Last winter, the A$AP Mob dropped Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. In addition to cuts best fit for hustling, partying and lavish living, fans who listened were also treated to intimate interludes that featured the clique’s star rhymers A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and friends talking about how “Cozy” they are.
“Yesterday,” Rocky says at one point in a bodega, “I came through with the Valentino shorts with the fu*king white and red pinstripes on them motherfuckers.” The Harlem rapper, who recently became the first black male face of Dior and also refers to himself as “That pretty motherfuc*er,” goes on to detail more of his outfit before punctuating it with “Too cozy.” Rocky’s buddies confirm his status with laughter and by echoing the term.
Billboard spoke with Trap Lord designer Darold “A$AP Ferg” Ferguson, Jr., who recently attended his first Paris Fashion Week with his pal Rocky, to explain what it takes to be cozy while walking us through his favorite cozy look from Fall 2017 Men’s shows and sharing his collaborative goals for the year.
How was your first Paris Fashion Week?
It was amazing, man. It was really like “Nig*as in Paris.” We were the only black guys at the Dior dinner. We were with [chief executive] Sidney [Toledano] and a couple of the models who are the faces of Dior.
We were just turning up. We went to the Dior masquerade party. I got fitted for a Dior tuxedo. I put on a Dior mask. We walked in there and they had fortune tellers and the best models in the world. We saw a couple of homies there, like Kendall [Jenner] and Bella [Hadid]. We chopped it up with them. We saw some actors and actresses we know. It was a really dope experience. That’s living for me. When you’re able to break these boundaries and farther than what you would have imagined.
I hung out with [Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director] Kim Jones. He gave me a pair of red Supreme slippers. That’s all I really wanted, because everything else has the big Supreme logo on it. They’re dope. Thank God that they fit me, because there was only one pair in the office.
I met up with my Pigalle homies. I went to the Olivier [Rousteing] Balmain party, which was at my boy’s club. It was cool.
Do you ever feel out of place at events like that? “Niggas in Paris” has a great line about Kanye and Jay being in an unlikely place.
Nah. First of all, you’re dealing with an artist who’s already diverse. I went to art school [the High School of Art and Design in New York]. And my lunch table had people from all walks of life sitting at it. Whether you were from Brooklyn or a gay dude from Long Island or a Chinese guy that was ill with graffiti or a Harlem dude rolling dice, or gothic kids… There were all walks of life. So when I’m at the Dior dinner, I don’t feel out of place. I used to feel more out of place in the ‘hood, if anything.
Yeah, because I was always the black sheep and people didn’t get that I loved style and fashion. When I go to things like the Dior show, I feel like I’m supposed to be there. I read about these things. I watched movies that were shot in Paris. I know about the luxuriousness of it. I know about Josephine Baker learning French and how she basically became a queen out there and then coming back to the U.S. and desegregating her crowd, because they were doing that in Paris. That’s what I think about.
Or Kanye and Pharrell. Those are the forefathers that opened the door for us to do what we do and attend these shows and feel comfortable. You still have snobby fashionistas who might turn their noses up, but we didn’t experience any of that. It was all love.
Your favorite look for Fashion Week Fall ’17 was this Fendi ensemble. Why’d you love it so much?
I loved the slippers. That’s just me all the way. That represents cozy to me. I see those and I think about [deceased friend and A$AP label exec.] Yams. I think he would have done that look—as far as the slippers. He probably would’ve worn a track suit with it.
And that striped bag is crazy to me. I love those colors. The navy blue pants with the quilted pattern are fire. Fendi’s coming with it.
How would you define “Cozy”?
“Cozy” is more of a feeling than anything. You can be in a suit and be like, “Yo, I’m cozy.” It’s just about how you’re feeling in that place or environment. You can be in a meeting with billionaires talking. But if you’re confident, you feel cozy. You’re in a room full of sharks and you’re swimming very well.
“Cozy” style is all derived from A.S.A.P. Yams. He was Cozy Yoda. He wore slippers to the strip club. He wore Versace robes. I once took his Fendi slippers. I couldn’t even fit them. He accidentally put them in my bag and he never got them back. Yams was extra cozy.
So you were cozy in that Dior tux, right?
Oh, I was very cozy at the masquerade party! I felt like Master Bruce. I transformed with that coziness. It could be anything. A fur coat. A velour sweatsuit. That’s ultra cozy. We want you to be so cozy that you [feel like you do when you] wear your pajamas and blanket. That’s how cozy we want people to be.
Are you a big spender now that you’ve put out a few albums and gotten comfortable?
This year, I just started buying stuff. Before I was getting the infrastructure right for my business and making sure everything is running well. You can be an artist, but at the same time, you’ve got to make sure the paperwork is right. You’ve got to be on top of your business. That’s what I was doing. Behind the scenes, I was designing stuff for Adidas, signing deals with Citizens [of Humanity] and AGOLDE. I was doing different things. I was working with Trap Lord. I was being more of a designer and the architect of my destiny.
You Fuck With The Bull, You Get The Horns!!!! A$AP YAMS(RIP—-) & ASVP FERG BROUGHT ME OUT OF RETIREMENT! AND FLACKO said Ben you can’t retire, the game needs you. So now I’m back like cooked crack! We had to hit you with 65 carats of them white VVS’s on a white gold 3-D #YAMBORGHINI piece for #YAMSDAY!!!!! ——– Custom Hermes Link diamond chain. Baguettes on YAMS teeth! Solitaires in YAMS eyes. Custom Made for @asapferg #ALWAYSSTRIVEANDPROSPER #Harlem #ASAPMOB #asapferg #ASAPYAMS #ASAPfoundation #IFANDCO #BENBALLER And now no jeweler is safe. ATTENTION: New @IFANDCO flagship store location coming soon in #Koreatown this Spring 2017!!!!! —-
Now is the year of the glow. You’re seeing Niggarace step out. Because I already put in the work. I gave some of my friends opportunities. Now it’s time to shine and spend money and enjoy it. I just bought the Yamborghini chain. Ben Baller made it. “Fuck with the bull, you get the horns” is engraved on the back. I got Yams’ mom a chain. We got matching chains. I got new grills, new rings, and new clothes.
Your father had a strong background in design and fashion, right?
Yeah, my father [Darold Ferguson] did the Bad Boy logo for Puff Daddy and the Uptown logo for Andre Harrell. He also had a boutique in Harlem. My jewelry and my rings, they’ve got a logo that he created. It’s how I brand myself and sign my autographs, continuing his legacy.
I’m sure it was important for your to keep his legacy going in that regard.
Definitely. But not just for him. For me, too. It’s in me to do that. I went to school for art and design and my major was Fashion and my minor was Fine Arts. I grew up doing abstract paintings. I studied different artists, every major one you could think of. It’s always been essential in my life. But also, rap was like my sport. You didn’t have to pay to battle your friends or a neighborhood rival. I wasn’t too much of a basketball or football player, but I could rap my ass off. It kind of made us tough. My friends and I would battle each other so that we’d be ready to battle people in other neighborhoods.
What can we look forward to you doing in fashion and beyond this year?
I just did a big deal with Samsung. We’re going to hit all these places that love me, but really don’t get the attention that they should. Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia. We’re going to go worldwide with it.
[Trap Lord is] going to do a lot of collaborations. I’ve been going and sitting in a lot of meetings with brands that I grew up loving. I think that people are really going to appreciate it. There will be pieces that are one of a kind. There will be a lot of affordable pieces. A lot of people love the brand. Anybody can become a trap lord. A suburbia kid can, wherever you’re from, if you feel the way I feel.
I feel like whatever you put on is your identity. I’m not going to put on anything. Just because I’m a fan of Jay Z doesn’t mean I was wearing Rocawear. I mean, everybody had a Rocawear t-shirt coming up. I definitely had a State Property jacket!
I was always ahead of my time when it came to style and fashion, though. I never wanted to look like anyone else. I never wanted to have the same Jordans people had. Sometimes [in high school] I’d pay an extra $100 to get my Jordans a day before everybody else did. I’d go to school and shut it down by being the first. Just to get the look in the hallway first. And then it’s on to the next pair.
What other brands are you a big fan of right now?
To be honest, VLONE is coming with it. And I’m not just saying that because those are my brothers. VLONE is dope. Trap Lord is dope. Anything is kind of generic to me. I’ve seen it before. Gosha is coming hard with some pieces and their accessories. Of course, I’ve got to say DIor. [Artistic Director] Kris Van Assche is going crazy with the furs. Otherwise? I really don’t know. I’m not really a brand head. I’m more of a style head.
Your next solo album is coming soon. What are you giving fans with the music you’re putting out this year?
They need the energy we first brought as the A$AP Mob when kicked down the door. That’s what we’re back on now. Rocky and I have been in the studio for weeks. We’ve been building on the Cozy Tapes. I’ve been working on my music and his music. Cozy Tapes 2 is looking real promising. We want to hit people over the head with it again and let them know we’re not playing. I’ve got a whole project that’s ready and about to get mixed. At any moment, I can drop that.