Asap Rocky Esquire
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 Esquire
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.
Rocky would come to describe the relaunch of his Instagram as a’installation’, and it was that the world was introduced into two of AWGE’s core members: Tan Camera and Robert Gallardo. Gallardo and Camera (actual name Kimi Selfridge), were credited as the masterminds behind the project, with Gallardo taking the lead on creative direction and Selfridge as responsible for much of the installation’s photography and design work. The scope of AWGE hasn’t been restricted to audio, however. In 2016 rumors of a possible 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. Similarly, the AWGE team holistically conceptualized Rocky collaboration with GUESS. The initiation of the clubhouse installation and a shop inspired by a’90s treehouse, welcomed in attendance a who’s who of the Los Angeles creative scene. Perhaps most notably, 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. Be music videos, it clothes, or events that are expansive, one thing is for sure: AWGE has more surprises in store. When seen on any smartphone, Rocky’s feed could be scrolled through as a constant visual experience, transcending the conventionally squared arrangement of Instagram. In the middle of AWGEST, the AWGE enterprise unleashed what is the realization of their 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 designer. Set in an abandoned L.A. warehouse, the space was carefully curated using Midnight Rave branding in addition to a moving L.E.D bar over the DJ booth. The photographer’s work is immediately recognizable for its mixed media collage style references, and off-the-cuff references to iconic brands such as Goyard and Palace. Since the relaunch, the DIY aesthetic of Camera has become a staple throughout the A$ AP Mob media platforms.
It is perhaps most noteworthy as the project of this 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’s aesthetic individuality. In this sense, it is a testament to the collective’s desire for secrecy that whilst consistently putting out content, AWGE has managed to continuously shroud itself. We reached out to a few members of the team, but got the same answer:”The first rule about AWGE is you don’t talk about AWGE.” Besides the night’s performances, fans who were early enough were able to buy a limited collaboration T-shirt by the brand Off-White, Midnight Studios of Abloh, and AWGE. Refusing to be restricted by the constraints of art management, it is in this box-less manner that we will see AWGE venture further .
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.” Though the day of the relaunch saw Rocky’s Instagram lose over 100,000 followers, this exceptional reimagining of his social media presence through bold, new visual aesthetics motivated many of the artist’s young followers to rethink their own Instagram profiles and ushered in a new age of iPhone curators. Fast forward two decades and AWGE has stayed, by-and-large. He stayed quiet on its objective, while AP affiliate Ian Connor often shouted out the collective. Since their first project, the logo of the collective has been seen with nearly all of the Mob endeavors. The crew’s profile was raised in August, but when A$AP Rocky announced the aptly-titled AWGEST: a month-long takeover by AWGE and the A$AP Mob, which featured multiple record releases, culminating in the launch of the Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and the launching of a new AWGE site and merch line. Seen frequently on A$AP Mob members in the run up to the website launch, the merch collection featured AWGE trucker hats in blue, red or green, as well as a choice of AWGE branded t-shirts, which sold out immediately. What about the name itself — what the hell does AWGE mean? “The first rule of AWGE is do not ask questions about AWGE,” Rocky replied when asked by The New York Times. “No one should know what the letters stand for. We all know what it is, and that is how we want to keep it.” Furthermore, in October of the same year, in the run up to the release of Cozy Tapes Vol. The movie, a partnership with Red Bull, was a contemporary reworking of the cult French movie La Haine, shot by regular A$AP Mob collaborator, Dexter Navy, also featuring London grime artist Skepta. The film was AWGE flexing a workout in expression, its muscle. The new awgeshit.com site gave fans their first look into the collective’s inner workings, removing the proverbial veil that had surrounded AWGE up until this point. The site’s”About” section clearly lists the integral members of their AWGE team. In addition to Robert Gallardo and Ian Connor, contributors are listed alongside their creative roles: Matt Henson — Fashion, Shane Gonzales — Design, Kamil Abbas — Creative, Hidjifilms — Video, Ben Baller — Jewellery, Hec Lunas Frans — Producers. It is a who’s who of A$AP Mob affiliates.