Mayers at South by Southwest; 2019
Rakim Athelaston Mayers
October 3, 1988
|Other names||Lord Flacko|
|Agent||William Morris Endeavor|
Rakim Athelaston Mayers (born October 3, 1988), known professionally as ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky; //, AY-sap), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, model, actor, and music video director. He is a member of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.
In August 2011, Rocky's single "Peso", was leaked online and within weeks received radio airplay. Rocky released his debut mixtape Live. Love. A$AP later that year to widespread critical acclaim. The success of his mixtape led to a record deal with Polo Grounds Music, RCA Records, and Sony Music Entertainment. His debut studio album Long. Live. A$AP (2013) was also well received by critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and its hit single "Fuckin' Problems" was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 2014 Grammy Awards. In 2015, Rocky released his second album titled At. Long. Last. A$AP. The album was Rocky's second consecutive album to debut at number one the Billboard 200 and received mostly positive reviews from music critics. The album's single, "L$D", was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2016 Grammy Awards. In 2018, Rocky released his third album Testing, which peaked in the top five of seven countries.
Rocky has won a BET Award, two BET Hip Hop Awards, a MTV Video Music Award Japan and a MTVU Woodie Award, as well as being nominated for two Grammy Awards, six World Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and two MTV Europe Music Awards. Rocky has also directed music videos for himself, Danny Brown, and other A$AP Mob members. Furthermore, he is a noted record producer, producing under the pseudonym Lord Flacko.
Rakim Mayers was born on October 3, 1988, in Harlem a neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. His father is from Barbados. He had an older sister, Erika B. Mayers, Mayers' first name was taken from the hip hop artist Rakim, one half of the Eric B. & Rakim duo. His cousin is fellow ASAP Mob member ASAP Nast.
Mayers started rapping at age nine, when he moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He learned how to rap from his older brother, who also wore the Hair twists hairdo that Mayers later adopted. When Mayers was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs; he died in 2012. When Mayers was 13, his brother was killed in Harlem. The death inspired Rocky to take rapping more seriously. Mayers grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats. He was also influenced by Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Run DMC, Wu-Tang Clan, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
A$AP Rocky sold cannabis and crack while moving around homeless shelters with his mother and sister. At age 15, he was selling crack in the Bronx. After living for a period in a shelter with his mother in New York City, he moved to midtown Manhattan. In 2004, Mayers served two weeks in Rikers Island for drug dealing, where he shared a cell with future rapper Casanova.
2007–11: Career beginnings and Live. Love. A$AP
In 2007, A$AP Rocky joined the A$AP Mob crew, a Harlem-based collective of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers, and bikers who shared similar interests in music, fashion, style, and art. It had been formed by A$AP Yams, A$AP Bari and A$AP Illz. In July 2011, Rocky released his single "Purple Swag" which quickly became a street anthem in New York City.
In August 2011, Rocky's 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. A$AP to critical acclaim and signed a two-year, $3 million record deal with RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. Upon his record deal, Rocky started a label, A$AP Worldwide, with A$AP Yams. On December 5, he was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 poll.
2012–14: Touring and Long. Live. A$AP
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 A$AP Twelvyy of jumping Raider Klan's Matt Stoops and subsequently disassociated himself from A$AP 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 2012, 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 he was then 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. A$AP, along with several producers, such as Clams Casino, Hit-Boy, Friendzone, A$AP Ty Beats, Soufein3000 and Joey Fat Beats. "Goldie" was released as the album's first single on April 27. On August 27, his crew A$AP Mob released the mixtape Lords Never Worry as a free download. During September through November, Rocky promoted the album with the 40-date national concert tour, the Long Live ASAP Tour, with opening acts ScHoolboy Q, Danny Brown, and A$AP Mob. Long. Live. A$AP was released on January 15, 2013, to mostly positive reviews from critics. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 139,000 copies in the United States. As of March 13, 2013[update], it has sold 284,000 copies. On March 16, 2015, Long. Live. A$AP was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for the shipment of 500,000 copies in the United States.
On April 12, 2013, in an interview at Wild 94.9 radio station, Rocky revealed that he was working on an instrumental album, which he plans on releasing without notice. He even discussed his favorite music videos and talked about his desire to collaborate with veteran rapper André 3000. On June 21, Rocky told MTV News that 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 was originally set to be released during the summer for free download. However, that album was delayed with no other release date announced. Rocky previewed two snippets that might make the Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) compilation, titled "Riot Rave" and "Unicorn".
2015–17: At. Long. Last. A$AP
On March 16, 2014, Rocky has announced that he was working on his second studio album, entitled A.L.L.A. (an acronym for At. Long. Last. A$AP) which is a follow-up to his debut album, Long. Live. A$AP. Upon the wake of a delay of the ASAP Mob album, L.O.R.D., Rocky subsequently collaborated with cohorts A$AP Ferg, Nast and Twelvyy on the album's third single, "Hella Hoes", which was released on June 6, 2014. Nonetheless, A$AP Mob leader A$AP Yams announced on his Tumblr account that the album had been shelved.
On October 3, 2014, his 26th birthday, Rocky launched a short-lived music giveaway called Flacko Jodye Season, which first premiered with "Multiply", which featured additional vocals from Juicy J; later released on iTunes one week after its premiere.
On New Year's Day 2015, Rocky released his second album's lead single, "Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)", a sequel to "Pretty Flacko". Then, on January 18, seventeen days after the single's release, Rocky's mentor and partner, Steven "A$AP Yams" Rodriguez, died at the age of 26. However, some reports later stated that Yams' cause was ruled acute mixed drug intoxication while Rocky and several A$AP Mob members and affiliates said that the late leader of the collective died due to his sleep apnea, which caused asphyxiation and pulmonary aspiration. Weeks after Yams' death, Rocky revealed that At. Long. Last. A$AP was executive-produced by rapper Juicy J, producer Danger Mouse, Rocky and Yams themselves.
In 2015, Rocky appeared in a cameo role in the indie comedy-drama, Dope. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2015. It opened in all movie theaters on June 12. There at the event, Rocky explained his expressions and grief over the death of his own friend and partner; performed "Multiply" on-stage as a dedication to his loving memory, minutes before running backstage to calm down.
On April 8, 2015, the rapper released a song, titled "M'$", debuted during an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy, and was released on the iTunes Store two days later, however, it was announced that the song was not an official single from the album. The album, however, did include a remixed version of the track that replaced Rocky's second verse with a guest verse from Lil Wayne. On May 9, Rocky unveiled the album's cover art on his official Instagram page, with the caption "AT LONG LAST...." On the same day, he then released the album's alternative artwork and released the album's second single, titled "Everyday" featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson (the latter of which also produced the track alongside Emile Haynie). Rocky also announced that the release date for A.L.L.A. was updated to June 2, 2015; however, on May 25, 2015, around 6:00 PM EDT, the album leaked online, approximately one week before its expected release. Subsequently, Rocky tweeted to announce that the album will be released at midnight (May 26), changing the date a week early.
Upon its release, At. Long. Last. A$AP received generally positive to mixed reviews from music critics. Overall, the album was supported by the release of three singles: "Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)", "Everyday" and "L$D". At. Long. Last. A$AP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 116,000 copies in the United States. In conclusion to this, it also gave Rocky his second consecutive number one album on the charts to date. In Canada, the album debuted at number one, with 11,000 copies sold. The album has spent two more weeks beyond the top ten of the Billboard 200. As of July 2015[update], the album has sold 215,000 copies in the United States. It has sold 60,662 copies in the United Kingdom, as of June 2015[update]. However, despite being his second consecutive number-one album, At. Long. Last. ASAP began to decline in album-equivalent sales, becoming Rocky's lowest-selling album in his career.
On June 11, 2015, Rocky was featured on The Tonight Show, where he performed the song "L$D" with The Roots. In June, it was confirmed that he was featured on the single "Good for You" by Selena Gomez. In June 2015, he appeared on the "Carpool Karaoke" segment of The Late Late Show, riding with Rod Stewart and host James Corden.
Rocky is featured on "Blended Family (What You Do for Love)", a track written with Alicia Keys for her sixth studio album Here in 2016. He is also featured on two tracks from the 2017 album Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey. The tracks are called "Summer Bummer", which also features Playboi Carti, and "Groupie Love". He also featured in "Pick It Up" by Famous Dex, released in October 2017.
2018–present: Testing and All Smiles
On January 23, 2018, ASAP Rocky released "☆☆☆☆☆ 5IVE $TAR$" on SoundCloud, produced by Metro Boomin, Frans Mernick, Jordan Blackmon and Daniel Lynas and featuring uncredited vocals by DRAM. Over the following two days he shared "Above", produced by Mernick and "Money Bags Freestyle (Dean Blunt Meditation)", produced by Blunt and featuring uncredited vocals by Lil Yachty. The songs were captioned "TESTING COMING SOON" and "THIS IS JUST A TEST", leading to speculation that they were in promotion of an upcoming studio album entitled Testing. On February 16, Rocky collaborated with Gucci Mane and 21 Savage for "Cocky", in promotion of the film Uncle Drew. He released the single "Bad Company" on March 27. It features rapper BlocBoy JB, as well as further allusions to Testing in its marketing. On April 5, he released a second single: "ASAP Forever". The song samples record producer Moby's 2000 single "Porcelain", crediting him as a featured artist. It was premiered on The Tonight Show alongside new track "Distorted Records", and a music video was released the following day. A day later he was featured on the song "One Track Mind", from rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars' fifth studio album America.
On May 25, 2018, Rocky released Testing to generally positive reviews from critics. Testing debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200, becoming ASAP Rocky's third consecutive top-five album on the chart. In its second week, the album dropped to number 15, with 26,000 album-equivalent units (1,000 copies). The following week, Testing dropped to number 22 on the chart. On July 23, 2018, Rocky and Tyler, The Creator announced a collaborative project, WANGSAP, by releasing a music video of a remix of Monica's "Knock Knock" named "Potato Salad" on AWGE's "AWGE DVD (Vol. 3)". However, on January 23, 2019, Tyler, the Creator announced this album never existed.
On August 28, 2019 ASAP Rocky released his music video entitled, “Babushka Boi.” It was directed by Nadia Lee Cohen.
In May 2019, Juicy J announced Rocky began working on his upcoming album All Smiles.
In October 2011, Rocky signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment worth $3 million ($1.7 million of which was earmarked for his solo work; $1.3 million earmarked to fund his company). Rocky said that he sought a "bigger platform" for him and his collective with the deal. His first studio album planned to be under the deal, but it allowed him to continue releasing mixtapes through Sony/RED. Fellow rapper and A$AP Mob member A$AP Ferg also signed a joint venture deal with RCA-distributed Polo Grounds Music, who released his single "Work", for retail on iTunes, and later announced an official remix featuring Rocky, French Montana, ScHoolboy Q and Trinidad James.
In 2013, he released his A$AP merchandise brand, and went to collaborate with high-profile fashion designer and close friend Raf Simons. On October 2, 2014, A$AP Rocky announced he had officially signed a contract for worldwide representation with William Morris Endeavor.
In February 2016, Guess released a collaboration with Rocky called GUE$$, which was inspired by Rocky's admiration for the brand's vintage '90s clothing that he wore while growing up.
Rocky was a pescetarian. In 2012, he transitioned to a vegetarian diet with the help of his vegan manager after learning the horrors of the poultry industry. In his 2019 single "Babushka Boi", Rocky stated he is now a vegan.
In July 2012, he was sued for allegedly violently attacking an innocent man after being spotted doing illegal drugs in a clothing store in New York. He was later arrested for assaulting two amateur photographers who took photos of the incident. That incident ended with a plea bargain where he pled guilty to grand larceny for trying to take their cameras.
On August 31, 2013, Mayers allegedly slapped a woman during the Budweiser Made in America Festival. He was charged "with misdemeanor simple assault, a class two misdemeanor". The case was dismissed after a witness failed to appear in court. The woman later filed a lawsuit in July 2014, asserting that she still suffered certain conditions as a consequence of the alleged assault. Mayers stated that he never touched the woman in question and that she "should have known that there could be trouble in place with so many people". The lawsuit was settled between the two in April 2015.
In 2016, Mayers was involved in a fistfight in New Zealand after refusing to let a man board the elevator he was on.
In January 2019, Mayers was involved in a scuffle in Toronto. A video shows him holding a bottle while barking at a man kneeling on the ground while holding his face.
Assault in Sweden
In July 2019, Mayers was arrested initially for aggravated, then for simple assault in Stockholm, Sweden, after an altercation in the street against Mustafa Jafari and another person that involved Mayers and three of his entourage on June 30. Jafari was beaten, kicked, and cut with broken bottles when down on the ground. He suffered several cuts, requiring stitches, and a fractured rib. Mayers uploaded two videos of the incident to Instagram. In the first, he and his entourage repeatedly ask two young men, including Jafari, to stop following them as the latter complains about his headphones. In the other, created from footage of assorted events, Jafari's headphones break during a scuffle, and he is seen hitting Mayers' bodyguard with them. A woman is also seen in the video, accusing the two men of groping. Both Aftonbladet and TMZ have also published videos showing part of the scuffle. Mayers published an edited video on Instagram where some things had been removed. In the unedited video, a bodyguard can be seen lifting the victim as well as a voice saying "Now we gotta fuck this ..." and Mayers saying "Go somewhere, you are going to get fucked up". Surveillance footage shows the initial contact where the bodyguard attacked Jafari. Henrik Olsson Lilja, the defense attorney for Mayers, maintained that his client acted in self-defense after being attacked by Jafari.
Following the altercation, Jafari was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Mayers' bodyguard filed a counter-complaint against Jafari, and Jafari was initially suspected of harassment and minor assault or possibly attempted assault. The investigation against Jafari was dropped as prosecutors said he acted in self-defense, after being grabbed by the neck and pushed by the bodyguard. Mayers was arrested after being allowed to finish his gig at Stadion. As it was judged there was a risk that he may flee or tamper with evidence, he was kept in custody at Kronoberg Remand Prison until the trial, with two members of his entourage also under arrest. Mayers' ongoing tour was then put on hiatus due to the trial. If he was found "not guilty", he could have reportedly been compensated more than $2 million.
He was visited by personnel from the US embassy shortly after his arrest. Several US artists called for a boycott of Sweden due to the incident. A petition to release him was started. Though there were initial reports by TMZ claiming Mayers was being held in inhumane conditions, based on "a source close to Rocky", Mayers denied those reports through his Swedish lawyer. The alleged "inedible" food included turkey, veal, and rhubarb pie with custard. Mayers' attorney Henrik Lilja also refuted the claims, stating that his client "has been treated correctly." The family asked Al Sharpton for help. US President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Rocky's release. Former US ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski suggested that the government should intervene and speculated that racism may have been the cause of the brawl. Foreign minister Margot Wallström said the government is not allowed to interfere citing Chapter 11 §3 of the Swedish constitutional Instrument of Government which explicitly forbids the interference of politicians, or unrelated government offices, in the work of the courts of law. Ove Bring, professor emeritus in international law and former international law adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented that he found it strange that an ambassador does not understand the concept of separation of powers. Fredrik Wersäll, former Prosecutor-General of Sweden, also expressed surprise.
According to Dennis Martinsson, a criminal law professor in Sweden, keeping the suspect in detention is normal in this type of case. He also said in mid-July that the case would likely end in prosecution. The police conducted a search of the hotel room of Mayers' manager. Mayers hired a new defense lawyer. In a move that was highly unusual in Swedish criminal history, his US management hired a PR firm. On July 19, the prosecutor asked for an extension until July 25 to finish the investigation. First Lady Melania Trump and Kanye West asked Trump to get involved in Mayers' case, with assistance from the State Department. Trump thereafter tweeted "Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky's incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!"  Carl Risch from the US Department of State visited Sweden to meet with Mayers and the two other suspects, as well as the Swedish foreign office. The President told Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven he would personally bail Mayers out, "or an alternative." Sweden does not have a bail system; the Prime Minister responded that Swedish courts are independent, and that the Swedish government is not allowed to interfere. Former Prime Minister Carl Bildt expressed support for Löfven's position. Rebecca Kanter, a 26-year-old woman, was apprehended after vandalising and making bomb threats against the Swedish embassy in Washington at a protest against the alleged treatment of Mayers.
On July 25, Mayers was formally charged with assault causing visible bodily harm. Under interrogation, Mayers stated that the two men asked his entourage about "the road [they were on]". He claimed they came back and hit his guard, which led to a fight. They kept following them and tried to hit him, which led to the brawl. The prosecutor Daniel Suneson stated he had evidence against Mayers in the form of witness statements, and videos available on the Internet and on CCTV. Suneson said he had procured SMSes of his crew: one from his bodyguard about different versions of events, and another from an assistant showing they had uploaded edited videos on Instagram and asking Mayers to destroy everything on his cellphone. The DNA on the bottle allegedly used in the assault was also analyzed.
Jafari told the police that he first approached Mayers' entourage to ask if they had seen his missing friend, not knowing who they were, but was told by the guard to go away, and then pushed. When he refused, the guard grabbed him by the neck and lifted him up, which is supported by a photo from a surveillance camera installed at a Max Hamburgers restaurant. Some people close to Mayers claimed Jafari himself had broken his headphones, though he claimed it was the bodyguard, explaining that was why he was after them. The police later retrieved them from up on a roof over Kungshallen where they were thrown, but not by Jafari.
The police investigation resulted in a 552-page report that included text messages and surveillance footage stills.
The trial started on July 30. Present at the trial was Robert C. O'Brien, the US president's Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs. He demanded a hotel room for Mayers and the other suspects and threatened "negative consequences" if the case was not resolved quickly. The prosecutor said that the trio of suspects "intentionally, together and in agreement assaulted the plaintiff by administering punches and kicks. In addition, Rakim Mayers has, with force, thrown the plaintiff on the ground. During the assault, hits have been administered with a weapon in the shape of a whole and/or parts of a glass bottle." The victim sought 139,700 Swedish krona (approximately $14,200) in damages. Mayers pleaded "not guilty". Two of the witnesses against Mayers were afraid to appear in court and gave their statements by video link instead. The trial came to an end on August 2 and Mayers was released from custody, while the verdict was scheduled for August 14. The decision meant that there were no longer any grounds to keep the suspects in probation, but did not say anything about the issue of guilt. The same day, he left the country on his private jet. If the final sentence was longer than time already served, they would have had to go back to Sweden to serve the remaining time.
Sentence was passed on August 14. Mayers was convicted of assault and given a suspended prison sentence and had to pay 12,500 kr ($1,270) in damages to the victim. The court could not decide who used the bottle, but said it was not a case of self-defence. As Mayers had already served over a month in jail for the incident before the sentence was handed out, it was determined that he did not need to serve any additional time. The conviction does not bar him from returning to Sweden. Mayers did not wish to appeal the conviction.
|Jeremy Scott: The People's Designer||Himself||Documentary|
|Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping||Himself|
|2018||All Rise||William King|
|2020||Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics||Himself|
|2015||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Himself||Episode: "A$AP Rocky Wears a Black Button Up Jacket and Black Sneakers"|
|2016||Animals.||Bodega Cat 2 (voice)||Episode: "Flies."|
|2016||The Eric Andre Show||Himself||Episode: "Stacey Dash; Jack McBrayer"|
|2016||Marvel Avengers Academy||Falcon||Voice|
|2012||"National Anthem"||Lana Del Rey||John F. Kennedy||Lead role|
|2013||"Hold On, We're Going Home"||Drake||Guest Star|
|"White Walls" (featuring Schoolboy Q and Hollis)||Macklemore & Ryan Lewis||Guest Star|
|2015||"Picture Me Rollin'"||Chris Brown||Guest Star|
|2016||"Reminder"||The Weeknd||Guest Star|
|"What The Fuck Right Now"||Tyler, the Creator||Guest Star||Featured on remix|
|"Surfin'"||Kid Cudi||Guest Star|
|"Nikes"||Frank Ocean||Guest Star|
|2017||"See You Again"||Tyler, the Creator||Guest Star|
|"Who Dat Boy/911"||Guest Star||Featured on song|
|2019||"Issues/Hold On"||Teyana Taylor||Guest Star|
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I don't eat meat. At all. Four years now. No chicken, no pork, no beef, no turkey. Fish, yes. I'm a pescatarian. One day, I was going to an interview and people were giving away live chickens. It was the worst smell ever. I just don't want to eat something that smells like that when it's alive. That was disgusting.
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Melania Trump, invited to speak by the President, said: "We'll be working with the State Department and we hope to get him home soon."
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Mr. O’Brien is the president’s special envoy for hostage affairs. “The president asked me to come here and support these American citizens,” Mr. O’Brien said in an interview. “I’ll be here until they come home.”
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