who loses somebody.”

On releasing music during the same time period as other big name artists:

“I’m starting to get inspired again. Everybody’s making music and shit. I don’t wanna put out shit when everybody’s all quiet. Nah. Now, the champions are coming back out and making real music. It’s like friendly sparring. It’s time.”

On signing Playboi Carti and Smooky MarGielaa:

“I think they talented. Smooky’s young, full of energy. He reminds me of myself in so many ways. He reminds me of artists like Bobby Shmurda or something like that. And Carti, he a playboy. He up next. I think what he’s doing is an infusion of ambient, space sounds mixed with trap traditional music.”

On AWGE:

“It’s a collective of young creatives from people who make music to people who draw, designers, all that. It’s just, for a lack of better words, a ghetto Google. We just wanna make dope shit.”

On meeting Kid Cudi:

“He got on the camera and was like, ‘Yo what up? That song with you and ScHoolboy, ‘Hands On The Wheel,’ that’s tight.’ I was like, ‘Oh shit. Tight.’”

“The Cudder is the fucking man. I love Cudi, man. He’s dope as fuck. He’s a dope big bro.”

On meeting André 3000:

“The first time I saw André 3000, I was weirded out by him. I was a little kid. He had on these big furry camo goat Chronicles of Narnia pants with football shoulder pads. He might have fucked around and had a pot on his head. It might’ve been the ‘Rosa Parks’

. I thought he dressed very weird, but somehow his music was enticing. It was intriguing. Before I knew it I was a fan. I love how he went from music to fashion to film.”

On meeting Nigo:

“Nigo doesn’t even really speak English, but he was like, ‘I heard you like Goyard.’ He just dropped it [a Goyard trunk] on the table. Damn. That was crazy.”

“I think Nigo is just as important and significant to hip-hop as a Pharrell or a Slick Rock or Kanye—not as far as musical ability. I would say how he influenced people’s style and how he just came through with a new way to rock shit.”

On why he admires André 3000, Nigo, and Cudi:

“All of them influenced music, especially hip-hop, style and fashion. I fall in the light of all of those. They was doing it before I came in the game.”

On wanting to design furniture:

“I’m into mixing Victorian decor and pieces, like bronze and old trinkets, with new contemporary furniture from designers and artists. I’m a Libra. The balance of both is appealing, it’s attractive.”

On Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton appointment:

“That’s amazing. That’s a great deal. He’s one of the people to represent and I think that was a dope decision.”

On the possibility of being creative director for a fashion house:

“I mean, listen, man. LVMH might have to holla at ya boy Flacko one time. Big AWGE is here, you heard? Come holla at the big AWGE and all that when y’all ready.”

On his current positioning in the musical landscape:

“I feel like I’m one of the best contemporary artists out right now. My music is ahead of its time. The masses usually catch on two, three, four, five years later.”

On his new album, Testing:

“It’s a significant point and time in my career. I have a lot of artists that are signed to me—big superstars, rockstars. I’m in other fields within my career. But I needed to circle back and show them this is where it started. This is the origin of my legacy and why I really do this shit.”

“I’ve discovered sounds that I’ve never heard before, so I’m trying to manifest all of that into my new stuff. Do you ever hear people when they describe that LSD experience and they tell you about colors that they never seen before? That’s what I’m trying to describe. It’s like the manifestation of drugs…without being so vocal about it.”

On working with Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean:

“Working with those two guys has been quite the experience. I’m glad that, on a creative level, everybody gets it. And not only that, those guys are elite. Those guys are geniuses.”

“Tyler’s new shit is crazy. Sonically, he challenged himself in a different way and it’s not even like Flower Boy… His next album is just a new wave.”

On recording with Skepta in the presence of a college professor who studies psychedelic neuroscience and psychedelic-assisted therapy:

“He came over to monitor us and record us while we were recording [music] under the influence. It turned into this weird testing, experimental situation. It was like, man, we keep talking about psychedelic drugs and I’m doing research on Einstein and Steve Jobs and how they say if a person can endure LSD it kinda qualifies them as a genius. I was like, ‘Oh shit!’ I needed more insight so I called a professional in to do it.”

On recording some of the album in Berlin:

“The energy there is crazy. I feel like Berlin still has a big appreciation for hip-hop culture. The architecture, you still see graffiti everywhere, like real artists and real art, cobblestone roads. There’s nothin’ wrong with just taking that all in. It was perfect.”

On working with Kanye West while in Berlin:

“Kanye turned the hotel we were staying at into a Yeezy compound. He was designing sneakers in one suite, making music in one suite, and I was making music in my suite. It was crazy. We shut down the whole hotel.”

On the release of Testing:

“It’s an experience. It’s jiggy. It’s lit. I’m tryna go platinum first week. Let’s get it. On some Cardi B shit times 12, you heard?”

On people stealing his style:

“I don’t even think people stealing my style matters at this point. I’m too old to be talking about who stole my style and who ran with… I don’t give a fuck about that. I’m just trying to make dope music, dope art, dope clothing creations. And I wanna mess with some dope females, if you know any. That’s it. Other than that all this other shit is other shit. You feel me?”

On being appreciated and acknowledged for his influence:

I’m so blessed to be here. I could be dead right now. I could be in jail. I could be poor. I could be homeless still. But I’m here and I’m talking to you, stoned, happy as ever. Y’know what I’m saying? I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing, in the capacity that we do it in. We’re blessed. Never get that confused. I don’t think I would be sitting here after seven years of doing this, and doing a cover for Complex, if I wasn’t acknowledged for the stuff I did.”

“I really do it for my trophies, and my trophies is those people who come up to you on the street who don’t want a picture but wanna tell you how you changed their life, or how a decision you did influenced their decisions in life, or just how much they appreciate you. That’s my Grammy, that’s my Oscar, that’s my everything. I’m just trying to show kids how to make it on their own without having to do the same old thing. And you could be yourself while doing this.”

On staying true to himself:

“I’m always gon’ do what I want when it comes to making music and shit. I feel like to an extent, you gotta give a fuck. But maybe just a little bit.”

Now, here’s everything we know so far about A$AP Rocky’s new album, ‘Testing.’

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