To put it quite bluntly, A$AP Ferg doesn’t “give a fuck about anything or anybody’s opinions.”
The Harlem rapper has been building a solid career as a part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob and as a solo artist, with his 2013 debut album Trap Lord earning him a BET Hip-Hop Award for Rookie of the Year and his latest mixtape, Still Striving, garnering favorable reviews.
“Opinions will be the death of you. If I cared about what other people thought, then I would not be here today,” he says. “I’ve been ridiculed my whole life, a lot of people didn’t understand me because I guess they’ve never seen anyone like me. But when you come from the hood, unique is not cool–they fear what they don’t understand. I just had to believe in myself enough to know what I was doing was right. I was already in the pool like, ‘Who else is going to come in and have fun with me?’ Everybody was sticking their toes in. Just jump in.”
As it turns out, Hennessy was willing to jump in.
Ferg recently collaborated with the cognac brand for their “Never Stop. Never Settle” campaign, releasing the exclusive track “Family” and a custom cocktail through Cocktail Courier. The partnership even pulled out something in Ferg that many people don’t get to see: his painting skills. For the album artwork, Hennessy asked Ferg to recreate the cover of Still Striving.
“The thing about it is with painting, I never did it for people to be like, ‘This is hot.’ I did it because I thought it was good for me, good for my soul–it was therapeutic,” Ferg says. “When my father died, I painted every day for a week, and I didn’t really paint after that for years.”
Before Ferg’s father, Darold Ferguson, passed away, he left a legacy of his own behind, having designed the logo for P. Diddy’s record label Bad Boy. Growing up with an artistic father and going to an art and design high school as a teen instilled in Ferg a creative sensibility for pushing back against mainstream ideals.
“I’ll get anxiety if I don’t do what I want to do,” he says. “I never worked well with bosses. I quit every job I ever had.”
Ferg has made it a point to resist falling into trendy sounds or styles of music in his career. The same can be said for his carefully selected brand partnerships with the likes of Hennessy or his shoe collaboration with Adidas: Ferg does what’s right for Ferg, everything else be damned.
“A lot of artists in the hip-hop community, and just men in general, we’re scared to grow up. We can’t be kids forever and we can’t try to appeal to the kids forever,” Ferg says. “My brand has evolved because I’m not scared anymore. Before I used to be stressing because I was scared to show my other sides. But it’s about showing people your layers and having people learn from your trials and tribulations–and I think Hennessy helps me tell that story.”