Rakim Athelaston Mayers (born October 3, 1988), known professionally as ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky; /ˈeɪsæp/, AY-sap), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, model, actor, and music video director. He is a member of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.
Rakim Mayers was born on October 3, 1988, in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. His father is from Barbados. He had an older sister, Erika B. Mayers, who died in September 2016 following a drug overdose. 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.
A$AP Rocky sold cannabis and crack while moving around homeless shelters with his mother and sister. At age 15, he was selling crack in the Bronx. After living for a period in a shelter with his mother in New York City, he moved to midtown Manhattan. In 2004, Mayers served two weeks in Rikers Island for drug dealing, where he shared a cell with future rapper Casanova.
In 2004, Mayers served two weeks in Rikers Island for drug dealing, where he shared a cell with future rapper Casanova.
In 2007, A$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 2011, Rocky began dating Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. They broke up in 2012. In early 2013, Rocky began dating model Chanel Iman. In April 2014, they were reported to be engaged; however, they separated in June 2014.
Rocky released his debut mixtape Live. Love. A$AP in 2011 to critical acclaim. The success of his mixtape led to a record deal with Polo Grounds Music, RCA Records, and Sony Music Entertainment. His debut studio album Long. Live. A$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$AP. The album was Rocky's second consecutive album to debut at number one the Billboard 200 and received mostly positive reviews from music critics. In 2018, he released his third album Testing.
In August 2011, Rocky's single "Peso", was leaked online and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. After he released a music video for his song "Purple Swag", he received attention from several record labels. In October, he released the mixtape Live. Love. A$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.
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$AP Ferg, also signed a joint venture deal with RCA-distributed Polo Grounds Music, who released his single "Work", for retail on iTunes, and later announced an official remix featuring Rocky, French Montana, ScHoolboy Q and Trinidad James.
Mayers started rapping at age nine, when he moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He learned how to rap from his older brother, who also wore the Hair twists hairdo that Mayers later adopted. When Mayers was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs; he died in 2012. When Mayers was 13, his brother was killed in Harlem. The death inspired Rocky to take rapping more seriously. Mayers grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats. He was also influenced by Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Run DMC, Wu-Tang Clan, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
In February 2012, Rocky joined Kendrick Lamar as the opening act for Drake's Club Paradise Tour. In June, SpaceGhostPurrp, founder of Miami-based collective Raider Klan and Rocky's past collaborator, accused A$AP Twelvyy of jumping Raider Klan's Matt Stoops and subsequently disassociated himself from A$AP Mob and Rocky in a YouTube video. He and Raider Klan also accused ASAP Mob of copying their style, and Rocky of using lyrics from SpaceGhostPurrp's song "My Enemy" on "Goldie". Rocky responded in a July interview for MTV, saying that SpaceGhostPurrp is "try[ing] to build hype" and told him to "stick to makin' beats".
In July 2012, Rocky performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival. He was scheduled to make his network television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 20, but he was then arrested the night before, after an alleged involvement in a brawl, with 21-year-old artist iRome. The scuffle took place in downtown Manhattan and the performance was canceled. After it was rescheduled for August 21, Rocky performed "Goldie" on the show. On September 6, he also performed a guest rap on Rihanna's "Cockiness (Love It)" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.
In July 2012, he was sued for allegedly violently attacking an innocent man after being spotted doing illegal drugs in a clothing store in New York. He was later arrested for assaulting two amateur photographers who took photos of the incident. That incident ended with a plea bargain where he pled guilty to grand larceny for trying to take their cameras.
On July 19, 2012, he was arrested after his alleged participation in a brawl that took place in downtown Manhattan involved a 21-year-old artist named iRome.
In 2013, he released his A$AP merchandise brand, and went to collaborate with high-profile fashion designer and close friend Raf Simons. On October 2, 2014, A$AP Rocky announced he had officially signed a contract for worldwide representation with William Morris Endeavor.
Rocky recorded his debut studio album Long. Live. A$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 , it has sold 284,000 copies. On March 16, 2015, Long. Live. A$AP was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for the shipment of 500,000 copies in the United States.
On April 12, 2013, in an interview at Wild 94.9 radio station, Rocky revealed that he was working on an instrumental album, which he plans on releasing without notice. He even discussed his favorite music videos and talked about his desire to collaborate with veteran rapper André 3000. On June 21, Rocky told MTV News that he had completed his debut instrumental album, which mostly consists of ambient oriented instrumental tracks, titled Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) and was originally set to be released during the summer for free download. However, that album was delayed with no other release date announced. Rocky previewed two snippets that might make the Beauty & The Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) compilation, titled "Riot Rave" and "Unicorn".
On August 31, 2013, Mayers allegedly slapped a woman during the Budweiser Made in America Festival. He was charged "with misdemeanor simple assault, a class two misdemeanor". The case was dismissed after a witness failed to appear in court. The woman later filed a lawsuit in July 2014, asserting that she still suffered certain conditions as a consequence of the alleged assault. Mayers stated that he never touched the woman in question and that she "should have known that there could be trouble in place with so many people". The lawsuit was settled between the two in April 2015.
On March 16, 2014, Rocky has announced that he was working on his second studio album, entitled A.L.L.A. (an acronym for At. Long. Last. A$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, the day of 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.
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.
In March 2015, Rocky said in an interview with MTV News that he made songs such as Wild For The Night and Fuckin’ Problems for mainstream commercial success, and that he now hated those songs.
On April 8, 2015, the rapper released a song, titled "M'$", debuted during an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy, and was released on the iTunes Store two days later, however, it was announced that the song was not an official single from the album. The album, however, did include a remixed version of the track that replaced Rocky's second verse with a guest verse from Lil Wayne. On May 9, Rocky unveiled the album's cover art on his official Instagram page, with the caption "AT LONG LAST...." On the same day, he then released the album's alternative artwork and released the album's second single, titled "Everyday" featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson (the latter of which also produced the track alongside Emile Haynie). Rocky also announced that the release date for A.L.L.A. was updated to June 2, 2015; however, on May 25, 2015, around 6:00 PM EDT, the album leaked online, approximately one week before its expected release. Subsequently, Rocky tweeted to announce that the album will be released at midnight (May 26), changing the date a week early.
On June 11, 2015, Rocky was featured on The Tonight Show, where he performed the song "L$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.
In 2016, Mayers was involved in a fistfight in New Zealand after refusing to let a man board the elevator he was on.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On August 28, 2019 ASAP Rocky released his music video entitled, “Babushka Boi.” It was directed by Nadia Lee Cohen.