Asap Rocky Bodega
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 Bodega
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.
In the middle of AWGEST, the AWGE enterprise unleashed what is the most complete realization of the vision to date, their Midnight Rave in Los Angeles. Titled after Shane Gonzales’ punk-inspired label Midnight Studios, the Midnight Rave featured performances from members of the A$ AP Mob themselves and DJ Virgil Abloh, as well as global designer. Set in an abandoned L.A. warehouse, the area was carefully curated with Midnight Rave branding as well as a moving L.E.D bar over the DJ booth. Perhaps most importantly, 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 millions of perspectives, AWGE remained very much behind the scenes. In describing her participation to Complex, Selfridge says:”I made each collage by hand with various materials, including photos shot on 35mm film and Polaroid film.” Be grand events, music videos, or it clothing, one thing is for sure: AWGE has surprises in store. Rocky would come to describe the relaunch of his Instagram as a’installation’, and it was that the world was introduced to two of AWGE’s core members: Tan Camera and Robert Gallardo. Gallardo and Camera (actual name Kimi Selfridge), were imputed as the masterminds behind the project, with Gallardo taking the lead on creative management and Selfridge as responsible for much of the installation’s photography and design work. It’s perhaps noteworthy as the inaugural project of the AWGE collective, the secret cabal of musicians, stylists, and founders of A$ AP Rocky while, in and of itself, this undertaking was an important moment for the artist identity. AWGE and fast forward two decades has stayed, by-and-large. He stayed quiet, while notable A$ AP affiliate Ian Connor often shouted out the collective. Since their first job, the logo of the collective has been spotted with nearly all the Mob endeavors.
Rocky’s feed could be scrolled through transcending Instagram’s squared format at the time, when viewed on any smartphone. In this sense, it’s a testament to the collective’s desire for secrecy that whilst consistently putting out articles, AWGE has managed to continuously shroud itself. We reached out to a few members of the crew, but got the same answer:”The first rule about AWGE is you do not talk about AWGE.” Besides the performances of the night, fans who were were able to buy a limited collaboration T-shirt by Abloh’s brand Off-White, Midnight Studios, and AWGE. Refusing to be confined by the constraints of art management that is one-dimensional, it is perhaps in this multi-disciplinary manner which we’ll see venture farther . What about the name itself — what the hell does AWGE mean? “No one needs to know what the letters stand for. We all know what it is, and that is how we want to keep it.” The crew’s profile has been raised in August, however, when A$AP Rocky announced the aptly-titled AWGEST: a month-long takeover by AWGE and the A$AP Mob, which featured several album releases, culminating in the launch of the Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and the launching of a new AWGE site and merch line. Seen on A$AP Mob members in the run up to the site launch, the merch collection featured trucker hats in blue, red or green, in addition to a choice.
The site’s”About” section clearly lists the members of the AWGE team. Besides Robert Gallardo and Ian Connor, contributors are listed next to their creative roles: Matt Henson — Fashion, Shane Gonzales — Layout, Kamil Abbas — Creative, Hidjifilms — Video, Ben Baller — Jewellery, Hec Lunas Frans — Producers. It. The photographer’s work is instantly recognizable for its media collage style references, and off-the-cuff references to iconic brands such as Palace and Goyard. Since the relaunch, the DIY aesthetic of Camera has become a staple during the A$ AP Mob’s social networking platforms. The scope of AWGE has not been limited to music, however. In 2016 rumors of a possible cooperation with fashion critic favorite J.W. Anderson were confirmed, with Rocky often seen sporting the collection’s standout piece, a faux fur teddy jacket. Likewise Rocky’s stand-out collaboration with GUESS was conceptualized by the AWGE team. Buoyed by the success of their first collaborative collection, which sold out worldwide, and to coincide with the collaboration’s second iteration, AWGE presented the’A$AP Rocky x GUE$$ Clubhouse’. The initiation of the clubhouse a store and installation welcomed in presence a who’s who of the Los Angeles creative scene. Though the day of the relaunch watched Rocky’s Instagram shed over 100,000 followers, this exceptional reimagining of his social media presence through daring, new visual aesthetics inspired many of the artist’s youthful followers to rethink their own Instagram profiles and ushered in a new age of iPhone curators. The film, a partnership with Red Bull, was a modern reworking of the cult French movie La Haine, shot by frequent A$AP Mob collaborator, Dexter Navy, and featuring London grime artist Skepta. The brief film AWGE flexed its muscle, a workout in cross-discipline expression.