A$AP Rocky’s a somewhat controversial figure, to say the least. From his 2019 arrest in Stockholm for allegedly punching a fan in the face to his recent charges for assault with a firearm, it is fair to say that the artist has a fiery temperament.
Born and raised in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York, Rocky first emerged with his crew, the A$AP Mobb, in around 2011. Before the infamous “mumble rap” era, A$AP Mobb rose to fame at a similar time to the likes of Odd Future, Taylor Gang and Sad Boys in the early 2010s and was part of what some dubbed the “Second Harlem Renaissance”. Along with artists such as Teyana Taylor, Azealia Banks and Princess Nokia, the early 2010s saw an influx of young black and Latino creatives rise out of Harlem, making the best alternative hip hop.
Like their Harlem counterparts, A$AP Mobb was extremely popular nationwide, but especially in New York, as the city hadn’t produced any quality new artists since the early noughties. Rocky featured on a number of collaborative projects the crew released in their early days. However, it seemed as if Rocky, in particular, was always preparing for a solo career as he would simultaneously release his own solo material while other crew members did not.
As a Harlem native, Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) grew up on a lot of different music, but in an interview with The New York Times stated “I would not consider myself to be a quote unquote real New York rapper don’t even like New York rappers.” However, one Big Apple emcee he did admire growing up was Cam’Ron.
Mayer unveiled that he and his friends were Harlem’s most eccentric and flamboyant kids and that the locals found them weird. Elaborating on this, he stated, “We used to wear Gucci loafers when they were still wearing Air Maxes.” It was this eccentricity that drew Mayers to Cam’Ron, who was known for wearing pink fur jackets and more.
In an interview with Google Play’s 50 Under 30 YouTube series, Rocky revealed his favourite Cam’Ron album, disclosing, “My favourite Ca,mRon album is Come Home With Me. The reason why I like it is because, at that time, Dipset was my everything. I breathed Dipset.”
He continued, “I used to wear the bandana like Juelz Santana. They had the whole of Harlem wearing pink. It was just really flashy, flamboyant Harlem gangsta shit!” You can watch Mayers interview in the video below.