Asap Rocky Gay
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 Gay
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.
The film, a partnership with Red Bull, was a contemporary reworking of the cult French movie La Haine, shot by regular A$AP Mob collaborator, Dexter Navy, also featuring London grime artist Skepta. The brief film was bending its muscle, an exercise in cross-discipline expression. While, in and of itself, this undertaking was an important moment for the artist’s aesthetic individuality, it is perhaps most notable since the project of the AWGE collective, A$AP Rocky cabal of musicians, stylists, and creators. AWGE and fast forward two decades has stayed, by-and-large. While noteworthy A$AP affiliate Ian Connor shouted out the collective, he stayed quiet on its purpose. Since their first job, the collective’s logo has been spotted in connection with nearly all the Mob’s creative endeavors. The new awgeshit.com website gave fans their first look into the collective’s inner workings, removing the proverbial veil that had surrounded AWGE up till this point. The website’s”About” section clearly lists the members of their AWGE team. In addition to Robert Gallardo and Ian Connor, contributors are listed alongside their creative roles: Matt Henson — Fashion, Shane Gonzales — Design, Kamil Abbas — Creative, Hidjifilms — Video, Ben Baller — Jewellery, Hec Lunas Frans — Producers. It is a who’s who of A$AP Mob affiliates.
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 is how we want to keep it.” In May 2015, A$AP Rocky relaunched his Instagram using a collection of seamless, curated collages. Rocky’s feed could be scrolled through as a constant visual experience, transcending Instagram’s conventionally arrangement at the moment, when viewed on any smartphone. Perhaps most notably, AWGE branding has featured prominently on among the Mob’s latest music videos; those for Playboi Carti’s breakout hit “Magnolia” and the posse cut homage to Raf Simons, “RAF.” With these two high-profile movies gaining wide-scale attention and countless views, AWGE remained very much behind the scenes. In addition to the performances of the night, fans who were were able to buy a limited collaboration T-shirt Midnight Studios, by Abloh’s brand Off-White, and AWGE. Refusing to be restricted by the constraints of one-dimensional art management, it is perhaps which we’ll see AWGE venture in the future. AWGE’s scope has not been limited to audio, however. In 2016 rumors of a potential cooperation with fashion critic favorite J.W. Anderson were verified, with Rocky frequently seen sporting the collection’s standout piece, a faux fur teddy coat. Similarly, the AWGE team conceptualized Rocky collaboration with GUESS. The initiation of the clubhouse, itself a pop-up shop and installation welcomed in attendance a who’s who of the Los Angeles creative scene. Rocky would come to describe the relaunch of his Instagram as a’digital installation’, and it was through this lens the world was introduced into two of the core members of AWGE: Tan Camera and Robert Gallardo. Gallardo and Camera (actual name Kimi Selfridge), were imputed as the masterminds behind the project, with Gallardo taking the lead on creative direction and Selfridge as responsible for much of the installation’s photography and design work.
Be it clothes, music videos, or events that are expansive, one thing is for certain: AWGE has surprises in store. The crew’s profile has been raised in August, however, when A$AP Rocky announced the aptly-titled AWGEST: a month-long takeover by AWGE and the A$AP Mob, which featured multiple album releases, culminating in the launch of the Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 and the launching of a new AWGE website and merch line. Seen frequently on A$AP Mob members in the run up to the site launch, the merch collection featured a selection of AWGE, which sold out almost instantly, in addition to AWGE trucker hats in red, green or blue. In describing her involvement to Sophisticated , Selfridge says:”I made each collage by hand with many materials, including photos 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 inspired 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 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 media platforms. In this sense, it is a testament to the collective’s desire for secrecy that whilst consistently putting out content that is high-profile, AWGE has managed to continuously shroud itself. We reached out to some members of the team, but got the same reply:”The first rule about AWGE is you don’t talk about AWGE.” In the midst of AWGEST, the AWGE enterprise unleashed what is the most complete realization of their vision to date, their Midnight Rave in Los Angeles. Titled after Shane Gonzales’ label Midnight Studios, the Midnight Rave featured performances from members of the A$ AP Mob and DJ Virgil Abloh, as well as 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.