‘We’re a collective of thinkers. We can go down in history as the illest team ever’: An Interview with A$AP Twelvyy

Interview and Photos by Karan Teli

In between performing at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, alongside the likes of Playboi Carti and Tyler, The Creator and jumping on a plane at 6.30AM for a festival in the Netherlands, A$AP Mob’s A$AP Twelvyy was about to headline his first ever London show, at Archspace.

Whether it ties with Grime artists like Skepta, or members like Rocky, Bari and Nast constantly residing in London, A$AP Mob has a huge affiliation with the city. But what was it about London that Twelvyy and the entire mob loved so much?

Music, fashion, food, landscaping, automobiles.

So just about everything?

Rewind back to 2012; mine, Rocky and Yams first time out here. As soon as I got here, I see a kid from Harlem on a billboard. My man Dominique. I went to elementary school with this kid. Then, we stayed at the K West hotel, the one Bowie had on his album cover. My first orgy was out here, it was just a whole week of that.

Rockstar living?

Oh my gooooood. It was even before I called myself a rockstar. It was just some….A$AP Worldwide shit. The whole culture of the UK had us all like wow.

Now that Twelvyy and the Mob are so accustomed to the city, things are only going up in his eyes. “Everything from Wireless, to Nandos, to my first solo show. It gets better every time. Artists like Giggs, Section Boyz, Jorja Smith.” Twelvyy then said a name synonymous with UK Rap music, that I didn’t ever expect him to mention.

The first UK artist I ever remember that showed me how to take over territorially was Dizzee.

Dizzee Rascal?

Yeah man. I wonder where he at now. Shout out to Dizzee Rascal for real.

A$AP Mob is always praised for their uniqueness and originality as a collective. But within a collective of originators, it’s hard to solely stand out sometimes. But with the slogan ‘Last Year Being Broke’ (LYBB), Twelvyy has created something that is associated with himself individually, before it is associated with the Mob as a whole.

I recorded the first verse of that song and Yams came banging on my door to tell me how fire that shit was. That was one of the last songs I ever recorded with my brother. Those letters, LYBB, those letters alone could relate to anybody, anywhere, at any moment. It was all about making a forever thing. Something that could make me at least 1 dollar a day for the rest of my life.

Talking of music, it’s almost been a year since the release of Twelvyy’s debut album, entitled 12. Before listing off the artist he would love to one day work with, including “Snoh Aalegra, Skepta, Frank Ocean, Tyler, The Weeknd and The Internet” Twelvyy made sure to give an update on new music.

I took a break, I’m just starting to get back into it. I had a hernia surgery, and I’m like 80% better now. So I’ll be back on the music soon.

Harlem; Twelvyy’s home, is a big part of his music and making him who he is today. I asked him now, going back home as a star if it’s any different.

When I go home it’s like I’m a kid again. I don’t like the famous shit. That’s when people try and get you and I got no problem with protecting myself, if you know what I’m saying

I know what you’re saying.

People go to extreme measures to remove jewellery, clothing, and cars from you. I’m not with that. I want to project positivity. I want to let people know that it’s all possible. But all that other shit, I don’t care about none of that.

Reflecting positive energy and positive vibes isn’t something that is unique with Twelvyy. It’s something that A$AP Mob is well known for. They are hardly affiliated with any beef or badmouthing, with many artists always talking about the positivity of A$AP Mob.

Everybody in the mob came from ‘I could die tomorrow.’ I been through wild shit, same with my brothers. In our hearts, we are humble, because why would I want the destruction of another human being, knowing that could’ve been me? Sure, you got all this money, but you could get clipped. Then what?

R.I.P to you.

Exactly. I want to live. I want to be like Quincy Jones age, then I can talk shit about everything I survived. Always strive and prosper. If we put our middle fingers up, were saying fuck the system, the haters. We saying get that shit off of us. That’s how we all carry ourselves. Look at Rocky, he always be on his debonair shit. Black James Bond. I ain’t ever seen this nigga have a bad day. They’ll get on me right now for not having my hair done. We hold ourselves to a super statue. We Super Saiyans. Nobody is held to a different standard. Same thing that goes for Rocky, goes for Ant, Bari, everybody.

My final question involved jogging Twelvyy’s memory back to 2005, when he first met the late A$AP Yams and if he saw those 4 letters (A$AP) becoming what they are.

Not at all. But then, I didn’t see myself losing my brother either.

Is the Mob now all about honouring Yams’ legacy?

To do that, and push his vision. As grown men, create our own legacies, so it all equals up. A person like RZA might not like it, but we do get compared to Wu-Tang. We’re a collective of thinkers. Not followers. Not rappers. If we do this right, we can go down in history as the illest team ever. Even though we lost our bro.

You still got your life to live.

Exactly. How detrimental would it be to our families if we all weren’t here? Keep pushing that always strive and prosper shit. ASAP.

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