Interview: A$AP Ferg Talks about his album, his inspiration, and his old soul

Following the release of his debut album, Trap Lord, we sat down with Darold Ferguson, Jr., better known as A$AP Ferg, to discuss the making of the record, his inspiration, and his plans for the future.

What was one of the most memorable moments of the recording process for Trap Lord?
Just being in the studio in LA, spending the night in the studio. Being there day-in, day-out recording, mixing, and just enjoying the music. The whole creative process was so dope. Meeting Onyx was one of the highlights and then I met Bone Thugs the next day. It was overwhelming.

How do you plan on topping the Bone Thugs collaboration?
Oh, I’m not worried about topping it. I’m growing musically, so I don’t have a problem putting out anything I make because I know whatever I put out next is going to be better. I don’t have a problem topping myself… [laughs]. I don’t have a problem topping myself musically and sonically because I’m always growing as an artist. I’m always getting exposed to new things and other artists to work with. Whatever I’m into at the time is always going to be better than the last thing I was working on.

Who are some of the creative individuals that you look to for inspiration?
I’ve been looking at a lot of Harmony Korine’s work, Spike Jones; I’ve been watching a lot of Spike Lee films — old Spike Lee films. I’ve been looking at artists like Salvador Dalí and Mark Rothko. I just recently went to the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery.

How would you say life has changed the most since your record deal with RCA?
I went from being home with my mom telling me, “You have to get up and get a job, you have to get out of the house. I don’t care what you do, if school is not working for you… you need to do something. I don’t want you being on the corner every day.” I went from that everyday to my mom crying on the phone saying that I don’t spend enough time with her, that I don’t see her enough. It’s like a totally opposite effect. I went from being home all the time to never being home, not seeing any of my old friends.

It’s got to be tough.
Yeah, it’s tough…but at the end of the day, when you have a goal in mind, you look past all of that stuff because you know how it’s going to be in the future. I can foresee what’s going to happen already. I’ve been ready for this for so long.

Your father was involved in a lot of design work when you were a child. Is that what sparked your interest in designing? Would you say that he was the first real influence?
Yeah I would say so, because I was around him. He was the first person that showed me what art was, he showed me how to paint and print T-shirts. I was around all of the logos and the imagery, and as far as his shop…having Puffy come through to pick up his T-shirts, I was around that growing up and I’m sure that played a really big influence in my life, musically and artistically.

You and A$AP Rocky were in a rap duo before each of your solo careers took off. Is there a possibility that we’re going to get a collaborative project from the two of you like Watch the Throne?
Of course, I don’t see why not. In fact, not just with Rocky. I’d like to do a collaborative project with each member from A$AP.

You’ve mentioned that you have an old soul. What’s all that about?
I think it’s just my thought process, by knowing what’s out there. Knowledge makes your soul older…by me being knowledgeable I know more than my peers, so it appears as if I’m older. It’s like A$AP Yams, we call him the “Guru” or “Yoda” of hip-hop because he knows so much about hip-hop, even before his time and past his time. That gives him an old soul.

Is that a common characteristic of all the members of A$AP, an old soul?
No, not all of them [laughs].

What’s next for you?
The world. I’m really going to be the best. I’ve got what it takes to be the best. I always said to my friends, “Yo, Kanye and his friends are cool. Look how cool they are: they dress nice, they got nice shoes.” But wait until they meet me and my friends, and me and my friends have arrived. The Trap Lord is now here, they should have never let me in the game in the first place, and I’m taking this over.

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