Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water

A$AP Ferg Is Still Striving Toward Bigger And Better Things

The Harlem rapper catches up with MTV News to talk hair care, merch, growing up, and new music for 2019

Underneath the unending glare of a wide-eyed sun in the Virginia Beach sky, A$AP Ferg’s waves pop off of his scalp. They’re the product of hours of brush work, applying the pressure of boar bristles in one uniform direction until the hair is forced into a pattern. “Even when you don’t have the fresh barber-shop hairline, you will still have the waves spinning,” he says gleefully. You can’t see his eyes behind his expensive shades, but the wide curve and exposure of his golden teeth let you know that, as he sits beneath shady trees before his set at Pharrell’s Something in the Water festival this past weekend, he’s happy. During our interview, his head snaps to a passerby like a curious watchdog. “Your fit is fire, bro,” he says in a hushed whisper.

MTV News caught up with the eclectic rapper to find out what’s been going on since his last album, Still Striving, dropped in 2017. It turns out, he’s been up to a lot. He’s preparing new music to be released, he's making a mental map of merch to put out in the future, and most importantly, he's given himself a new moniker: Flip Phone Shorty. And for those who have always wondered how to get waves like A$AP Ferg, he gives a detailed breakdown of what to do.

MTV News: I know it’s been a few years since Still Striving came out but I wanted to ask you what are you still striving toward in 2019?

A$AP Ferg: I’m still striving to learn how to appreciate the moment because I’m always on the go. I’m also always striving for success and greatness and to create better music, design better clothing, and do bigger collaborations. This year, I’m learning how to just take time away from everything and have more of a vibe with myself, my friends, and to have fun outside of my work.

MTV News: You’ve been the Trap Lord and Hood Pope at different points in your career. What name would you give yourself now?

A$AP Ferg: Flip Phone Shorty!

MTV News: What’s next for Ferg? When can we expect a new album? I saw a picture you posted on Instagram with the caption that you and A$AP Rocky have a lot of music in the cut.

A$AP Ferg: Me and Rocky actually just shot a video together for a song we have called “Pups.” We’re going to release that real soon. And I also have a lot of music about to come out.

MTV News: If you could do a joint album with anyone who would it be?

A$AP Ferg: I would love to do something with Pharrell. I’m not just saying that because I’m performing at his festival today. N.E.R.D. changed my life!

MTV News: It’s been a long six years since Trap Lord dropped in 2013. What has changed musically for you since then?

A$AP Ferg: I have traveled the world so I know a lot more. I’m more aware and more woke to certain things that I wasn’t privy to before. I’m 30 years old and I have more responsibility. I have more money. Certain things that I would do and say, I wouldn’t do now. It doesn’t take my edge away. You just learn how to go about things differently.

MTV News: I just got mine this year but I notice velvet du-rags, at least for you, have been a thing for a while. How long have you been wearing them?

A$AP Ferg: I don’t wear velvet du-rags. Never! They don’t do nothing for your hair. I only wear silky du-rags.

MTV News: How long have you been doing that?

A$AP Ferg: Forever. Since I was like eight years old, just brushing my hair. You have to wear silk. Silk City is a brand from Harlem that has the best du-rags in the world and it’s the only brand that I wear. It’s the brand of du-rags I wore in the “Plain Jane” video with the colored stitching. Brush your hair, throw the hot water on, throw the grease in, and throw the silky on top.

MTV News: How hard are you on proper wave etiquette? In regards to the du-rag, brushing, using pomade, and all that?

A$AP Ferg: I brush my hair every day until my arm gets tired. I don’t have it right now, but usually I’d be brushing my hair while I’m talking to you.

MTV News: It helps the haircut last way longer.

A$AP Ferg: Even when you don’t have the fresh barber-shop hairline, you will still have the waves spinning. I call it the four-quarter spin. You know, like the washing machines in the hood where you put the four quarters in? Like using one of those.

MTV News: What’s the key to longevity in this game to you? There are artists who have to frequently drop to stay relevant, and then you have people like you who can take as much time as needed without fear of dropping off. How do you manage?

A$AP Ferg: Sometimes, I feel like certain things are urgent, more urgent than others. But for the most part, it’s all about quality over quantity for me. I’m an artist. I come from an artist background. I went to an art school. So you see a Basquiat or Picasso — it’s rare. They weren’t putting out back to back to back to back. They might have painted for a month straight and then they might not have painted again for a whole year. They might have gone to Mykonos or somewhere like that to chill, relax, and get inspired. That’s the way I look at music. You have to get inspired or else it will be regurgitated. I’m listening to other types of music right now such as rock, alternative, and pop, that are different from my genre so I will actually have something fresh and new to bring to the table.

MTV News: You dropped a watch collaboration with G-Shock last year, and I wanted to know: What kind of future fashion drops could we expect?

A$AP Ferg: As of now, I have none. But for sure, there will definitely be more dope merch and collaborations to come along the way. I just don’t know who they will be with. I just re-signed my contract with Adidas so we should be working on something real new and real fresh soon.