In the last twelve months, A$AP Ferg has toured the globe — from Tokyo to Toronto — but it doesn’t compare to coming home. “There’s nothing like a New York crowd,” says the Harlem native. “They know all my songs. I’m one of them. They’re one of me.” The 28-year-old was in town headlining his Turnt & Burnt tour, with a homecoming gig at Webster Hall on November 25. It was long overdue homecoming — and a family reunion of sorts.
“It’s beautiful. The energy is amazing,” he says. “I didn’t even really see my Moms this year like that. I got to see my cousins. A lot of people I ain’t seen in a long time.”
Throughout 2016, the rapper, born Darold Ferguson Jr., has been working at a feverish pace. In April, he released his sophomore album, Always Strive and Prosper, which featured the Uptown banger “Hungry Ham” (featuring Skrillex and Crystal Caines) and “New Level,” his highest-charting single to date (featuring Future). In October, Ferg and the A$AP Mob cadre released Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends, which was led by “Yamborghini High,” a tribute to friend and cohort A$AP Yams. And somewhere in that time, the sartorially-inclined MC released a Trap Lord capsule collection with Adidas and a denim collaboration with L.A. brand AGOLDE. “I get some rest, but it ain’t like your average human. I’ll wake up, write down ideas and then go to sleep. I wouldn’t say I’m nocturnal. I really don’t sleep like that.”
He barely has the time. Ferg is currently at work on two new albums, with the digital release Still Striving up first. “Still Striving is my next project that I’m releasing. That’s almost done. I’ll have a date real soon.” With producers like Honorable C.N.O.T.E. and Frankie P manning the boards, Still Striving leans towards Ferg’s more club-friendly repertoire. He points to 2013’s breakout singles, “Work” and “Shabba,” which have been certified platinum and gold, respectively, as his sonic inspiration. “Always Strive and Prosper was an open diary to my life. It was a lot of me talking and explaining myself to the world. [With Still Striving], expect a lot of turned up shit. Basically sonics [are] aggressive. This is going back to the note I started on; the turned up tempos, dance music, club records.”
Ferg says A$AP Mob is likely to tour around Cozy Tapes, but syncing with A$AP Rocky and a crew of nearly a dozen rappers isn’t always logistically feasible. “Everybody is moving around. Everybody is extremely busy. It’s kinda hard because there’s so many moving parts.” When they’re not in the same zip code, the Mob stays in constant contact like most millennials: “We are on one group chat. We be joking around a lot,” he laughs. “Whatever we working on at the time, we put it up on the group chat. We do a lot of shit talking.”
In the same vein, Ferg has created a familial atmosphere with his Turnt & Burnt openers, Atlanta’s Playboi Carti and San Diego’s Rob $tone. “For the longest, I felt like I was traveling with different people that I didn’t really connect with,” he says, pointing to touring partners finagled by his record label or booking agent. “I wanted to tour with Carti [and] Rob $tone has a big record out now. They ain’t on no corny type stuff. This feels right.”
Carti, in particular, has risen quickly with his trap track “What.” A recent addition to the Mob, it’s no surprise that Ferg has taken to playing big brother to Carti on the road. “A lot of stuff is new for them. They got A.D.D. It reminds me of when I first started touring.” He’s advised them on Tour 101: Don’t cuff the mic; it muffles the sound. Don’t crowd surf; you might end up in court.
“I be telling them not to jump in the crowd! A lot of people like to sue and stuff,” Ferg admonishes. In 2015, Ferg himself was sued by a woman who claimed he injured her in a crowd surfing incident. “I’ve been through all of what they’re about to go through.”
With his busiest year coming to a close, A$AP Ferg hasn’t done much ruminating or reflecting. He’s just ready for what’s next. “I just look forward to the next project. [On] to the next, thing that I’mma be doing,” he says. Looking back isn’t really his wave. He prefers to put his head down and keep doing the work. “I’m just working, working, working. I don’t plan on stopping.”
A$AP Ferg wraps his Turnt & Burnt tour in Clifton Park, NY on December 2.