Exclusive: A$AP Rocky Unleashes His New Found Psychedelia
Last night was quite unexpectedly the night that hip-hop fans around the world had been waiting for. After two and a half years, A$AP Rocky’s highly anticipated third LP At Long Last A$AP was leaked to the public. Never one to get upstaged, Rocky decided to officially release the record worldwide at midnight, but not before throwing a wall-to-wall psychedelic rave here at Milk Studios to celebrate.
Rocky’s album launch party was resplendent with skull-crushing bass drops, a frenzied strobe light show, and mashed up images of trippy cult classics like The Holy Mountain and Requiem for a Dream created by our own Legs Media. The MC of the hour of course came to deliver live performances of never before heard album cuts, but he also revealed his playful side in live covers of songs like OT Genasis’ ‘CoCo’ and Bobby Shmurda’s ‘Hot Nigga.’
Before things got kicked off, Rocky stopped by the JamRoom, where Milk Made’s Jake Boyer caught up with him to chat about his monumental evening. After igniting a blunt and sipping on a cranberry vodka, Rocky ended up dishing on a variety of topics, from his friendship with French fashion guru Michele Lamy to finding religion to the unpleasant consequences that come with ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms.
So you’re a pretty familiar face here at Milk, and we’re glad to have you back for your album launch party. Is this the first time that this music is being played outside the studio?
Yeah man! It just leaked a few hours ago and I’m so psyched about it. Everybody’s enjoying the music so far.
It just leaked a few hours ago?
Yeah, and I’m releasing it officially at midnight tonight, which is only like two hours away.
Tell me about this record. What are you bringing to it that makes it unique from your first two?
I’m bringing a more mature, evolved style. I’ve found my niche. And I’m just experimenting. Of course every album that I do is an experiment, but this one more than anything. There was so much reflection and things going in my life that became manifested into this music. And I hope people get that. I hope that comes across without being too artsy. I don’t want to make an artsy thing that’s too corny.
I understand that there’s more of a religious connotation with this record than your previous efforts, what informed that choice?
I feel like for me…I’ve never been a person to judge anyone. Everyone has their own belief and they’re entitled to that. As long as you believe in something, some type of higher power, I don’t care if you call it Buddha, God, Allah, Jesus, I don’t care if it’s a rat named Willard. As long as you believe in a higher power, that’s what matters. I’m not even a religious person, but I do believe in God, I pray every single night. Religious people tend to be overwhelming with their beliefs, and I just feel like people should believe in what they do without the need to bash others. So to answer your question, a lot of those thoughts were in my head when this album was being made.
Do you feel like you find spirituality in practicing your art form? Is making music a spiritual experience for you?
To an extent, because I’m a free spirit. But it’s also a musical experience, it’s a psychedelic experience, it’s an ambient experience. You know? It’s groovy. It’s new 60’s, man.
You touched into that with your first two records, but this one seems far more psychedelic. Were you experimenting more with psychedelics on this record?
What’s your weapon of choice? Are you more of a shrooms guy or more of an acid guy?
I feel like I’m more of an acid guy. Mushrooms…they give me the runs, man. Stomach aches all night and shit, it’s so frustrating. So I definitely would choose acid over them any day.
Can you tell me a bit about your friendship with Michele Lamy? Is that her on your new album cover?
Michele Lamy shot the cover of the album. People don’t even know that! I guess I just exposed it. I just love to keep secrets and unveil them and release them every now and then. And you’re giving me a cool ass interview vibe, so there you go. But Michele Lamy…she is my mentor. She’s been mentoring me for the past two years. I’ve learned a lot, and our bond just grew more and more. We spend time together organically. And like I said, I’ve learned a lot man. People aren’t ready for the juice that she gave me. She just put me onto a whole other piece of art, a whole other vision of art, a whole other point of view.
What do you think one of the most important things you’ve learned in the past two years has been?
Life is art. That’s why it’s so opinionated. That’s why there’s debate over certain art pieces. That’s what life is! Life is just a big art piece on a canvas. I look at it like this—you’ve got people who will try and dictate the art, people who try to create it, people who steal it and capitalize off of it, and then you got people who just sit back and try to analyze it and make rational sense out of it. That’s what life is man, art is life. But I’m not trying to be too artsy, it’s not like I can tell you the great contemporary artists or the old masters, I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfectionist, but I try to be one.
So fashion has been a big part of your image in your tenure as an artist. Is it still a subject of importance for you?
Not so much anymore. I try to take it easy on the fashion these days. I try to be light, I try not to do too much.
What was your first time smoking weed like?
The first time I actually smoked weed the proper way and got fucked up off of it I was 14. I had a 40 and a blunt and I was with my homies in the Bronx, and I had the time of my life. Just the real time of my life. Laughing, jokes, and shit, just feeling it all for the first time.
Are you one of those people that think everything is better when you’re stoned or are there certain things that are particularly special when high?**
It all depends. Everything isn’t always better when you’re stoned, not everything. But…most things. (laughs). For example, I’m doing a lecture at Oxford pretty soon, and I don’t think I want to be stoned for that. I don’t want to disrespect people when I smoke, and it’s just the gentlemanly thing to do when stepping into their environment.
So this might be a sore spot, but you had a hard hit when making this record with the passing of A$AP Yams. Was he able to complete the record with you? Did he see the finished product that we’re seeing tonight?
Nah, he didn’t get to quite see the finished product. But he was there for a lot of it, he helped make most of it. And he’s of course there in spirit. It’s been really hard, and it’s made this journey even more personal than it already was.
Is there anything else you’d like the readers of Milk Made to know?
My favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla.
Vanilla? Just plain vanilla?
Yeah, vanilla! With sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles scattered on top.