A$AP Rocky was always going to be a rapper, and his life simply couldn’t have veered down any other route. To solidify that theory, his mother even named him after her favourite musician, an artist that her son has since gone on to emulate.
Over the last decade, Rocky has been one of the most illuminating figures in hip-hop, bursting onto people’s radar with his remarkable 2013 debut, Long. Live. ASAP after releasing a celebrated mixtape with the ASAP Mob a year prior.
After all, rapping has been in his DNA from day one. As a New Yorker, his mother named him Rakim Myers after Rakim from Eric B. & Rakim. It was fate that he’d end up following the same career path as his namesake, who was only 20-years-old when Rocky was born in 1988.
Rakim has been a constant source of inspiration for Rocky. In fact, he revealed to Complex that the rapper’s solo 1997 album, The 18th Letter, was the first album he ever bought when he was a child. “I was about eight or nine years old,” he remembered. “That shit made me really feel like rapping.”
In 2012, during a radio appearance on Hot 97, radio host Angie Martinez surprised Rocky by bringing Rakim in as a special guest during his interview, and his awe-struck face spoke a thousand words. However, that wasn’t the first time that the duo crossed paths. Rakim recalled their first encounter in a later interview, “I remember a long time ago, driving through Harlem. A lady walks across the street. I’m at the light, she walks across the street. She got the carraige and everything.
“She says can ‘you sign this for me?’ I never say no. I say ‘what’s him name?’ Rakim. I’m like word? She’s like Rakim. I sign the joint, I remember that day, cause that was the first time hearing someone named their son after me. Like I said, humbling experience.”
To have somebody named after you is an honour, no matter who the child is, and as Rakim stated that it remained a “humbling experience”. However, when that baby you met in Harlem grows up to become one of the most talented rappers of their generation, that pride is intensified.
Rocky has carved out a career that is a continuation of Rakim’s legacy, with his name a constant reminder of the artists that helped make hip-hop the behemoth of a genre it is today.