A$AP Rocky received backlash last week after the wonderful world of the Internet dug up a year-old interview where he did not want to talk about racial issues and said he “did not sign up to be no political activist.” The Harlem, New York rapper took to Twitter to call out the trolls and say that “social injustice makes me fukin sick.”
“It was a misrepresentation of what I was saying,” he says. “That’s where the conflict is. At the end of the day, you’ve got a 60-something-year-old European man interviewing me who don’t know much about nothing. I’m talking with teeth in my mouth, I’ve got a slur. I’m not trying to make excuses.”
The 27-year-old continues the sentiments he made on Twitter that he does see the problems going on in society and addresses them the best way he can.
“I would love to change the world,” he says. “I don’t know where to start, though. I actually don’t know what to do. It’s like you damned if you do, you damned if you don’t.”
He says that different artists run different lanes. He acknowledges J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar for confronting social injustices in their music, but says that is not his role. Rocky says he is inspired by the impact that Tupac made through his music and his interactions with pop culture, including his friendship with designer Gianni Versace.
“That kinda light is what I want to represent,” he says. “‘Pac didn’t only just put on for Black men because after he was dead and gone, his legacy outlived what he was doing because he stood for something greater and I think it was unity and I think it was awareness, self-awareness, especially at a time when Black people were down and we didn’t really know much about ourselves. Now that we got more awareness and we got more Internet, I think this whole crab in a barrel mentality do need to stop.”
A$AP Rocky confirms that he does care about the Black community and has experienced racism as a Black man in America. He also says that his brother was shot and killed in street violence, so he sees a need for all people to come together.
“We know that they stop, they get frisked, all this other stuff. I’m saying the best thing for us to do is at the end of the day, how we gonna all be militant if we not as a unit?” he says. “You got brothers saying, ‘Alright, when the cops kill us, we gotta all stick together, but when it’s all said and done, it’s back to fuck you and fuck you or whatever,’ that mentality, that crabs in a barrel. Pardon me for sounding insensitive, it is that field nigga – house nigga mentality, you get what I’m saying? It’s to the point where if we don’t unify, it’s like how could you be militant? How could you start a revolution? ‘Pac was trying to do that before he died, but you can’t do it alone.”
The At.Long.Last.A$AP rapper recites a verse from “Pharsyde” where he talks about gentrification and the issues he sees in the Black community to make his point that he is concerned even if his image doesn’t portray it. He explains that as a musician, by speaking at Oxford University and by becoming the first Black man to be the face of Dior Homme shows that he is leading by example for the urban youth looking up to him beyond skin color.
“I’m a dark-skinned handsome man,” he says. “Every day I stand up for Black people. But at the end of the day, I represent a culture that reaches beyond just Black, just a skin color. It’s really a culture. I stand for kids who don’t really see that racism. Those are my people.”
He understands that racial tensions are high right now, but repeats his statement that people need to come together instead of creating division.
“I love my people, man, to death, I do,” he says. “I love all people. It’s about people. We gotta stop separating each other with color. But at the end of the day, the issues in the neighborhoods of urban communities is those issues. Suburban issues is suburban issues. They might be different in extremes. I’m just saying across the board, it’s really all about this love. it’s all about us coming together in tranquility and harmony.”
Watch A$AP Rocky’s interview below: