Rakim Mayers (born October 3, 1988), better known by his stage name, ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky), is an American rapper from Harlem, New York City. He is a member of the hip hop collective ASAP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker. Rocky released his debut mixtape Live. Love. ASAP, in 2011 to critical acclaim. The success of his mixtape led to a record deal with Polo Grounds Music, RCA Records, and Sony Music Entertainment. He subsequently recorded his 2013 debut album Long. Live. ASAP, which was also well received by critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
Rocky has also directed music videos for himself, Danny Brown and other ASAP Mob members. He is also a noted record producer, producing under the pseudonym Lord Flacko.
ASAP Rocky was born in 1988 in Harlem, New York City. His father was from Barbados. He also has a younger sister. Mayers was named after the hip hop legend Rakim, one half of the Eric B. & Rakim duo. His cousin is fellow ASAP Mob member ASAP Nast.
ASAP Rocky started rapping at age eight. He learned how to rap from his older brother, who also wore the French braids hairdo that Mayers later adopted. When Mayers was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs; he died in 2012. When Mayers was 13, his brother was killed in Harlem. The death inspired Rocky to take rapping more seriously. Mayers grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats. He was also influenced by UGK, Three 6 Mafia, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Run DMC and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
ASAP Rocky sold drugs while moving around homeless shelters with his mother. By age 15, he had been selling crack cocaine in the Bronx. After living for a period in a shelter with his mother and elsewhere around Manhattan, he moved to Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
2007–11: Beginnings and mixtape
In 2007, ASAP Rocky joined the ASAP Mob crew, a Harlem-based collective of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers, and bikers who shared similar interests in music, fashion, style, and art. It had been formed by ASAP Yams, ASAP Bari and ASAP Illz. ASAP was an acronym for "Always Strive and Prosper". On July 8, 2011, an unofficial compilation titled Deep Purple was released, which according to Rocky, was a compilation of his YouTube hits compiled by a fan in Paris.
In August, Rocky's debut single "Peso", was leaked online and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. After he released a music video for his song "Purple Swag", he received attention from several record labels. In October, he released the mixtape Live. Love. ASAP to critical acclaim and signed a two-year, $3 million record deal with RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. Upon his record deal, Rocky started a label, ASAP Worldwide, with ASAP Yams. On December 5, he was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 poll.
2012–present: Touring and Long. Live. ASAP
Beginning in February 2012, Rocky joined Kendrick Lamar as the opening act for Drake's Club Paradise Tour. In June, SpaceGhostPurrp, founder of Miami-based collective Raider Klan and Rocky's past collaborator, accused ASAP Twelvyy of jumping Raider Klan's Matt Stoops and subsequently diassociated himself from ASAP Mob and Rocky in a YouTube video. He and Raider Klan also accused ASAP Mob of copying their style, and Rocky of using lyrics from SpaceGhostPurrp's song "My Enemy" on "Goldie". Rocky responded in a July interview for MTV, saying that SpaceGhostPurrp is "try[ing] to build hype" and told him to "stick to makin' beats".
In July, Rocky performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival. He was scheduled to make his network television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 20, but was arrested the night before after an alleged involvement in a brawl with 21 year old artist iRome. The scuffle took place in downtown Manhattan and the performance was canceled. After it was rescheduled for August 21, Rocky performed "Goldie" on the show. On September 6, he also performed a guest rap on Rihanna's "Cockiness (Love It)" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
Rocky recorded his debut studio album Long. Live. ASAP with producers Clams Casino, Hit-Boy, ASAP Ty Beats, Soufein3000, and Joey Fat Beats. "Goldie" was released as the album's first single on April 27. On August 27, his crew ASAP Mob released the mixtape Lords Never Worry as a free download. During September through November, Rocky promoted the album with a 40-date national concert tour, the Long Live ASAP Tour, with opening acts Schoolboy Q, Danny Brown, and ASAP Mob. Long. Live. ASAP was released on January 15, 2013, to mostly positive reviews from critics. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 139,000 copies in the United States. As of March 13, 2013, it has sold 284,000 copies.
On April 12, 2013 during an interview at Wild 94.9 radio station, Rocky revealed he was working on an instrumental album which he plans to release without notice. He also discussed his favorite music videos and talked about his desire to collaborate with veteran rapper André 3000. On June 21, Rocky told MTV News he had completed his debut instrumental album, which mostly consists of ambient oriented instrumental tracks, titled Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) and is set to be released during the summer for free download.
On March 16, 2014, Rocky has announced that he is working on his second album, which is a follow-up to his debut, Long. Live. ASAP and is scheduled to be released in the end of 2014.
In October 2011, Rocky signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment worth $3 million. $1.7 million of that money was earmarked for his solo work and $1.3 million to fund his company ASAP Worldwide, along with A&R and executive producer Steven Rodriguez (known as ASAP Yams). Rocky said that he sought a "bigger platform" for him and his collective with the deal. His first studio album planned to be under the deal, but it allowed him to continue releasing mixtapes through RED Distribution. Fellow rapper and ASAP Mob member ASAP Ferg, also signed a joint venture deal with Rocky's same labels, RCA and Polo Grounds, who released his single "Work", for retail on iTunes, and later announced an official remix featuring Rocky, French Montana, Schoolboy Q and Trinidad James.
In 2013, he released his ASAP clothing brand, and went to collaborate with high-profile fashion designer and close friend Raf Simons.
In late 2011, Rocky began dating Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, whom he met through Chase N. Cashe. Azalea confirmed that they were dating in an interview with Vibe Magazine released on January 15, 2012. It was around this time that she revealed she had tattooed the title of Rocky's breakout mixtape "Live.Love.A$AP", on her fingers. She also claimed she was not the only one with tattoos dedicated to the relationship. Later, in July 2012, Rocky said they were no longer dating. They seemed to be on and off before officially breaking it off. In March 2013, Azalea revealed she had crossed out the "A$AP" part of the tattoo, stating she had crossed it out months ago.
Around April 2013 he began dating American model Chanel Iman.
ASAP Rocky was arrested in July 2012 for beating a man in a New York clothing store, and two photographers who had been filming the altercation outside. He was subsequently sued for assault by the first man. The confrontation began after Shenick Alcine witnessed ASAP Rocky doing illegal drugs inside the clothing store, sparking the assault. Rocky then attacked two amateur photographers who were recording the incident. ASAP Rocky was eventually charged with assault and robbery for striking the photographers and attempting to take their cameras. In December 2012, Rocky struck a plea deal in the criminal case, pleading guilty to attempted grand larceny, with the assault and robbery charges being dropped.