The Tribeca Film Festival has a long tradition of showcasing local indie features, documentaries and foreign films, ranging from acclaimed talent to unknown up-an-coming filmmakers. For the 14th edition, the festival broke tradition and featured a rare live interview segment at Spring Studios with A$AP Rocky on Tuesday night. The Harlem rapper, who will be making his big-screen debut in the upcoming film DOPE, sat down with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson for an hour-long CRWN conversation that covered just about everything. The animated Rocky opened up about his album A.L.L.A., the early beginnings of the A$AP Mob, A$AP Yams and more. Outside of music, we learned that Rocky is over clubbing, prefers Ferraris over Lamborghinis and thinks social media means admitting you’re bored. Overall, it was an entertaining night. BET.com jotted down seven things we learned from A$AP Rocky’s interview.
He’s inspired by his rap peers. Despite Kendrick Lamar calling him out on that one song two years ago, Rocky still respects the work and dedication rappers like Kendrick and J. Cole put into the culture. He lists Earl Sweatshirt and Joey Bada$$, whose recent videos he admires, as well as Action Bronson and Danny Brown as inspirations. “I just want to give y’all dope jiggy s**t at the expense of my own free time. It don’t always have to come with a catch. I want y’all to inspire me,” he said. “Kendrick’s album inspired me. J. Cole’s success inspired me. I want to feel inspired. We gotta keep raising the bar.”
He’s into psychedelics. It’s a well-known fact that rappers love smoking weed. But as for Rocky, he likes to experiment with other drugs, but doesn’t partake in the extreme ones (heroin, meth). He simply doesn't condone them. However, psychedelics — or specifically mushrooms — have helped him gain a new creative perspective while he’s been making music. Much of his instrumental album, Beauty & the Beast: The Slowed Down Sessions Chapter 1, captures the druggy, ambient vibe of someone being under the influence of psychedelics. The self-produced song and video he premiered during the conversation was evident of that.
He prefers to be single. Rocky’s had very public relationships with famous girls (Chanel Iman, Iggy Azalea) in the past. This year, he wants to enjoy being single so he can “flirt” freely and “chill in peace.”
DOPE is of mixture of three films. For being just 26 years old, Rocky is an old soul. After taking a survey on the different age groups in the crowd, he says that DOPE is a combination of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Juice (1992) and Spring Breakers (2013). He plays a Los Angeles-born drug dealer named Dom in the film, but says he wants to do more complicated roles in the future, like a journalist or a brain surgeon. “[Something] elegant. Test my intelligence,” he said.
He doesn’t like using social media. At 843,000 followers, you would think Rocky would be actively on Twitter sharing his every thought. It’s quite the opposite — he rarely tweets. “You wanna know the thing is? It’s almost admitting to the world that you’re extremely bored at the moment,” he joked. However, he admits to checking his DMs on Twitter and Instagram daily for the “womens.” To be young, wild and free.
He asked Mos Def for permission to use the “Pretty Flacko” nickname. Rocky has owned the name Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye II, but he owes the cool moniker to Mos Def. He told a story about how he had to get permission from Mos Def early on his career and went on to explain why his music and acting resume was a huge inspiration to him. He’s a confirmed feature on A.L.L.A.
Pusha T and Mos Def have “some crack” coming. “I swear to y’all Pusha T spitting like he was 19,” Rocky says of a recent studio session with the G.O.O.D. Music rapper. “It made me like hip hop again.”
Be sure to watch the full video of A$AP Rocky’s interview when it drops later this month.
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(Photo: Raven B. Varona)