Asap Rocky Assault
I noticed the Rocky has been on the move in a major way with his recent imprint AWGE.
This step is noticeable and asking more of him as a creative within the most potent culture. Expressed directly and for a bigger purpose than pushing himself into the spotlight. Asap Rocky Assault
Rocky collaborates with Ian Connor, Playboi Carti, and Luke Sabbat to name a few.
Definitely, it feels like art for the sake of expression. They’ve found an aesthetic and pressed forward with it in a vein similar to the influences he’s cited regularly. Master P’s No Limit and Houston’s DJ Screw. This is the same but on a higher level, the opportunity to reach more viewers and thus influence taste has never been higher.
This is what happens when someone that understands aesthetic has the money and time to build creatively. It reminds me of all that went into making Kanye’s MBDTF one of his most celebrated and in-depth works. All facets led to the experience of the music being phenomenal. And although Rocky isn’t as respected as a musician, he definitely has all the tools to make impact and influence visually.
Let’s take a dive and understand what’s likely to happen and where the movement could take us next.
1, A$AP Rocky premiered the AWGE-directed short film “Money Man.” The film, a partnership with Red Bull, was a modern reworking of the cult French film La Haine, shot by regular A$AP Mob collaborator, Dexter Navy, and featuring London grime artist Skepta. The short film AWGE flexed its muscle, an exercise in expression. While, in and of itself, this undertaking was an important time for the artist individuality, it is most notable since the project of this AWGE collective, the secret cabal of musicians, stylists, and founders of A$ AP Rocky. Fast forward two years and AWGE has remained, by-and-large. He stayed quiet on its purpose while AP affiliate Ian Connor often shouted out the collective. Since their first project, the logo of the collective was seen in connection with nearly all of the Mob’s creative endeavors. The site’s”About” section clearly lists the integral members of the AWGE team. Besides Robert Gallardo and Ian Connor, contributors are listed next to their creative roles: Matt Henson — Fashion, Shane Gonzales — Layout, Kamil Abbas — Creative, Hidjifilms — Video, Ben Baller — Jewellery, Hec Lunas Frans — Producers. It’s a who’s who of A$AP Mob affiliates.
What about the name what the hell does AWGE mean? “The first rule of AWGE is don’t ask questions about AWGE,” Rocky replied when asked by The New York Times. “No one should know what the letters stand for. We all know what it is, and that is how we want to keep it.” Rocky’s feed could be scrolled through as a constant visual experience, transcending Instagram’s conventionally format at the moment, when viewed on any smartphone. Perhaps most notably, AWGE branding has featured prominently on two of the Mob’s most recent music videos; those for Playboi Carti’s breakout hit “Magnolia” and the posse cut homage to Raf Simons, “RAF.” With these two high-profile movies gaining wide-scale attention and countless perspectives, AWGE remained very much behind the scenes. In addition to the night’s performances, fans who were early enough were able to buy a collaboration T-shirt Midnight Studios, by Abloh’s brand Off-White, and AWGE. Refusing to be restricted by the constraints of art management that is one-dimensional, it is perhaps that we will see venture further in the future. AWGE’s scope hasn’t been limited to audio. In 2016 rumors of a potential cooperation with fashion critic favorite J.W. Anderson were verified, with Rocky often seen sporting the collection’s standout piece, a faux fur teddy coat. Likewise Rocky collaboration with GUESS was holistically conceptualized from the AWGE team. Buoyed by the success of their first collaborative collection, which sold out globally, and to coincide with the collaboration’s second iteration, AWGE presented the’A$AP Rocky x GUE$$ Clubhouse’. The launch of the clubhouseitself a shop and installation welcomed in attendance a who’s who of the Los Angeles scene that was creative. Rocky would come to describe the relaunch of his Instagram as a’installation’, and it was through this lens that the world was introduced into 2 of the core members of AWGE: Robert Gallardo and Tan Camera. Gallardo and Camera (real name Kimi Selfridge), were credited as the masterminds behind the project, together with Gallardo taking the lead on creative direction and Selfridge as responsible for much of the installation’s photography and design work.
Be it clothes, music videos, or events, one thing is for certain: AWGE has surprises in store. The crew’s profile was raised in August, however, when A$AP Rocky declared the aptly-titled AWGEST: a month-long takeover by AWGE and the A$AP Mob, which featured multiple record releases, culminating in the launch of this Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and the launching of a new AWGE website and merch line. Seen often on A$AP Mob members in the run up to the site launch, the merch collection featured trucker hats in green, blue or red, as well as a choice. In describing her involvement to Sophisticated , Selfridge says:”I made each collage by hand with various materials, including photos shot on 35mm film and Polaroid film.” Although the day of the relaunch saw Rocky’s Instagram lose over 100,000 followers, this exceptional reimagining of his social media presence through daring, new visual aesthetics motivated many of the artist’s youthful followers to rethink their own Instagram profiles and ushered in a new era of iPhone curators. The photographer’s work is immediately recognizable for its mixed media collage style, pop-culture references, and off-the-cuff references to iconic brands like Goyard and Palace. Since the relaunch, the DIY aesthetic of Camera has become a staple during the A$ AP Mob’s social networking platforms. In this sense, it is a testament to the collective’s desire for secrecy that whilst consistently putting out high-profile content, AWGE has managed to shroud itself in mystery. We reached out to a few members of the crew, but got the same reply:”The first rule about AWGE is you don’t talk about AWGE.” In the middle of AWGEST, the AWGE enterprise unleashed what is possibly the most complete realization of the creative vision their Midnight Rave in Los Angeles, to date. Titled after Shane Gonzales’ tag Midnight Studios, the Midnight Rave featured performances from members of the A$ AP Mob themselves and DJ Virgil Abloh, as well as international designer. Set in an abandoned L.A. warehouse, the space was carefully curated with Midnight Rave branding as well as a moving L.E.D bar above the DJ booth.