A$AP Ferg
6.8.2016

Exclusive: A$AP Ferg Talks BET Experience, A$AP Mob Album, & Touring with Tory Lanez

A$AP Ferg is making a habit of reaching new levels.

Following the April release of his star-studded sophomore album, Always Strive and Prosper, the Harlem wordsmith has taken the show on the road for his “Level Up Tour” with Tory Lanez. During the 26-date run, the duo will make a stop at the BET Experience at L.A. Live, an annual showcase that’s also slated to feature 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Fetty Wap, and more.

In the midst of all of this, the Trap Lord is also working on more videos from A.S.A.P, as well as new material with his A$AP Mob brothers. Plus, the crew is hard at work on the A$AP Yams-inspired Cozy Tapes.

While Ferg continues to “Strive” for greatness, Rap-Up spoke with the A$AP Mob spitter about it all.

You’re sharing the BET Experience stage with Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, and your “Level Up” tourmate Tory Lanez. How does it feel to be part of that lineup?
It feels good, man. I’m happy to be there as part of the festivities, and to see these people performing as well. I already know what Tory is gonna give because he does it every night with me on the “Level Up Tour.” So I know that’s gonna be a dope look, as well as Usher, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz. Them dudes go off. And Usher’s a legend so I’m looking forward to seeing those guys.

What do you have in store for your performance?
I mean, if you know an A$AP Ferg performance, it’s just gonna be straight up mayhem, turnt up. A lot of energy. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, performing my new songs and old joints. I got them anthems that’s gonna just make people jump around. I’m looking forward to that.

What do you think of the critical and commercial response to Always Strive and Prosper?
It’s good. I feel like it reached the masses this time around. I feel like the first album we put out was the initial introduction to Ferg. It grabbed those base fans, but this one grabbed new fans who didn’t necessarily know who Ferg was. Now, I did songs with Missy. I’m getting played on “SportsCenter.” I’m in arenas and things like that now, so the music is traveling further and these bigger platforms, like ESPN playing my stuff is basically spreading my music like wildfire and getting those guys who didn’t know who I was to get into the music. It’s making a bigger fan base for me.

Have you been able to shoot more music videos? You’re on a spree right now.
Oh, definitely. We just finished the Big Sean video for “World Is Mine” off my album. I got the “Back Hurt” video coming with the Migos. And I got a few other things coming as well, but those are the two main joints we’ve got locked up. I can tell you, they’re turnt up. It’s some of the best work that I’ve been doing because I’ve got some really good songs and features on this album so I really wanted to make the visuals just as good. The “World Is Mine” video is a damn movie. Everybody knows A$AP, the Mob in general, we’re known for our videos. Now, I’m on a new level, so I’ve got people that’s willing to do things and assist in a bigger way now, so it also looks like I’m on a new level when you see these videos.

You’ve also got Missy on “Strive.” Are we going to get a video for that? Do you have a concept for it yet?
Oh yeah. The concept been ready. I write the treatments as soon as I finish the songs. The treatment is done. The looks and visuals and everything is done. It’s just actually finding the right time to shoot the visual because with her busy schedule and me being on tour, we’re all over the place. But we’re gonna get together to do that. I speak to her all the time.

Let’s talk about the “Level Up Tour.” What made Tory the perfect tourmate for this?
Tory got that energy. He reminds me of when I first started doing shows. He gives 110 percent every night. I knew Tory way before he had a single on the radio. He used to come kick it with me and [our mutual friend] Sasha, who books a lot of shows and festivals and things like that. I met Tory early on. He did the “Shabba” remix, his own version, and killed it. And I just kept my eye on him for a long time. He’s been in the game for a long time, even back with Sean Kingston. Coming out of that situation and kind of revamping himself, he’s always been working and working hard. He’s a hard worker and I like that about people. I like to know, if I’m gonna collab with an artist or if I’m gonna tour with an artist, this is not gonna be it. He’s gonna keep going further and he’s gonna keep excelling as an artist. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

Have you and Tory recorded more collaborations? Is there a chance that we can get a joint project from you two?
Definitely. He’s a good kid and I like working with him, so yeah. We’ve got the studio on the bus so it’s possible, definitely.

There’s been a lot of talk of an A$AP Mob album coming this year. Can you shed some light on what you have in store for that LP?
We’re just working. We’ve got a lot of friends on that album. I don’t want to speak too many names. It’s kind of early in the game for that, but we still working on it. It’s gonna be a masterpiece when it’s done.

Cozy Tapes is also coming. What have you been able to contribute to that project in the memory of Yams?
For the Cozy Tapes, the Mob was together for like a week just working on different songs. Everybody’s on tour so when we get together, we just conjure up different ideas and record music. That’s how we came up with “Yamborghini High.” We all have a bunch of different ideas. I’ll send songs and ideas. Rocky will send me joints to jump on. I’ll send him joints to jump on. It’s that kind of thing until we get up again and go through everything again, but we’ve got a lot of songs together. A lot of music in this past year, of just passing along ideas and things like that.

To see you guys celebrating life after Yams’ passing has been great. Can you speak to why that was important for you?
It was just important to us as a brotherhood. It’s not about us being rap artists or celebrities or doing it for the cameras. It’s important that we speak to one another and take time out of our busy schedules to do regular things. Most of the time, when we get up, we’re so busy catching up that the music is secondary. We want to get to the music because that’s what people want from us, but I want to know how my brothers is doing, how they’ve been, how’s the road? How’s life? People go through so much change, but it’s important that we communicate with each other and see each other.

Can you take me through the process of making “I Love You” with Chris Brown?
I bought the beat from Hagler. I went to work in Canada with Hagler, Noah [40] Shebib, and a bunch of OVO’s camp, to get some production. I brought two beats to Chris Brown and that was one of the beats. I orchestrated that whole song. I put Ty Dolla $ign and Chris Brown on there…We was all going through things in our relationships at the time so I guess that was an apology song.

Always Strive and Prosper is also all about your family. Why was it so important to shed light on the stories that you share from your upbringing on this album?
I wanted fans to understand who Ferg was more than I put out there. When A$AP Mob blew up, we kind of blew up overnight. We was just everywhere. People knew the hits but didn’t know the b-side songs. Only the real fans knew that. So I kind of wanted to take people a couple of steps back to let them know who Ferg is, where I come from, and my story. Then we can jump back to scheduled programming. I think it’s important that you know who your favorite artist is and who you’re invested in. There are a lot of artists putting out singles, turning up, and they’re here today, gone tomorrow. There’s more longevity when you have some type of substance and you’re not a hollow artist. I don’t want to be hollow with a bunch of songs just on the surface. So I made songs about where I’m from, about “Hungry Ham,” my uncle “Psycho,” my moms, my grandmother, and just my perspective on life.

Catch A$AP Ferg at the BET Experience at L.A.’s Staples Center on June 25. Tickets are on sale now.

—Andres Tardio