The Untold Truth Of A$AP Rocky

The following article includes references to an accidental overdose.

A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers after the legendary Rakim of musical duo Eric B. & Rakim (A$AP Rocky's older sister's name is too cute — Erika B.) first joined the A$AP crew — short for Always Strive and Prosper — in 2007. This collective of outcasts was known for their original music and fashion-forward looks that were opposite the traditional New York hip-hop scene. Born and raised in Harlem, the French-braid wearing, gold-teeth bearing, effortlessly cool A$AP Rocky fit right in with the rest of his A$AP brothers and quickly became the face of the group after his debut mixtape "LIVE.LOVE.A$AP" received fantastic critical reviews and skyrocketed his celebrity. 

Not content with only the music industry, A$AP Rocky has succeeded in numerous other endeavors. This multi-hyphenate, who once told Dummy that he strives to be a "lifestyle icon," has absolutely lived up to the name by having his hands in the fashion, music, and art industries all at the same time. While A$AP Rocky eventually began generating all the wrong kinds of headlines for an alleged assault that landed him in a Swedish detention center — the situation even blew up to the point where then-President Donald Trump personally got involved — he's since gotten press for things like his loved-up relationship with Rihanna (but more on all of that in a moment).

Let's take a look at the man behind the bling and the braids as we explore the untold truth of A$AP Rocky.

He's an actor, but with a purpose

A$AP Rocky's acting career happened purely "by chance." As he recalled to Independent, he was helping his then-girlfriend, model Chanel Iman (above), prepare for her role in the 2015 indie-film "Dope." He became so interested in the project that he ended up auditioning, and earned his first role on the big screen. A$AP Rocky loved the experience, according to W, but he desired something more challenging for future roles. "Maybe like a journalist or a brain surgeon," he told the outlet, adding, "Test my intelligence."

Next came HBO's "Animals" — a star-studded, animated series — where A$AP Rocky rapped alongside A$AP Ferg as a cartoon cat for one episode, giving him the amazing screen credit "Bodega Cat 2." Combining his popularity in music and fashion, he also had cameos in feature films, like 2016's "Zoolander 2" and The Lonely Island's cult classic "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping."

But in 2018, A$AP Rocky finally landed that juicy role he craved in the 2018 drama "All Rise," which is about an inspiring young filmmaker in Harlem, who gets caught up in a violent robbery. Though he didn't play the lead, the film's theme resonated with the "Peso" rapper. "It challenged me to tap into, like, old ways — old personality traits that I had developed in the past, growing up as teenager that ... doesn't necessarily represent me," he told Collider, adding, "Not every person that makes a bad decision should be labeled as a monster."  

A$AP Rocky: 'Lord of this fashion s**t'

The late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who died in November 2021, per The New York Times, was famous for his work within LVMH, the luxury goods conglomerate. Abloh had a special relationship with A$AP Rocky and the A$AP Mob when he was just embarking as a designer. And he may have the crew to thank for his label's name. Speaking with interviewer Kerwin Frost, A$AP Rocky claimed group member and buddy A$AP Twelvyy actually came up with brand name Off-White, after the original name of Pyrex led to a copyright lawsuit. Abloh even designed the tour merchandise for A$AP Rocky's first tour ever, in part because the rapper has been fashionable since before his career even got started.

Growing up in Harlem, A$AP Rocky was already tailoring jeans and going to Saks to shop for high-end fashion brands before this was popular in the hip-hop community. He also doesn't just let the clothes do the talking, name-dropping fashion designers in songs, like in his 2011 breakout hit "Peso," claiming, "Raf Simons, Rick Owens, usually what I'm dressed in," or bragging in "Multiply": "I'm the motherf***ing lord of this fashion s**t." 

For his 2019 "Injured Generation Tour," the dandified A$AP Rocky made his way around the world in custom gear from his "favorite brand," Prada. "Everybody only knows about my love for Dior, my love for Loewe, my love for JW Anderson ... for Gucci, for Louis," he told GQ, adding, "They don't know — I'm really a Prada boy."

His most iconic fashion look was actually an accident

When someone calls themselves "pretty," that person is either an expert at self-deprecation or in the case of A$AP Rocky, very self-aware of their beauty. That, plus being obsessed with all things fashion, has led to A$AP Rocky modeling in various campaigns throughout the years for brands like DiorDKNY, and Ferragamo. He's also a super fan of Belgian designer Raf Simons, having posed in campaigns for the artistic designer's eponymous label, and for Calvin Klein during Simons' years as creative director. To become a foppish role-model however, A$AP Rocky had to develop a style all his own.

At the 2018 LACMA Art and Film Gala in Los Angeles, A$AP Rocky rolled in with his now famous LEWK, a silk babushka — which means "old woman" — wrapped around his head. He later dubiously claimed to GQ that the scarf was actually used to cover up a "big gash" from a razor scooter accident, before almost immediately changing his story, saying he was "inspired" by the 1994 film "The Little Rascals," in which character Alfalfa ties a towel around his face when pretending to have a toothache. He continued to rock a fashion babushka for most of the press tour for his third studio album "Testing."

Wait, who has A$AP Rocky dated?

Back when he was just 15 years old, Rakim Mayers had a "little girlfriend" who grew up to be famous in her own right — the singer/dancer Teyana Taylor, with whom he shared a connection to then-upcoming Harlem rapper Azealia Banks, according to Dummy. Fast forward to 2011, when A$AP Rocky and Iggy Azalea began dating well before both had their breakout moments in the music industry. The two were so enamored that Azalea even got the words "LIVE," "LOVE," and "A.$.A.P." tattooed on her fingers, in tribute to her man's celebrated mixtape. Their relationship ended (and Azalea eventually had the ink removed), but luckily both their careers were just getting started.

Next up for A$AP Rocky was dating model and actor Chanel Iman. The two made a huge splash together at the ritzy Met Gala in 2014, followed by an outrageously sexy Vogue photoshoot that they posed for after they split up, according to MTV News. A few years later, various outlets (via ELLE) linked A$AP Rocky and Kendall Jenner after the pair made a rather amorous appearance at — where else? — the 2017 Met Gala. However, this fashionable couple didn't last long, or actually, was never "really official," if Us Weekly's anonymous sources are to be believed. 

At any rate, the Jenner breakup, or whatever it was, probably didn't affect A$AP Rocky much, as the guy devotes a lot of his time to being single as a dollar bill.

He founded his own company (which does ... what?)

AWGE, a creative agency founded by A$AP Rocky has two very specific rules. #1: Never reveal what AWGE means. #2: When in doubt always refer to rule #1. The brand launched in 2015 with a series of strange posts on A$AP Rocky's Instagram that ended up losing him 100,000 followers, according to HIGHSNOBIETY. Although AWGE is mysterious on purpose, A$AP Rocky revealed to the "Rap Radar" podcast (via Complex) that it was inspired by the Vice Media model. "It's a collective of young creatives from people who make music to people who draw, designers, all that," Rocky elaborated to Complex in 2018, adding, "It's just, for a lack of better words, a ghetto Google." 

In keeping with A$AP Rocky's desire to be "a creator of original ideas" (via Forbes), AWGE has done just about everything from clothing collaborations with GUESS and Under Armour to opening pop-up bodegas in London. Of course, AWGE plays a big role in the music industry, as well, like signing up-and-coming talent like Playboi Carti, A$AP Rocky's fashion show buddy who also seemed to be getting very friendly with the rapper's ex-girlfriend, Iggy Azalea. AWGE has also produced music videos for the A$AP Mob, Playboi Carti, and Tyler, the Creator

If anyone can figure out what the group does next, that person will probably be inducted into the AWGE collective.

A$AP Rocky is not shy about his sex life

In the opening line of A$AP Rocky's breakout single, 2011's "Peso," he proudly proclaims, "I be that pretty motherf***er." Look, this dude is a rich, famous model, who is naturally charming in interviews, so is anyone shocked by his bravado? Further tracks like "PMW (All I Really Need)" — you can search for the NSFW meaning — prove that A$AP Rocky is sexy, and he knows it. And it's not just in his lyrics. A common theme in A$AP Rocky's interviews is discussing his sexual prowess, like when he told NME, "I think threesomes are normal now. ... I might sleep with three girls at once but not every day." He even bragged to Esquire about the gigantic bed he designed specifically to host orgies, many of which he has "photographed and documented."

To his credit, and despite his sexual adventures, A$AP Rocky has also openly addressed issues like sexism and homophobia in the hip-hop community. Asked about his relationship with women, he told NME, "I don't go around saying women are just h**s. Do I think they're less of a person compared to a man and the human race? No." Speaking with Interview, A$AP Rocky said his interest in fashion paved the way for his embrace of the LGBTQ+ community, and that "you can miss out on a lot by being so small-minded and stereotypical about people."

He really misses his best friend

A$AP Yams, real name Steven Rodriguez, who got his start running a hip-hop blog before founding A$AP Mob, sadly died in 2015 at age 26 due to an accidental drug overdose. According to The New York Times, A$AP Rocky owes his career to the late producer for the promotion of his first single "Purple Swag" on A$AP Yams' "popular Tumblr blog." Naturally devastated over the death of his friend and collaborator, A$AP Rocky had to cut a performance short at the 2015 Sundance festival, telling Billboard that he only agreed to go onstage in the first place "to stop [himself] from crying."

Since then, A$AP Rocky has constantly talked about and remembers his bestie who died through tragic circumstances. In 2015, A$AP Rocky released his sophomore album "At.Long.Last.A$AP" to great critical reception, with Yams listed alongside Danger Mouse as an executive producer. Not content in letting anyone forget about his mentor, A$AP Rocky started Yams Day in 2016, an epic concert held every year in NYC to pay tribute to his late friend. According to GQ, the 2019 version had Soulja Boy as a throwback guest and a wrestling ring in the venue to pay homage to Yams' love of the WWE. It's amazing how A$AP Rocky keeps A$AP Yams' legacy in everyone's minds.

There is a very clear reason for A$AP Rocky's 'very trippy' art

Most people like to keep their illicit drug use away from the legal eye and others, but this has rarely been the case in the hip-hop community — and for A$AP Rocky. Since his first single "Purple Swag" — which is about all things purple, like "purple drink, purple weed" — A$AP Rocky has openly referenced his drug use during interviews. "Harmony, love, drugs and peace is all we need," he raps on "Dreams (Interlude)," but he's not into the "hard" stuff. Speaking with Independent, he said he prefers "magic mushrooms" and "marijuana," which he believes "brings people together" like the hippies of the 1960s. In one of A$AP Rocky's finest quotes (via The Cut), he offers up his preparatory tools for the MET Gala, one of the most exclusive social affairs in the world: "Marijuana and good taste."

He also uses psychedelic drugs for songwriting, like the track "Praise the Lord," which he told Gentleman's Journal was written as part of an experiment in which a "scientist wanted to see the conditions of our brains when we were writing these song on LSD." More generally, A$AP Rocky told Billboard, "[LSD] helps me cope with life. I've been doing this stuff since I got into the industry. People are scared to talk about it." The results sound like a perfect explanation of his various creative ventures: "It's trippy. My art, my visuals. Very trippy."

A trip to Sweden turned into a nightmare

According to The New York Times, A$AP Rocky was arrested on an assault charge in Stockholm, Sweden during a stop on his 2019 "Injured Generation Tour." In several video clips that made the rounds online, the rapper and his entourage appeared to get into a physical altercation with two young men on the street. A$AP Rocky and his crew maintained that they were being harassed by the men, and they merely "acted in self defense," per the rapper's Swedish attorney. 

After being determined to be "a flight risk" by Swedish authorities, the "L$D" rapper was ordered to remain in detention center during the investigation. Soon after A$AP Rocky's arrest, fans started a petition for his release and launched the #JusticeForRocky movement, opening up a larger conversation about human rights. Even the United States Department of State and then-President Donald Trump got involved. 

Just ahead of A$AP Rocky's trial, and at the reported urging of Kim Kardashian, Trump sent ambassador Robert C. O'Brien, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy — a man whose main job is trying to free Americans from hostage situations — to Sweden to observe the proceedings. At the conclusion of the trial, A$AP Rocky was released, and allowed to await a written verdict in the U.S., per The New York Times.

So, what was the verdict in A$AP Rocky's assault trial?

Guilty — but it's not as bad as you think. According to NBC News, the judge in A$AP Rocky's case, Per Lennerbrant, determined that the rapper was "convicted of his own use of violence," but that it was "not 'of such a serious nature' as to warrant more time behind bars." Translation: No more incarceration for the "Peso" rapper. 

While he claimed (via Instagram) to be "disappointed" with the outcome, A$AP Rocky also told fans (via NBC News) at an August 2019 show in Anaheim, California that he was grateful to be on the stage, and that the whole experience was "scary" and "humbling." 

This ordeal was probably a waking nightmare for A$AP Rocky, who told Dummy in 2013 that he has no desire to garner street cred by spending time behind bars. When he was a child, his dad was constantly in and out of jail before he died. A$AP Rocky even claimed he landed in "prison for like a week," before he began making music, adding that he hated the experience and wanted to stay away forever.

A$AP Rocky vs. Drake: Baby-daddy drama

In 2018, veteran rapper Pusha-T started one of the most intense rap feuds ever with his track "Infrared," when he rekindled the ghostwriting rumors about Drake. The track was in response to Drake's "Two Birds, One Stone" that questioned Pusha-T's drug-dealing history. Four days after the release of his third studio album "Daytona," Pusha-T released the searing single "The Story of Adidon." In the track, per Pitchfork, Pusha-T alleges that Drake has a child he's been hiding from the world. Of course, the internet went wild, launching intense speculation about the scenario.

Caught up in the drama was A$AP Rocky, who possibly dated adult film star Sophie Brussaux, according to Hollywood Life. Brussaux was allegedly dating a few men around the same time as A$AP Rocky, including Drake, James Harden, and Iman Shupert, when she became pregnant. For a brief time, people wondered if A$AP Rocky was the baby's father, but after Pusha-T released "The Story of Adidon," Drake confirmed the news about his son, Adonis, and his mother, Sophie Brussaux.

Befriending A$AP Rocky turned a guy experiencing homelessness into a star

Since 2014, A$AP Rocky has been off and on living in London, his "home away from home" (via Billboard), where he worked on a majority of his second album "At.Long.Last.A$AP." While there, he met British rapper and guitarist Joe Fox, who made his debut on the album's opening track "Holy Ghost" and four subsequent songs. Recounting the birth of their unlikely friendship, A$AP Rocky told NME that Fox, who was homeless at the time, tried to sell him a demo, not recognizing who the rapper was. On the spot, A$AP Rocky asked Fox to perform, and after being blown away, he invited the struggling artist to live in his hotel room. Not long after, Fox got his big break when "At.Long.Last.A$AP" became a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 Chart.

The story becomes even more heartwarming when in the context of A$AP Rocky's difficult childhood. According to Interview, the rapper spent years living in various shelters alongside his mom and older sister. The conditions were so tough that he recalled, "Me and my sister just looked at each other and started crying." Working the way up to being a famous artist certainly doesn't come easy, and it's heartening to see the rapper pay it forward in giving chances to others. As A$AP Rocky told NME about Fox, it didn't matter that he had been experiencing homelessness: "What mattered was that he had a voice and I knew that the world needed to hear it."

A$AP Rocky or O-Dog? You decide.

For as long as he's been in the public eye, A$AP Rocky has sported a distinct hair-style of braids framing his face. As a child, Rakim Mayers looked up admirably to his older brother who wore his hair in a French-braid style, so the future rapper decided to style his hair the same way. Mayers was only 13 years old when his brother, Ricky, tragically died, but as of this writing, A$AP Rocky continues to sport his iconic hairstyle. Looking back, he's fond of "[making] it acceptable to wear braids" (via Pitchfork) on the streets of Harlem. He also told Rolling Stone that he calls them "O-Dog from 'Menace II Society' braids," referencing the popular 1993 film

While he doesn't often talk about his hair, and sticks mostly to music and fashion, A$AP Rocky did elaborate on his grooming routine to Coveteur. His tips? Using Witch Hazel to cleanse and exfoliate his pretty face, and only washing his hair once a week, claiming that "for Black people, dirt actually makes our hair grow." Whatever he does, it's working, since the man looks the same now in his 30s as he did when bursting into the music scene at 22 years old.

How A$AP Rocky's net worth skyrocketed

A$AP Rocky has had a major transformation financially. He grew up in Harlem but moved around to various places throughout his childhood, including Philadelphia and North Carolina, and sometimes lived in shelters with his mom and sisters. To make money, he sold drugs, but told Billboard that he wasn't into it, nor was he particularly successful. "I wasn't no big-time hustler," he explained. "I was one of those guys that would do well in the summer and save enough to support my studio time, buy clothes, pay the bills. That lifestyle's wack. I ain't got time for that petty s**t, man. I'm bigger than that."

Things took a huge turn for the rapper when he landed a deal for $3 million with Sony/RCA after he dropped his mixtape "Live. Love. ASAP." Since then, it's been major paydays for A$AP Rocky. Not only does he make money through his music, but he also brings in cash thanks to his ongoing investment in the world of fashion. In 2016, he became the face for Dior Homme, a choice that the fashion house's director Kris Van Assche was proud of. "I really like his personal style and taste. He's a real fashion lover," Van Assche told WWD. "He feels like fashion really influences his own work."

The symbiotic relationship between fashion and music has been extremely lucrative for the rapper. As Celebrity Net Worth notes, A$AP Rocky is worth $10 million dollars at the time of this writing — and clearly, that amount is only going to grow.

A$AP Rocky and Rihanna's relationship timeline

The world stopped when Rihanna and A$AP Rocky went public with their relationship — but to be fair, people were hoping for the news for years before. The two first worked together way back in 2012, when A$AP Rocky collaborated on Rihanna's remix for her iconic song "Cockiness (Love It)," as Harper's Bazaar notes. He later opened for Rihanna during her "Diamonds World Tour." While the two were obviously connected creatively, they went on to date other people and, with a sigh of disappointment, we had to accept the fact that they seemed to just be really good friends. 

But talk started again in 2018, when Rihanna and A$AP Rocky hit up the Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week. The two stayed tight, and the rapper frequented the singer's Diamond Balls over the years. In December 2019, as Us Weekly notes, they were spotted together once again in London to attend the Fashion Awards. Rumors of a blossoming romance eventually swirled, and news broke that the duo had officially become a couple by the end of 2020.

As we watched their relationship unfold, the real gush of love came when A$AP Rocky spoke to GQ in May 2021. He called Rihanna "the love of my life" and "my lady." Of their romance, A$AP Rocky said, "[It's] so much better when you got the One. She amounts to probably, like, a million of the other ones. ... I think when you know, you know. She's the One." It was everything we'd been waiting for.

Rihanna has inspired his creative ventures

The best part about A$AP Rocky and Rihanna's relationship (or, well, one of the many great parts) is how much they inspire each other creatively. When the rapper spoke to GQ in May 2021, he teased his upcoming album and how his quest for a new sound led him to some exciting collaborators: Morrisey and, you guessed it, Rihanna. "I think it's important to have somebody that you can bounce those creative juices and ideas off of," A$AP Rocky said of his lady, noting that she "absolutely" had an impact on the project. "It's just a different point of view," he said of what she offered him.

While Rihanna had been inspiring A$AP Rocky, the rapper was also inspiring the singer and designer. In July 2020, Fenty Skin posted a photo to Instagram featuring the then-rumored couple to promote some new products. That's not all. In 2019, they attended the Fashion Awards both in Fenty outfits, with A$AP Rocky rocking an oversized men's blazer while Rihanna wore a monochromatic teal outfit. 

None of this can be too surprising, however, as all the way back in 2010, Rihanna appeared in A$AP Rocky's music video for "Fashion Killa." Obviously, the writing's been on the wall for a long time that the two were meant to inspire each other on several levels, with "Fashion Killa" serving as the perfect foreshadowing for their melding of style, music, and love.

The rapper has a baby on the way with Rihanna

A$AP Rocky was talking about being a dad even before he and Rihanna announced their pregnancy. Telling GQ that he was excited about fatherhood in May 2021, he said, "If that's in my destiny, absolutely," before quipping, "I think I'm already a dad! All these motherf***ers are already my sons — whatchu talkin' 'bout!" But he then added, "Nah, but like, I think I'd be an incredible, remarkably, overall amazing dad. I would have a very fly child. Very."

Turns out that very fly child is on its way. In late January 2022, the couple revealed that they were expecting, according to People, when they were spotted in New York City with Rihanna's baby bump peeking out from her puffer coat. For her part, Rihanna also talked about babies with Vogue in March 2020 after recognizing that her hectic work schedule wasn't sustainable. "I'm [realizing] life is really short," she said. "You don't have a lot of time to tolerate s**t, you know? You put so much on your plate. When you're overwhelmed, you need to start cutting things out. And I'm overwhelmed too much." 

Rihanna added, "What's happening now is that I'm going back to black and white. My [gray] area is shutting down." So, what did this mean for her future? It meant working hard so that she could take a step back later on — and that step back included a family, as she added, "I'll have kids — three or four of 'em."

A$AP Rocky moved swiftly past those cheating rumors

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky hit somewhat of a rough patch when rumors hit in mid-April 2022 that the rapper had allegedly cheated on her with footwear designer Amina Muaddi, according to Page Six. While the hearsay spread quickly, Muaddi jumped on her Instagram Stories to absolutely refute them. "I've always believed that an unfounded lie spread on social media doesn't deserve any response or clarification, especially one that is so vile," she wrote (via Page Six), noting that since the story flamed, she had to break her silence. Further stating that she was sad that "nothing was off limits," Muaddi added in referrence to Rihanna's pregnancy, "Not even during what should be one of the most beautiful and celebrated times in one's life. Therefore I have to speak up as this is not only directed towards me but it is related to people I have a great amount of respect and affection for."

While all of this cheating speculation was floating around, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky were spotted in Barbados, from which she originally hails, in footage caught by The Shade Room. The couple was seen leaving the airport together and looked at ease with one another. So, it looks like they were swiftly putting the seemingly unfounded infidelity allegations behind them and focusing on life as a growing family. 

"ASAP is obsessed with Rihanna and feels he has never loved her more than when she's pregnant," an insider previously told Us Weekly. "They're both very excited to be parents."