Thursday, February 2

From the shelters of Harlem to global stardom: who is A$AP Rocky, the father of Rihanna’s first child | People



There is no name that has made more headlines in the recent pages of social media than A$AP Rocky. The 33-year-old rapper, who until now was semi-unknown to all those who do not include hip hop as an essential genre in their playlist, has captured global attention after the publication of the images announcing his future paternity with the singer Rihanna . The multifaceted New Yorker could boast to date of a great projection not only in the field of music, but also as an icon of millennial style. Now, his media relationship with the pop star has made him one of the most wanted men in a digital environment that strives to answer the same question: Who is A$AP Rocky?

The friendship between the singer and the rapper starts ten years ago, when they collaborated on the remix of one of Rihanna’s singles —Cockiness (Love It)—. On the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards they demonstrated their chemistry and complicity with an undisguised flirtation and a few months later Rocky joined the Barbadian artist’s US tour as the opening act. However, it would not be until the beginning of 2020, coinciding with the breakup of the interpreter of Umbrella with whom he had been his partner for the last three years, businessman Hasaan Jameel, when all the rumors about a possible romance between the two young music icons were triggered. Rocky became the face of the singer-owned Fenty Beauty skincare and beauty line, just as anonymous sources began talking about the two being “inseparable.” Although the artist confirmed the relationship last spring, they have always been elusive before the press. So much so that Rihanna has not yet made any public statement regarding the future father of her first child.

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Born Rakim Mayers, his meteoric appearance in the world of hip hop in 2011 shook the foundations of the industry, which welcomed his charismatic presence and the experimental vocation of his sound with unanimous enthusiasm. In just five months, and with only one mixtape in the market, the young man went from having less than 3,000 euros in his bank account to signing a contract with RCA/Sony worth three million, ensuring full creative control over his career. In addition to having worked as a music producer under the pseudonym Pretty Flacko, he has two nominations for the Grammy Awards and currently says he is focused on finalizing his imminent new album, the fourth of his discography.

The rapper made headlines in the mainstream press in the summer of 2019, when he was arrested for aggravated assault along with three members of his crew after a brawl in the streets of Stockholm. His arrest unleashed a wave of solidarity on social networks in his favor that was about to end in a diplomatic conflict after former President Trump tried to intervene in the process. Swedish justice ended up convicting Mayers, although he avoided going back to jail after spending a month in pretrial detention.

The scandal did not deteriorate one iota the public image of the artist in the United States, who obtained the support of brands such as Calvin Klein, for which he has served as an ambassador. A$AP Rocky is one of the faces that has been able to channel and capitalize on the recent flirtation between luxury fashion and hip hop, being the image in campaigns for Dior Homme —the first black man to do so— and signing collaborations for JW Anderson, Guess, Amina Muaddi or Marine Serre. His style, always daring and willing to embrace bets without gender, has earned him the title of “best dressed musician on the planet” by the specialized press, making him an influencer courted by Gucci, Loewe or Balenciaga.

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An outstanding student of Kanye West or Pharrell Williams, the artist has confessed his passion for everything related to the world of fashion in themes such as Fashion Killa or RAF, in honor of the Belgian designer Raf Simons. Even when he was a child with little economic resources, he already tried to wear exclusive clothes from Prada or True Religion, thus defying the strict canons of ghetto dress. “The neighborhood bullies thought he was gay, but his girls loved him. The macho roll was never for me ”, he corroborated in an interview, assuring that it was there when he began to question his masculinity.

A devotion to fashion that has also moved off the catwalk, starring in two romances with models like Kendall Jenner or Chanel Iman. The rapper Iggy Azalea and the singer Rita Ora have also been romantically linked to A$AP Rocky, who has not hesitated to affirm that the undisputed woman of his life is Rihanna. “I think when you know it, you know it. It’s her,” he told the US edition of GQ the one who was described by the magazine itself as the “most handsome man alive”. In the same interview, published last May, he already anticipated his future fatherhood. “I think he would be an amazing, remarkable father, one way above average.”

The scars that appear on his face are only the memory of a childhood sown by the tragedy in the streets of Harlem. His father, who shares the Barbadian nationality with Rihanna, was imprisoned for drug trafficking and died in 2012. His older brother was murdered when the rapper was only 13 years old, although by then he was already dealing with cannabis and crack in the different social shelters of New York who took them in and was even jailed as a teenager. The experience pushed him to move away from crime and cultivate his talent for rhymes. In 2015, just a couple of years after signing his first major record deal, his best friend and musical mentor, A$AP Yams, died of an accidental overdose. Despite his history, the rapper does not hide being a regular user of hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, even dedicating a song of the same name to him. “People are afraid to talk about it,” he evoked in Billboard magazine. “They help me cope with life.”

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