ASAP Rocky Biography

Rakim Mayers (born October 3, 1988), better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky), is an American rapper and music video director. Born and raised in the New York City neighborhood Harlem, he is a member of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.

Rocky released his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP in 2011 to critical acclaim. His debut album LongLiveASAP was released on January 15, 2013.

Early life

Born in 1988, Mayers was named after the hip hop legend Rakim, one half of the Eric B. & Rakim duo. When he was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs. A year later his older brother was killed near his apartment, which inspired him to take rapping seriously. Mayers, who had started rapping at age eight, grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats, and also lists among his influences Three 6 Mafia, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, UGK, Run DMC and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. After living in a shelter with his mother, and elsewhere around Manhattan, Mayers moved to Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

In 2007, Rocky assembled the hip hop crew A$AP Mob, a collective of rappers, producers, and music video directors. He adopted its A$AP moniker, which has multiple meanings, including "Always Strive and Prosper", "Assassinating Snitches and Police", and Rocky's favorite, "Acronym Symbolizing Any Purpose".

On July 8, 2011, an unofficial compilation titled Deep Purple was released, which according to Rocky, was a compilation of his YouTube hits compiled by a fan in Paris. In August, his first single "Peso" was leaked onto the internet and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. Music videos for "Peso" and "Purple Swag", the latter from Deep Purple, generated further buzz and resulted in ASAP Rocky signing a reported two year $3 million record deal with Sony, RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. ASAP Rocky released the mixtape LiveLoveA$AP, featuring both songs, in October to critical acclaim. On December 5, he was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 poll.

Beginning in February 2012, Rocky joined Kendrick Lamar as the opening act for Drake's Club Paradise Tour. In June, SpaceGhostPurrp, founder of Miami-based collective Raider Klan and Rocky's past collaborator, accused A$AP Twelvyy of jumping Raider Klan's Matt Stoops and subsequently diassociated himself from A$AP Mob and Rocky in a YouTube video. He and Raider Klan also accused A$AP Mob of copying their style, and Rocky of using lyrics from SpaceGhostPurrp's song "My Enemy" on "Goldie". Rocky responded in a July interview for MTV, saying that SpaceGhostPurrp is "try[ing] to build hype" and told him to "stick to makin' beats".

In July, Rocky performed at Pitchfork Music Festival. He was scheduled to make his network television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 20, but was arrested the night before after an alleged involvement in a brawl with 21 year old artist iRome, in downtown Manhattan and the performance was cancelled. After it was rescheduled for August 21, Rocky performed "Goldie" on the show. On September 6, he performed a guest rap on Rihanna's "Cockiness (Love It)" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

Rocky's debut studio album LongLiveA$AP will be released on January 15, 2013. He produced the album with Clams Casino, Hit-Boy, A$AP Ty Beats, Soufein3000, and Joey Fat Beats. "Goldie" was released as its lead single on April 27. He also worked on Lords Never Worry, an A$AP Mob mixtape released as a free download on August 27. During September through November, Rocky will promote his debut album with a 40-date national tour, the LongLiveA$AP Tour, with opening acts Schoolboy Q, Danny Brown, and A$AP Mob. Rocky and Schoolboy Q had collaborated on LiveLoveA$AP and the latter's 2012 song "Hands on the Wheel".

Legal issues

ASAP Rocky was arrested in July 2012 for beating a man in a New York clothing store, and two photographers who had been filming the altercation outside. He was subsequently sued for assault by the first man. The confrontation began after Shenick Alcine witnessed A$AP Rocky doing illegal drugs inside the clothing store, sparking the assault. Rocky then attacked two amateur photographers who were filming the incident. A$AP Rocky was eventually charged with assault and robbery for striking the photographers and attempting to take their cameras. In December of the same year, Rocky struck a plea deal in the criminal case, pleading guilty to attempted grand larceny, with the assault and robbery charges being dropped.
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