Photo courtesy of Cortez Visuals
In early April at The Canopy Club, New York emcee A$AP Twelvyy opened for Flatbush ZOMBiES on the 3001: A Laced Odyssey Tour. After dropping his new single “Last Year Being Broke” this past New Year’s Eve, Twelvyy is positioning himself for a big year – his new mixtape, 2127301090, is set to drop shortly, and he recently laid down a guest verse on A$AP Ferg‘s new album, Always Strive and Prosper.
After his set at Canopy, Twelvyy spoke with UPC about his new project, his first album purchase, the current state of the sneaker game and much more. Check out the conversation below.
UPC: What’s your very first memory of even being aware of hip-hop?
A$AP Twelvyy: One of my first memories that comes to mind in hip-hop is probably bumping Snoop Dogg as a child. Growing up, I was big on West Coast hip-hop. Pac, Dr. Dre. Even the Midwest rappers – Common Sense, Twista’s Adrenaline Rush album and shit like that, is what I was exposed to first before Nas, Jay-Z and even Biggie. West Coast hip-hop raised me.
UPC: That’s pretty interesting because you’re from New York.
AT: This is around the time where there was supposedly no love for the West Coast on the East Coast. The East Coast/West Coast beef, Bad Boy versus Death Row beef. As a kid, I’m oblivious to beef. I just hear music. All I know is Snoop Doggy. That’s how it was.
UPC: Do you remember your first album purchase?
AT: My first album purchase, which I couldn’t physically buy for myself, was the Marshall Mathers LP. That was my first one. I had my pops get it for me. I was like, “Yo pops, I need this album. Can you go get this for me?” This was late ’99, early 2000. This is when I’m already a hip-hop head – I was a big Eminem fan, because I was into the Snoop Doggs and the Dr. Dres. I [also] tried to go buy Cam’ron‘s Purple Haze album, but they didn’t let me. I left high school, me and my n****s walked to Circuit City to try and cop it and we couldn’t cop. The first album I got to buy, I can’t even remember… It might’ve been Styles P‘s A Gangster and a Gentleman, to keep it one hundred.
UPC: When did you start writing lyrics?
AT: I probably started writing when I was like, twelve years old. You know – just bullshitting. Then I started again at 16. The day after I met Yams I started rapping again. So around 15 or 16.
UPC: Was this around the time you thought to yourself, ‘I can do this for a living?’
AT: Nope. I never, ever thought I would make it even this far. You know, thank you God – I feel blessed. I never took rap or music serious. This is something I’ve been blessed to do. I’m not going to waste my opportunity. I’m not going to be less hungry when I go into the booth or be lazy with it. But its not like it’s a life or death situation for me.
UPC: How did you first meet Yams and start out with the Mob?
AT: I’m actually one of the first members of the Mob. There wasn’t any Mob before I met Yams. I remember one night – I was always crazy about technology, computers, cameras. I used to throw shit on floppy disks and burn CDs for n****s. One night, I think we was on Sconex. And Yams’ avatar on Sconex was a picture of him and Max B. In the picture, Yams has Max B’s chain on. So I’m like ‘Oh shit, the n**** pulled some shit.’ He was telling me, ‘I’m looking for the best rapper out of Harlem.’ So it was two things – one, I had moved out of Harlem already, I’m in the Bronx [at that point]. And two, I didn’t rap. So I just replied saying, “Yo my n****, it’s me.’ You know, just bullshitting. Then he hit me back saying, ‘I’ll make you a million dollars.’ That’s how I got introduced to this shit. Then, we met up. I was trying to put my man on, ‘cuz he could rap, but my man pulled me to the side and told me I should rap.
UPC: Apart from New York, what are your favorite cities to perform in or to just travel to?
AT: Outside of New York, I like Miami, Texas, Phoenix. I’m just a New Yorker. I wanna live here and die here.
UPC: I see you got the Jordan Is on. What’s your current kick rotation like? Are you a big sneakerhead?
AT: Not no more. I got rid of most of my collection. I just keep the Is. I got ’99 IVs, ’99 Vs. I used to shit on n****s. I don’t see no joy in it no more, though. I see everybody being crabs in the bucket with it, ‘cuz it’s like, “Oh I got these, you ain’t got these.” It’s like, all this shit ain’t that hard to find if you really look for them. And the prices these n****s are paying for sneakers. What I paid for my ’99 IVs is cheap – $250. Y’all n****s are paying $1,000 for these bum-ass sneakers. Sneaker game is dead, bro. I just wear Js and Nikes. I keep it Is or Air Max 90s. Air Max Zero is the best sneaker out right now.
UPC: What’s your take on the current streaming services being offered?
AT: I’m not against it. You know, ‘cuz I use Spotify and Apple Music. But we should’ve known that it was coming to that era that everything is becoming digital and streamed. We lowkey asked for it. We were the ones beasting to have music put out fast – we were spoiled. We’re getting to the point where we try and see what we can do. As an artist, I’m not going to be mad if a n**** goes and downloads my shit. Even though I’m gonna tell him to go buy it and not pirate it. But if he does, and that’s the only way he can listen to me, then yeah, check me out bro. Even though that purchase didn’t come from him, it can come from someone in the middle of America. With shows, merchandise, there’s always different ways people can support. I’m not looking for the money. I’m looking for the message. I wanna know that I touched you in a way that you’ll remember me forever. With “Last Year Being Broke,” I wanna make sure that’s something you can live by everyday.
UPC: That “Presidents” track is crazy. Tell me about how Wavy Wednesdays started. Are these tracks you guys have been sitting on or some of these are just being made?
AT: Half and half. Half are brand new, and half have been sitting in the vault for about three or four years. “Presidents” was supposed to be on the first Mob tape, so I’d say Presidents is from around 2013. All these records are pretty vintage at this point. You let the energy of the record build itself. That’s how we do – there’s no pressure. Everybody says pressure makes diamonds, but pressure also causes confusion. We do our shit on our own time.
UPC: You have a new project coming out soon called 2127301090. What can we expect from the new tape/album?
AT: It’s sounding like an album, so I’m gonna run with it as an album. I ain’t got no fear in it not selling as much. I’ve got phenomenal music on it, and the quality is amazing.
UPC: The title seems like a phone number. What’s the story behind the title?
AT: For people that have been following me since 2007 or ’08, they know that my name used to be 2 Twelvyy. 730 means crazy, bugged out, psychotic, some New York shit. 1090 is 10 percent loyal, 90 percent grinding, or 10 percent loyal 90 percent everything. So what I did, I said fuck it and went with it. That’s a million dollar investment right there. It can never stop.
UPC: You ever try and call that number?
AT: It’s out of service. I’m gonna bump it until I get that number. N****s are so serious when they ask me like, “What is it? Is it a number?” I tell people it’s my social security number. I’ll be on some Dragon Ball Z shit and say it’s my power level. It’s in the 2 billions – you can’t beat that, you feel me? They gotta find out for themselves.
UPC: Do you have a release date for it?
AT: Nah, I still don’t know. Lowkey, that shit’s been done for years. If I would’ve rushed it, I probably would’ve fallen on my face. So I’m waiting on a right time. Everybody’s dropping their albums nowadays. Lowkey, I’m just gonna let everyone drop their shit, and then I’ll surprise people and drop mine. I don’t want no one to dick-ride me. I’m on my Kid Cudi shit and say, fuck everybody else.
UPC: So we’ve got your project and Ferg’s album for sure coming up. Any updates on an impending A$AP Mob album?
AT: We’ve got a new Cozy Tapes coming out soon.
UPC: As a Knick fan, what was your initial reaction when the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis?
AT: My reaction was, ‘Who the fuck is that?’ I think I was in Europe with Joey Bada$$ and Nyck Caution. And Nyck Caution is a huge Knick fan. He’s also a great basketball player and a great rapper. Shout out to Pro Era. He was like ‘Yo man, we just got Porzingis.’ And me and him was just talking, laughing. And then [Porzingis] started ballin’, and I was just like whoa. He’s cool though.
Check out A$AP Twelvyy’s music video for “Last Year Being Broke” below. Follow him on Twitter @ASAPTwelvyy.