Interview with A$AP Ferg: Striving Never Stops

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Interview with A$AP Ferg: Striving Never Stops

Calkie Fisseha and Gabriella Andrean

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Shot by Brian Harrington

August was a busy month for A$AP Ferg. With the release of his solo mixtape Still Striving, and A$AP Mob‰’s Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2, he has been working around the clock. After his performance in Bender Arena, we had the opportunity to talk to him about staying on the grind, finding balance, and Diddy.

Through club anthems and low-key SoundCloud releases, Ferg has remained a constant in new era hip hop. But it has not always been like that. The road to hip hop success was long, he said. Now that he has made his name, both as a solo artist and part of A$AP Mob, Ferg realized that a lot comes with fame, it‰’s not just money and celebrity status. Advice from his mentors helps keep him focused.

One of those mentors is Sean “Diddy‰” Combs, whose tweets can convince you that you‰’re a millionaire in the making. Ferg‰’s father (also named Ferg) owned a boutique in Harlem and made artwork and t-shirts for many record labels around New York City. Being from Harlem, Diddy and Ferg‰’s father, found themselves in the same circle. They ended up becoming close friends and worked together frequently in the early 90‰’s. In fact, Ferg Sr. designed the iconic logo for Bad Boy Records. A$AP Ferg continues that special relationship with Diddy today. One lesson he learned from Diddy was that speaking things into existence was very real. Diddy had heard too many references to death in 90‰’s hip hop and saw that become reality. Ferg‰’s song “Rebirth‰” on Always Strive and Prosper was originally named something very dark. Diddy told him to stay away from negativity, so he suggested to rename the track “Rebirth.‰” With guidance from people who love and care about him, Ferg has made a conscious effort to focus on the positive.

Shot by Marguerite Tucker

Like any good musician, Ferg‰’s personal growth has reflected in his music. From Trap Lord to Always Strive and Prosper to Still Striving, Ferg has become a better version of himself. Trap Lord gave us raw energy. While Always Strive and Prosper offered us a deeper look into the more vulnerable side of Ferg. Still Striving proves that even after prospering, you must always aim to be the best version of yourself. This growth came after he realized he was his own worst critic. This caused him to throw out tracks that did not have that “club anthem‰” feel. Once he made peace with the fact that not everything has to go platinum like “Work (Remix)‰Û, things changed for Ferg. Real fans appreciate your work for what it is, not the radio play.

Ferg understands that making music in a turbulent social and political time like this is important. During the concert, he made a point to talk about how “someone in office‰” is trying to tear us apart, but that we cannot cooperate with him. Ferg said that music brings people together, as shown by the room full of people of all races. Unity is not an option, it‰’s a requirement.

This message of love and unity led him on a trip to Monrovia, Liberia earlier this year. Ferg and his brand Traplord, collaborated with Uniform, a socially conscious clothing brand, to give school uniforms to children in Liberia. Ferg wanted to be familiar with Uniform‰’s approach, so he decided to visit Liberia. He saw the clothing factories, met with the community, and learned more about Liberian culture. After the trip, he decided that Traplord would produce a special edition line of clothing to benefit the community in Monrovia. For every piece purchased, a uniform would be given to a child. This way, jobs could be created in Uniform‰’s factories and more children would have access to education. Having a school uniform can change the course of a child‰’s life and open the door to many opportunities. Ferg wanted to raise awareness about the importance of childhood education, so he compiled his visit into a documentary. A$AP Ferg in Liberia: Where Stars are Born is exclusively on TIDAL. He hopes to expand his philanthropic work in the future. Ferg knows that fame and fortune is much bigger than himself, and that he must give back to both his community and people around the world.

A$AP Ferg is a genuine guy. There is something commanding, yet gentle about his presence. From hugging and taking pictures with every single student volunteer after his show to his diamond grill clad smile, Ferg‰’s kindness is unmatched. Regardless of all the red carpets, platinum records, and Adidas sneaker deals, Darold Ferguson, Jr. just wants to be the best version of himself. A$AP Ferg has Harlem running through his veins and success on his mind. The only way is up.

Shot by Marguerite Tucker

Still Striving and Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2 are available on your favorite streaming platform.