A$AP Rocky, a.k.a. Lord Flacko, has his fingerprints are all over culture. Since his groundbreaking debut Long. Live. ASAP., Rocky’s become a fashion icon, clothing and homeware designer, and even a whisky entrepreneur. Ahead of the release of his fourth album, Don’t Be Dumb, the de facto A$AP Mob leader has been tight-lipped. Then again, as the dad of two kids with Rihanna, Rocky’s been busy.
Fishing through the many interviews Lord Flacko has given over the course of his storied career, however, yields plenty of commentary. Here we've compiled a list of the 10 most interesting facts we could find about Harlem-bred MC A$AP Rocky, from the surprising to the downright wild.
Virgil Abloh was one of his earliest supporters
Real recognizes real, and the late Virgil Abloh was known for having his finger on the pulse of culture. Before the designer was tapped to design Rocky’s generation-defining debut Long. Live. ASAP, Abloh recognized the ragtag group of early Mobsters trying to sneak into a club.
In his acceptance speech at the annual Fashion Show & Style Awards for the Virgil Abloh Award, Rocky shared a touching anecdote: "Virgil peeped us and unbeknownst to us — and we ain’t know that he knew who he was —he’s like, 'Wait, y’all are those Harlem kids, the trendy ones.’ And we was tripping like, 'Wait. Virgil knows who we are, the fashion world knows about us?'" A year later, Rocky enlisted Abloh’s help to creatively direct his debut album and tour.
A$AP Rocky thinks celebrities ruined fashion
If there's one thing that Rocky hates, it's a poseur. Especially when it comes to fashion. In an interview with Fast Company, the rapper states, "Celebrities ruined fashion for me. I used to put a lot of thought into what I was wearing and then...all my favorite brands were being bought and worn by the biggest poseurs and celebrities with terrible taste." Well over the hype, Rocky goes on to say that he's "over it," and he's "just not into the whole name brand thing so much."
Rocky passed down an important naming legacy to his son.
For the uninitiated, Rocky gets his nickname from his birth name, Rakim. Hot 97 host Angie Martinez even surprised the rapper back in 2012 with a drop-in from his namesake, one-half of the legendary New York rap duo Eric B and Rakim.
Fast forward to over a decade later and Rocky welcomed his firstborn son with longtime partner Rihanna. The boy’s name? RZA, in honor of the Wu-Tang Clan architect.
Friends helped Rocky cope with the death of A$AP Yams
It goes without saying that the loss of A$AP Yams took a toll on Rocky and the rest of A$AP Mob. Though time heals all, Rocky claims that having close friends around helped him cope with the loss. "I got good people around. And seriously, it’s not like I took a loss. We took a loss," Rocky told #CRWN. "When you’re hurt, there are people you can really go to that know exactly what you’re talking about and feeling. That feels good, man."
Rocky sees himself as one of the originators of “street goth”
If you don’t know what street goth is, it’s been everywhere for the past decade, thanks to Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye. The aesthetic is characterized by stark black and white streetwear staples accented with edgier elements such as leathers and studs.
In an interview with GQ, Rocky reflected on his impact on an entire generation of streetwear. “At that moment, brands like Hood by Air and Been Trill and all that was poppin’, so I kind of merged all of that together and I think that was the start of ‘street goth’ or whatever they called it back then,” Rocky explained.
A young A$AP Rocky Loved Old Navy
It’s no secret that hip-hop culture, including its music videos, influenced fashion then and now (Rocky’s style, too).
In an interview, Rocky revealed how watching hip-hop music videos and seeing timeless brands dressing his favorite artists inspired his style as a kid. Specifically, he named adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, and, surprisingly, Old Navy, as his favorite brands as a young Rocky.
“I used to be proud of my Old Navy back in the day,” Rocky said. Now, he’s off to better Bottega things.
He takes credit for the Air Force 1 resurgence
Rocky’s sneaker game is unmatched, and early in his career you could see him almost exclusively wearing mid-top Nike Air Force 1 and Jordan 4s. A resurfaced video from 2015 of Rocky sharing his intention to revive the “whack” shoe caused a stir.
“Coming out with the Air Force 1 thing, man, you can ask my manager, it was all premeditated,” Rocky said. “I said ‘listen, I'm going to wear these whack sneakers.” It was 2011.”
Of course, folks may say otherwise, knowing Nelly and his classic “Air Force Ones” song shouting out the iconic shoe.
He’s a fan of retro video games
Gamers and hip-hop heads alike were really surprised to hear Rocky’s “Shittin Me” in the trailer for Need For Speed, where he’s also featured as a non-playable character. In a Rolling Stone interview, Rocky dove into his love for gaming, which started with none other than the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 consoles. He was also a big fan of PlayStation’s favorite rapping dog, PaRappa the Rapper.
“I remember when PlayStation first came out, it was, like, that one game that you get — the pack of samples, demos and shit,”Rocky told the outlet, before launching into a rendition of the PaRappa theme.
He loves Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
As perhaps one of the only people not traumatized by the incredibly creepy tunnel scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Rocky took a lot of inspiration from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder for a video of his own. The trippy video for “Wassup” pays homage to that film as well as many others, such as Scarface, Belly, Enter the Dragon, and The Warriors.
Perhaps you can spot the Willy Wonka vibes amid all the lesbians and COMME des GARÇONS.
Rocky has made Barbados his second home
Now that Rocky’s dating Rihanna, the queen of Barbados, it’s only right her homeland becomes his second home. Lucky for Rocky, his father emigrated from Barbados, so he has even more ties to the island.
Rocky was spotted in Barbados throughout 2023 enjoying some R&R (Rih & Relaxation) with his family and shooting a video for his forthcoming album, Don’t Be Dumb.