511

A$AP Rocky, prince of hip-hop

 

Numéro meets A$AP Rocky, fashion icon and figurehead of a new generation reinventing the codes of hip-hop.

Cotton t-shirt, GUESS ORIGINALS X A$AP ROCKY.

Born in Harlem and raised in the ghetto, A$AP Rocky is the figurehead of a new generation that’s busy reinventing the codes of hip hop and broadening its horizons. Fiercely exacting in his music, the rapper also stands out for an innate sense of style that’s rendered him a coveted fashion icon. It’s a unique position at the convergence of different worlds, and one the young prince rightfully claims as his own.

He first appeared on the radar in 2011 with his mixtape Live.Love.A$AP with the effect of a bomb going off. Rap specialists were beside themselves with joy to see a young cat (he was 23 years old) so casually sweep aside the old rifts that rage in the bastions of hip hop (New York vs the Southern States of American). Born in Harlem, A$AP Rocky (his real name is Rakim Mayers) respects his elders in the Big Apple but isn’t following their footsteps. From the south he borrows a swaying flow and slowed down rhythms, all while inventing a new sound that belongs to him alone: “If hip hop is dead / Fuck, let is rest / Reincarnated through me / When she resurrect,” he raps on in the track Out of This World, almost like a founding statement. 

In the wake of Purple Swag, which dwells on his love of da weed, the track Peso reveals another key element in the world of A$AP Rocky: fashion.  In this domain too, a well-informed Rocky scorns the mainstream in favour of more daring, confidential choices, most notably the designers Rick Owens and Raf Simons. In the press the rapper has expressed allegiance to Ann Demeulemeester, tracing the lineage of Belgian style. “She’s a Belgian designer, like my other favourite designers, Raf Simons and Martin Margiela.” His natural charisma, beauty worthy of a modelling contract and very personal way of wearing Adidas trousers or Nike Air Jordan sneakers with pieces by his fetish designers, soon earnt him the status of style icon, whose outfits are scrutinised and frequently copied by other musicians. When he wears a Dries Van Noten jacket the house is flooded with calls from celebrity stylists desperately trying to get hold of the same one. And when he played at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2015 he wore a sweatshirt by the young Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy, known only by the most obsessive of fashion fans.  

Like Jay-Z and Kanye West, who also proclaim their love of Martin Margiela, rappers have only just been knighted by the saint of fashion saints, who’d never before felt implicated by the bling contests and ultra-baggy jeans – an issue so crucial that Kanye West recently Tweeted: “I made it so we could wear tight jeans.” On the question of style and its origins, A$AP Rocky – despite the humour he demonstrates in his lyrics and videos – doesn’t mess around. “Why do journalists talk to me about Kanye?” he retorts when asked about his tutelary figures. “Sure he influenced me when I was young, but you all forget Puff Daddy and Jay-Z, they way more successful than Kanye, they really succeeded in making money from fashion.” Shamelessly glorifying money, sometimes violence, and undeniably sexist, rap has long puzzled an elite repulsed by its provocations. By renewing these codes with intelligence and irony, all without renouncing the transgressions that give this genre its flavour, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rocky have testified to the wealth of their culture, its capacity to reflect our era and above all its ability to constantly evolve. 

 

 

 

By Delphine Roche, portraits by Vijat Mohindra.

 

 

Check out the full article in the Numéro Musique from March 2016, available February 24 th in newsstands and on iPad.

 

 Subscribe to the print edition of Numéro

→ Subscribe to the Numéro iPad app

Who is Ssion, the virtuoso of underground pop?
861

Who is Ssion, the virtuoso of underground pop?

Music Avant-gardist and nostalgic for punk culture, Ssion is a hot ticket in today’s underground pop scene. Passionate about art directing music videos, the Kentucky born artist has also worked for notable musicians including Kylie Minogue, Gossip and Peaches. After a 7-year absence, he’s back in the spotlight with a new album entitled O. Avant-gardist and nostalgic for punk culture, Ssion is a hot ticket in today’s underground pop scene. Passionate about art directing music videos, the Kentucky born artist has also worked for notable musicians including Kylie Minogue, Gossip and Peaches. After a 7-year absence, he’s back in the spotlight with a new album entitled O.

An encounter with Joel Simkhai, founder of Grindr
444

An encounter with Joel Simkhai, founder of Grindr

Culture Despite the rising number of countries that have legalized gay marriage, being homosexual is far from easy in many parts of the world today. Numéro spoke about the situation with Joel Simkhai, the founder of hook-up application Grindr. Despite the rising number of countries that have legalized gay marriage, being homosexual is far from easy in many parts of the world today. Numéro spoke about the situation with Joel Simkhai, the founder of hook-up application Grindr.

A conversation with Jane Fonda
888

A conversation with Jane Fonda

Cinema Militant activist, campaigning actress, Jane Fonda doesn’t scare easily... Militant activist, campaigning actress, Jane Fonda doesn’t scare easily...

Alicia Vikander, the new Lara Croft
2888

Alicia Vikander, the new Lara Croft

Cinema From auteur movies to blockbusters, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander has been piling up the hits in recent years. After winning an Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl, the face of Louis Vuitton is now playing Lara Croft... From auteur movies to blockbusters, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander has been piling up the hits in recent years. After winning an Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl, the face of Louis Vuitton is now playing Lara Croft...

Interview of a self-made man: Michael Kors
852

Interview of a self-made man: Michael Kors

Fashion Numéro met up with New York designer Michael Kors, whose clothes and accessories brilliantly combine a certain American pragmatism with the fantasy of the jet-set lifestyle. Numéro met up with New York designer Michael Kors, whose clothes and accessories brilliantly combine a certain American pragmatism with the fantasy of the jet-set lifestyle.

Who’s the best pastry chef in the world?
804

Who’s the best pastry chef in the world?

Lifestyle Named best pastry chef in the world by the Academy of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants at the ceremony of the same name in New York … We’ve checked out Pierre Hermé’s faultless career. Named best pastry chef in the world by the Academy of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants at the ceremony of the same name in New York … We’ve checked out Pierre Hermé’s faultless career.