A$AP Ferg on the Importance of Philanthropy, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility
At a time that calls for the protection of minorities and the underprivileged now more than ever, one could venture to say that the spotlight is on those with a platform in more than just the literal sense. It’s these leaders at the forefront of their respective industries who set example and precedent through action and reaction, and with artists like A$AP Ferg placing emphasis on demonstration over mere intention, the trickle- down movement to promote the betterment of society beyond our immediate political climate is, in a way, transcendent.
If you peel away the layers from his exterior, Ferg, a Harlem native, is all heart — his passion unwavering across the board, he’s given every ounce of his being to the arts, and through that, to young fans from Maspeth to Liberia. Here, he shares his thoughts on his latest tracks, honoring the legacy Yams left behind, and supporting the education and welfare of African youth.
CB: You just dropped four new tracks, two of which were with Lil Yachty. What are you most excited about with the release of Furious Ferg?
AF: That was so funny because “Furious Ferg” wasn’t originally an album. A fan put all the songs I put out on Traplord Tuesday and packaged it like an album. I’m excited to put out new music; I know the people have been waiting.
CB: The support system that exists within the Mob is pretty apparent from the outside looking in. Tell us about a specific instance in which you felt or experienced that personally.
AF: Every time a mob member is getting ready to roll out one of their projects, we all get on a group text and get the plans together. Everybody starts posting their projects from fashion to music…it’s a dope thing.
CB: Tell us about the ASAP Foundation.
AF: The ASAP Foundation was started by ASAP Yams’ mom, who wants to continue her son’s legacy. The foundation is dedicated to bringing awareness to drug abuse and providing prevention. I donated a painting to the gala because I wanted to help with her mission.
CB: You recently joined forces with Uniform, a sustainable clothing brand, to release the Traplord collection. Can you tell us a bit about the concept and how it’s impacting the lives of Liberia’s kids?
AF: Becoming the creative director for Uniform was a big deal and I take the title very serious[ly]. Earlier this year I spent two weeks in Liberia, visiting the schools we are providing uniforms to, and visiting the factories. Uniform and my brand, Traplord, came together to create a collection that gives a uniform to a child through every purchase from the collection. It also provides jobs to the women who work in the factories.
CB: What did it feel like to go to Liberia and personally experience the environment? How did that affect the work you put into the collection?
AF: Going to Liberia was a humbling experience. It made me appreciate life on a whole other level. It showed me not to take anything for granted. People are really poor in West Point, Liberia, but you could never tell because of how happy they are. This also showed me it’s not what you have that makes you happy — it’s about making the best of your situation. I used the people of West Point to model the collection and did the whole photo shoot in Africa.
CB: Your businessman roots trace back to junior high school when you sold custom painted t-shirts to your classmates. Do you hope or anticipate that the kids who benefit from the Traplord x Uniform project will be inspired by your entrepreneurial spirit and feel empowered to follow suit?
AF: I believe they will be inspired to become who they want to become. Something as simple as a uniform changes a kid’s outlook. Looking the part is a huge step in becoming who you want to be. It’s dressing for success.
CB: You’re performing at Peterpalooza in Maspeth later this month — tickets run at $25, which is arguably much more affordable than most shows of similar caliber. Would you say that bringing accessible music to the masses is something that’s important to you? And to A$AP Mob as a whole?
AF: I always want to make music that would go around the world and touch people globally.
CB: In the same vein, you’ve said in the past that you’ve made it a point to “bring back kids dancing and having fun again.” What are some other things you value in reaching young fans?
AF: I just want to kick it with the fans and inspire them to be whoever they want to be.
CB: How has activism, in general, played a part in your career thus far? How do you view the importance of using your platform for the betterment or benefit of society now versus in the beginning?
AF: I have a huge platform, therefore I have huge responsibilities. I’m raising kids with my experiences that I rap about. They can learn the good, bad, and ugly.
CB: You’ve cited Diddy as being a major inspiration to you. How has he specifically influenced your work and your life in general?
AF: Diddy lives out his dreams to the fullest and I want to do the same. The levels he has taken his career to are impressive — I know he worked very hard to become who he is and I look forward to my efforts to help me reach my dreams.
CB: What do you do in your spare time when you’re not working on your music?
AF: When I’m not working on music, I’m probably touring and coming up with video concepts. I recently took some piano lessons. I’m just trying to better my quality of music and make the best art possible.
CB: Do you have any current or upcoming plans to further support charitable endeavors with your art in the pipeline?
AF: I will always continue to support any charity I believe can help someone. There is more to come.
By: Céline Bossart
Photographer: Eniko Szucs
Retouching: Davide Illiano
Stylist: Ani Hovhannisyan
Grooming: Anneliese Tieck (Judy Casey Inc., Becca Cosmetics)
Manicurist: Ami Vega (See Management, Chanel)
Assistant Stylist: Tasheema Felder
Location: The Oakman
Spread One: Left Page: Suit And Turtleneck: Issey Miyake, Necklace: Dior Homme / Right Page: Jacket: Neil Barrett, Shirt: Philipp Plein, Glasses: Depuis 1924, Pants: Ferg’s Own
Spread Two: Left Page: Hoodie: Traplord, Coat: Kenzo, Shoes: Nike, Goggles: Dior Homme Right Page: Turtleneck: Philipp Plein, Jacket: Dior Homme, Ring: Roberto Coin, Glasses: Vintage Christian Dior From Depuis 1924
Spread Three: Hoodie: Asos, Coat: Drome, Necklace And Pants: Marcelo Burlon
Spread Four: Left Page: Hoodie: Traplord, Coat: Kenzo, Shoes: Nike, Goggles: Dior Homme / Right Page: Sweatshirt: Alexander Wang, Jacket: Juun J, Pants: Adidas X Alexander Wang, Necklace: Vitae Ascendere