“Artistically I’ll be reppin’ this man for the rest of my life.” A$AP Ferg Remembers Yams Through Art

While down in Miami for Art Basel, we had the opportunity to meet with the "Trap Lord" aka A$AP Ferg, and check out his eponymous collaboration with adidas Skateboarding. The night was momentous for the young Harlemite and it culminated with a concert where he celebrated with fellow adidas spokesman A$AP Rocky, the rest of his A$AP cohorts, and a gaggle of fans and industry heavyweights.

Prior to the show A$AP Ferg took some time to speak with Green Label on his past in the arts, what inspired the design of his collection, and the legacy of A$AP Yams.

What has it been like to have a brand like adidas get behind you and give legs to the Trap Lord x adidas Skateboarding collection?
It’s huge! Adidas is a juggernaut in the game and they’ve been around for so long. It’s a very reputable brand that I’ve always worn from adidas Originals to Y3, to Jeremy Scott, and, of course, Yeezys. So it just feels good to be part of this family.

Speaking of Family, you have an original piece that you painted of the late A$AP Yams featured prominently in the collection. Was the original idea to somehow incorporate him into the collection?
Definitely. Artistically I’ll be reppin' this man for the rest of my life—it’s not even a task for me, it’s just something that I'll continue to do. I just released the song “Tatted Angels” on my Twitter and I touched on the whole Yams subject, how I miss my brother and just reflecting on what we’ve been through together. I’m gonna do it through music, I’m gonna do it through visual art…however, I get a chance to do it. I’m going to do it through all mediums of art.

In the piece, you depict his vision and his reach, which stretched way beyond what the eyes could see. How important was it to capture that in your original piece for the collection?
It was very important because I want to inspire kids and let them know about who he really was. You know what I’m saying? He was a fun guy and they know about that part of him, but he didn’t really get to showcase the true entrepreneurial side of Yams. I wanted to let kids know that he is and was a visionary. He was truly a complex person.

With this collection, you’ve displayed your artistic ability. Many might not be familiar with your past in the arts or your relationship with the painter Jay West. How did all of this come into play with the adidas Skateboarding Trap Lord collection?
I’ve been painting for a long time. I taught Jay West how to paint on t-shirts and sell them. [Chuckles] We were painting on t-shirts and using blow-dryers to dry and cure the paint on the tees. I taught him all types of methods. That’s what we were doing as kids and then we moved into the silk-screening business. From there, we started developing little clothing lines to sell around our neighborhoods and we kind of blew up off of doing that.

You spoke a little bit on your painting, but what inspired the graphics used in the rest of the collection and the footwear?
As far as the footwear, I was thinking about Dapper Dan with the "TL" monogram. I wanted to take it back to Harlem and see what my interpretation of that would look like, if he were to do an adidas shoe. So, Dapper Dan inspired me to do the Trap Lord monogram all over the shoe. I incorporated the 3M to give it that futuristic hit—something that the kids would enjoy! I just wanted to make it a collector’s item that people would be proud to buy and own!

Is there anything else in the works that you have coming soon?
I have an album coming out called Always $trive And Prosper, coming early January. I think it’s going to be an amazing album. It’s just… I’m giving so much with this album and putting so much into this album that I feel like, “Damn, where am I going to take this next?” On this album, I’m sharing so much of my life, so many of my trials and tribulations, and what I’ve been to. I touch on everything from the jobs, the come-ups, the failures, and basically my rags-to-riches story and how I wind up where I’m at right now.

Images: Jack Beaudoin

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