A$AP Rocky's debut album Long.Live.A$AP is shaping up to be the first blockbuster release of 2013. After an impressive list of producers and features hit the Internet earlier this week, Hive called up Rocky to press him on the stories behind his collaboration choices. He obliged with tales of hitting up raves with Skrillex, how Danger Mouse inspired him, and details about the type of weed that fueled the Long.Live.A$AP studio sessions.
Looking at the tracklist, production from Skrillex on "Wild for the Night" jumps out immediately. How did you hook up with him?
He and I are just actually friends. What ended up happening was we used to go to parties and raves and one day we were chilling at the studio and we did a song and it came out dope so I used it for my album. Sonny [Skrillex] and I go back 'cause we have a mutual friend who introduced us before he blew up. We've known about each other's work. After a while we started hanging out, he was more of a friend than anything, so when we made the song it was more off of friendship than anything.
What's the sound like?
It sounds exactly like you put together A$AP Rocky and Skrillex! If you take dubstep and trap music mixed with the music that I do, that chillwave, you'll get that.
Are you a fan of dubstep?
I don't mind it. I'm not gonna say I'm a fanatic though. It's cool, I listen to it here and there. [Pauses.] I like it when Skrillex does it, and we all go to his shows and go crazy.
How did Danger Mouse end up on the album?
Ah, man, I'm a fan! I just wanted him to be on my album so bad! I'm a fan of Gnarls Barkley and even back when he was remixing Jay-Z's Black Album and stuff like that. I really appreciate his work for that and I've always wanted to work with him since then. So like with him, it was creepy -- my manager just called me and told me, "I got him for you, I got Danger Mouse." I was actually in Canada when we spoke; when I got back to the States I flew out to L.A. and we were in the studio for a week straight.
Watch the video for "Fuckin' Problems" below:
What does the song he produced, "Phoenix," sound like?
We started making the song from scratch with live instruments. He actually has me singing in the background and you can't even tell it's my voice. He inspired me to keep singing.
What are you singing?
I'm singing [breaks into a falsetto voice] "You and I, come to me."
Will we see more A$AP singing in the future?
Um … I don't know, maybe.
Another surprising guest is Florence Welch.
Yeah, but she was a fan of my music and she just reached out. That's how that happened. I was honored. We weren't in the studio together though for that song ["Like I'm Apart"].
In my opinion, Big K.R.I.T.
Watch A$AP Rocky perform the title track "Long.Live.A$AP" at the "Big and Best of 2012" Live Stream:
When did you first come across Action Bronson's music?
About two or three years ago. I thought he sounded like Ghostface Killah!
And Joey Bada$$?
I found out about Joey this year and thought he was dope straight away! So I put him on the album.
Does the title of "1 Train" refer to the New York City subway?
Yeah, because when I heard the production it reminded me of when I used to listen to beats on my iPod sitting on the 1 train, going downtown to Soho and stuff.
What's the most surprising song on the album?
I think the first track, and the track with Danger Mouse is going to be very incredible for people to hear. But the album as a whole is really surprising. I just really want these motherfuckers to understand that I'm not just a quote-unquote rapper and I'm not in some box.
Finally: what sort of weed were you smoking most during the recording of the album?
Kush, OG kush, sativas, and I was smoking a whole lot of reefers.
Long.Live.A$AP arrives January 15 on RCA.