Asap Rocky Born
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 Born
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$AP Rocky premiered the AWGE-directed short film “Money Man.” The film, a partnership with Red Bull, was a contemporary reworking of the cult French film La Haine, shot by regular A$AP Mob collaborator, Dexter Navy, also featuring London grime artist Skepta. The film was flexing its creative muscle, an exercise in cross-discipline expression. While, in and of itself, this undertaking was a significant time for the artist’s aesthetic individuality, it’s perhaps noteworthy as the project of this AWGE collective, A$AP Rocky’s secret cabal of artists, stylists, and founders. AWGE and fast forward two decades has stayed, by-and-large, a mysterious thing to those who’ve followed the A$AP Mob. While AP affiliate Ian Connor often shouted out the collective, he stayed quiet on its purpose. Since their first project, the collective’s emblem was seen in connection with nearly all of the Mob 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.
What about the title itself — what the hell does AWGE mean, anyhow? “No one needs to know what the letters stand for. We all know what it is, and that’s how we want to keep it.” Rocky’s feed could be scrolled through as a continuous visual experience, transcending Instagram’s conventionally squared arrangement at the moment, when seen on any smartphone. Perhaps most importantly, AWGE branding has featured prominently on among 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 videos gaining wide-scale attention and millions of views, AWGE remained very much behind the scenes. In addition to the performances of the night, fans who were were able to purchase a limited collaboration T-shirt by the brand Off-White, Midnight Studios of Abloh, and AWGE. Refusing to be restricted by the constraints of one-dimensional art direction, it is perhaps which we will see venture . The scope of AWGE hasn’t been limited to music. In 2016 rumors of a possible collaboration with fashion critic favorite J.W. Anderson were verified, with Rocky often seen sporting the collection’s standout piece, a faux fur teddy jacket. Likewise the AWGE team conceptualized Rocky’s stand-out collaboration with GUESS. The launch of the clubhouse installation and a shop inspired by a’90s treehouse, welcomed in presence a who’s who of the Los Angeles creative scene. Rocky would come to describe the relaunch of his Instagram as a’installation’, and it was through this lens that the world was introduced to 2 of AWGE’s core members: Tan Camera and Robert Gallardo. Gallardo and Camera (real 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.
Be it clothing, music videos, or events that are expansive, one thing is for certain: AWGE has surprises in store. The crew’s profile was 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 record releases, culminating in the release of the Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and the launch of a new AWGE site and merch line. Seen frequently on A$AP Mob members in the run up to the website launch, the merch collection featured trucker hats in green, blue or red, as well as a selection of AWGE, which sold out immediately. In describing her participation to Complex, Selfridge says:”I made each collage by hand with various materials, including photographs shot on 35mm film and Polaroid film.” Although the day of the relaunch watched Rocky’s Instagram shed over 100,000 followers, this unique reimagining of his social media presence through daring, new visual aesthetics motivated many of the artist’s youthful followers to rethink their own Instagram profiles and ushered in a new age of iPhone curators. The photographer’s work is immediately recognizable for its media collage style, pop-culture references, and references to brands like Goyard and Palace. During the A$ AP Mob media platforms, the DIY aesthetic of Camera has become a staple since the relaunch. In this sense, it’s a testament to the collective’s desire for secrecy that even whilst always putting out high profile articles, AWGE has managed to shroud itself in mystery. 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.” In the midst of AWGEST, the AWGE enterprise unleashed what is possibly the realization of their vision their Midnight Rave in Los Angeles, thus far. 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 in addition to a moving L.E.D bar over the DJ booth.