Rakim Athelaston Mayers (born Oct. 3rd, 1988), better known by his professional name A$AP Rocky, is an American rapper, singer, and actor. An early member of the A$AP Mob art collective, A$AP Rocky rose from an extremely difficult childhood that saw the murder of his older brother and long periods of housing instability. In order to get by, Rocky turned to drug dealing in his teenage years. In 2011, Rocky decided to quit dealing and focus on his rap career, releasing his first single “Purple Swag” in July of that year. The track generated considerable buzz on the streets of New York, and a month later Rocky returned with “Peso,” which remains one of his most iconic singles.
In October of 2011, his debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP was released for free online to massive popular and critical acclaim. Critics lauded Rocky’s unique aesthetic sensibilities and left-field beat selection, particularly his collaborations with legendary experimental producer Clams Casino. Since Live.Love.A$AP, Rocky has released three studio albums, Long.Live.A$AP (2013), At.Long.Last.A$AP (2015), and Testing (2018). He has worked with the likes of Tyler, the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, and Skrillex. Rocky is currently preparing to release his fourth studio album, tentatively titled All Smiles.
Aside from his music, Rocky is just as well recognized for his fashion sense and outspoken personality. A self-proclaimed tastemaker, he has cultivated a large and devoted following on social media.
In July 2019, Rocky was arrested and detained in Sweden after allegedly assaulting two men. Due to his popularity, the arrest stirred up significant controversy online, with many calling to boycott Sweden until the country released the rapper. Eventually, the arrest escalated to the point of an international incident, with the U.S. government and then president Donald Trump getting directly involved in ways that surprised the Swedish government and leading law experts. The arrest will be remembered as a strange case of international law, to be sure, but it will also serve as a lasting testament to the extent of A$AP Rocky’s stardom.