By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
In the hype and haze between the viral success of ASAP Rocky's song "Purple Swag" and the release of his first mixtape, much of the Internet's gaze was directed squarely at the flamboyant, charismatic young Harlemite. Yet, when Rocky's "Live.Love.ASAP" mixtape was released, part of the limelight had shifted. Rocky continued to soar artistically, and his popularity started to boil over into the mainstream to the point where he was collaborating with Rihanna and appearing on TV, but the launch of his first mixtape showed there were others worth watching who used the "ASAP" prefix in their names. The most prominent of them all was ASAP Mob crewmember and fellow New Yorker ASAP Ferg, whose slinky, sinewy ode to codeine and promethazine on "Kissin' Pink" was one of the most ear-catching bits of Rocky's mixtape.
In the months that followed, more information regarding who the otherwise unknown ASAP Ferg was streamed throughout the Internet, but nothing of much significance was leaked. There were some sporadic verses, the usual Twitter and Tumblr posts, and a part, of course, in an ASAP vs. Nardwuar video. It wasn't until the release and subsequent explosion of his grandiose streetrap anthem "Work" that everyone was forced to pay attention to one of the "other" ASAPs.
"I knew it was going to be big once my friends started saying it a lot. When I play my songs to people and they memorize the hooks or certain lyrics, I know that's the song I need to put out. I kind of knew it was going to be big already, and its breaking boundaries was kind of like mind-boggling to me," Ferg says. "It went from me playing Pitchfork and the FADER Fort and people knowing the song there to going to a club or a strip club in New York and them knowing the song there, too. It was just breaking a lot of boundaries, as far as racial boundaries and different cultures knowing the music."
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From crowded, swampy strip bars on the East Coast to festival grounds on the West, Ferg's "Work" is one of those tracks that can be played to incite everything from moshpit rioting to front-row jubilation. It's the type of crossover indicative of Ferg's style as a whole, which can constantly switch from menacing and rapid-fire to melodic and direct.
"When I make music, I think about making music scores. I put silent movies on in the studio and I try to make music to go with the visuals to that movie. Sonically, I want to take people somewhere else, give them an experience they've never [had] before, as far as the engineered work. I just try to be as creative as possible, try to be different, try to think outside of the box — just let everything come organically," he says.
The young New Yorker has the hunger and passion of others bearing the ASAP banner as well. Just like his idealistic brother-in-rhyme Rocky, Ferg's vision views no limit and is not contained by any boundary. He sees nothing but continual growth for his own artistic brand. Rappers from Lil Wayne to B.I.G. have written songs about the sky being the limit, but Ferg appears to set his sights even farther than that.
"I don't see myself just as a rapper. I see myself as an all-around artist. A visual artist, a producer, a painter — just different art forms. There's no holds barred to what I'm about to bring to the world," Ferg says. "This is a new day where you can just do anything you want to do and exceed at it. I'm just taking that to new levels — I'm all out. The beast is out. They let me in the game so now I'm taking over."
If his record deal, growing following, various co-signs, and the success his ASAP mob brethren have experienced are any indication, this doesn't have to do with the usual pride and bravado that come with being a rapper. His are simply prophetic.