American hip-hop artist ASAP Ferg was briefly in the U.K. for two very special headline shows on the BBC Radio 1 Extra Stage at Reading & Leeds Festival 2015. We sat down with the global selling rapper in between sets at the dual-site festival to discuss the development of his career, giving back to the neighbourhood and his forthcoming album; which he exclusively revealed to us will be available this November.
You headlined the Radio 1 Extra Stage at Reading Festival last night, how was that?
It was good. I’ve not performed in awhile as I’ve been working on my new album, so it was the first show in awhile. The energy was pumped up, the kids were pumped up; it was so much fun.
You’re performing at Leeds tonight, are you going to mix the set up a bit?
Yeah, yesterday was different as I performed a brand new song. As those kids in Reading were waiting for me all night long chanting my name, so I wanted to give them something special and dropped them a new tune.
In 2013, you won BET Hip-Hop Awards ‘Rookie Of The year’ two years on how do you feel you’ve developed?
It’s been good I feel like I’ve been building myself as an artist, and I’ve become a better person by travelling the world and meeting different people. Awards don’t drive me; the award is seeing people gravitate towards my music and the way it affects them in a positive way. One kid told me my music helped him fight his way through cancer, and he looks like a healthy boy now, that’s what I wanna do, and that’s the reward for me.
Who’s your main inspiration when making music?
People, other people and helping to inspire more people that will motivate people to do what they really want to do in life and not what someone else tells them. My mother wanted me to become a college kid that got a job, and it didn’t work like that for me. I listened to myself, and now I’m able to support my own family and create opportunities for other people. So it’s important for kids to follow their dreams, and it doesn’t hurt to see someone else doing it ’cause it motivates you to do it too.
You recently hosted the 1st Ferg Health Fair day, why do you believe it’s so important to give back to your community?
I think it’s good to give back to the community because we don’t have people who are successful within the community, and I feel like the community raised me to give back. Without my neighbourhood, I wouldn’t have my swag or this tough skin that I have to survive in this kind of industry. So I have to give back to the neighbourhood, as they gave to me bro.
You started out in life as a successful clothes designer, why did you make the switch to music?
Ah no man, I don’t know if I was successful I was cool and decent but I was only just making it. I had a few successful artists buying my clothing but I don’t think I was successful because I wasn’t living off my profits, you know? I was just making enough money to put it back into the product, so music felt like a natural progression.
When can we expect to hear a new album?
The album is coming out this year sometime in November, and I’d like to say you’re the first person I’m telling this to.
Do you have any plans to return to the U.K. anytime soon?
As soon as this album comes out as I want to touch the people of the U.K. again and perform my new songs. That’s what I’m most excited about, performing these new songs, and that’s because the new album has a whole new sonic to it. The music is different, the content is different, and I want to see how it affects the U.K. people.