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Business of HYPE: A$AP Ferg

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On the Season 5 finale, Jeff sits down with the Hood Pope himself, A$AP Ferg

A rapper, artist and designer, A$AP Ferg stands as one of the most distinguishable entertainers today. From supporting his hometown of Harlem, to sitting front row at fashion shows, he has an impressive body of work, including chart-topping music, a clothing line, and brand collaborations, such as his recent project with Redline Bikes. 

A graduate of Manhattan’s High School of Art and Design, Ferg was originally interested in the arts before rapping. His late father not only worked with Dapper Dan but he also owned his own print shop and created the Bad Boy Records logo. Exposed to the eclectic fashion scene in New York, he attributes musicians, especially rappers like Kanye West, for fusing opposing subcultures. 

“Kanye was the first to hang out with the backpack rappers and talk about what he was wearing. He was hanging out with Dave Chapelle and doing Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, putting Common on the record and then putting Talib Kweli with JAY-Z.  He worked that juxtaposition to the max. That’s where I get that ‘Trap Lord’ or the ‘Cocaine Castle’ or ‘Hood Pope’—that juxtaposition of classy and some extra turnt up shit.”

Ferg still remains in Harlem to this day, in hope to give his community more visibility. He grew up seeing rappers like Jim Jones and Cam’ron become successful yet local to the area. The rapper does admit he recently purchased a home in New Jersey, but only to see “where his money is moving”—all of which inspires him to “work smarter not harder.” Constantly challenging his own endeavors, Ferg boasts an impressive resume of collaborations. Having learned the ropes early on from attending meetings with Rocky, he grew partnerships with adidas, Revlon and Tiffany, just to name a few.

The seasoned rapper now stands at a point in his career where he has the flexibility to move in any direction. He tells us that his goals involve being a creative resource for emerging artists and showcasing his other talents outside of music. Referencing the likes of multifaceted artists like Kanye and Marilyn Manson, he laments the boxed reputation that musicians often fall into. While the rapper has already proven himself as an artist in his own right, he hopes to continually break walls and expand the confined boundaries of musicians. He reminds us that he isn’t here to just “dance” for people, but that as an artist he too has “a lot of knowledge in everything.”

This episode features references to the following:

5:00 – Floor Seats
8:37 – Being an artist
9:51 – Painting
14:34 – Darold Ferguson Sr.
15:12 – Bad Boy Records
18:04 – Stüssy
18:19 – Phat Farm
18:36 – Triple Five Soul
19:05 – Dipset
19:38 – Mos Def
19:50 – Kanye West
20:19 – Meaning behind Trap Lord
20:51 – Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam”
21:21 – Nike Air Raid
21:30 – Air Jordan 8
25:09 – visvim
27:01 – BAPE
28:15 – Devoni
36:00 – Promoting his business
37:04 – Dave East
38:13 – Streaming
39:50 – Jim Jones
49:55 – Cam’ron
49:59 – Juelz Santana
42:23 – Ferg’s team
46:27 – Ben Baller
48:40 – Love of biking
49:42 – Redline Bikes
50:55 – Pharrell
51:50 – Stadium Goods
52:08 – Brand collaborations
52:20 – adidas
54:11 – Jon Wexler
1:00:05 – Goals
1:00:58 – Agolde
1:01:15 – Black Ink Gallery
1:01:52 – Marilyn Manson
1:02:29 – Frustrations
1:04:50 – Virgil Abloh