After traveling to Liberia to provide school outfits for kids through his collaboration with Uniform, Ferg (born Darold D. Brown Ferguson Jr.) recently joined forces with Fancy to sell home goods. While the “New Level” MC relishes piecing together ensembles, he’s opened up his empire to sell welcome mats, clocks, and scented candles. On Thursday (June 1), the multi-faceted star will welcome fans at his pop-up shop in Harlem, where he remodeled the space to resemble his childhood apartment.
Musically, Ferg is working on his Still Striving album, which follows his sophomore effort, 2016’s Always Strive and Propser. Last month, he also dropped his star-studded video for “East Coast,” featuring Remy Ma. Since then, he’s been gallivanting around the country with Migos and Tory Lanez for Future’s Nobody Safe Tour.
In the midst of the madness, Ferg hopped on the phone with Billboard to speak on his new collaboration with Fancy, touring with Future, where he stands with his new project Still Striving, and if he believes rompers have a place in hip-hop.
Congrats on the collaboration with Fancy. How did everything come together?
So I’ve been with Fancy since a year ago. We were in a conversation on going into a venture together and the first product we came up with was a Trap Lord rug. It sold out almost immediately. From there, we started focusing on the next move. Me and the Fancy team put our heads together, and we figured out a few different products on the website. That’s how I came up with the home goods idea. I never do anything traditional or expected, but I always want it to be new. I got into the home goods because I thought that would be a good way to expand the Trap Lord brand.
You just came back from Liberia as part of your collaboration with Uniform, where you created outfits for the kids there. Talk about how that experience shaped your mindset on life.
That whole experience was humbling. I went over there in a little funk, and a little kind of down. Sometimes when you’re making moves in life, the tunnel is not that clear for you. But once you’re put in humbling situations, whatever I’m going through, whatever bad things I might have thought of past situations, nothing compares to what them people are going through. It made me put everything in perspective and I regrouped myself. Now I got my head on tight and I’m ready to go to war again.
The pop-up shop for your collaboration with Fancy will take place in your hometown of New York City. What can fans expect when they walk in?
Like you said, it’s gonna be in my city. It’s gonna be dope because it’s gonna be set up like my apartment. I have a bed with the comforters. My comforters, my rugs, my clock, candles lit everywhere. We’re gonna have towels. It’s gonna be like you really walked into my crib.
Is your tour bus kind of set up the same way?
I have my Trap Lord rug on my tour-bus. We just put that right in the middle of the floor on the tour bus. If you got an office, it’s perfect for people who can’t wear hoodies or normal clothes and wanna walk with the brand. They can represent with a clock or a candle on the edge of their desk.
With you taking leaps in the fashion world and now with the home collection, do you feel that these side ventures will overtake your passion for rapping?
Yeah, I had told myself [because] I’ve been doing so much dibbling and dabbling with the clothes. It’s a big process. It’s long and it’s gruesome. And it does kind of take me away from making music sometimes. But I always had the idea of what songs I wanna do. It’s just a matter of getting to it. I just scheduled time to work on side projects and collaborations.
But when it’s album time, it’s album time. I go at it like I’m a boxer in the ring. That’s where I’m at now. Everything is lining up. There’s a reason why we’re dropping things now. That’s because I’m dropping new music. With new music comes new clothing and new everything, so it’s like, we’re living in Ferg’s world.
You’re currently on Future’s Nobody Safe tour. Which city has been your favorite thus far to perform in?
I didn’t make it to the Barclays one. I thought that would have been my favorite one ’cause that was in [New York] city. I had to do another show, but I would have to say one of my favorite cities was Toronto, just because I hardly get to see the kids in Toronto. When they see me, they just go crazy. We did it in the Raptors’ arena [the Air Canada Centre] and the roar when I came out was just huge.
The crowd must have went crazy when you and Future performed “New Level.”
Yeah, they definitely went nuts for that. We got this routine that we do onstage with the dancing and everything. You gotta be there to witness it. It’s crazy.
You’ve been teasing your new project Still Striving for some time now. What’s the update on it?
The thing with the project is that the music is done. As you know, we have to clear songs, and we’re just making sure that the rollout is proper, because there’s been times that I put out the music and there were really good songs, but it doesn’t live too long because the rollout may have not been tight enough. We just wanna make sure that the rollout is right this go-round, because it’s a really, really good body of work.
Like you said, I’ve been working on it for a minute. I got some real good stuff I wanna give the people — videos, visuals, and things like that. Even with the “East Coast” visual, I wanted to make sure that everything is of that standard.
Speaking of the “East Coast” video, do you feel that the pendulum is swinging over back to the East Coast in terms of music? If not, what do you think it’s gonna take for it to get there?
More songs like that. More us repping the East Coast, and repping where we’re from, repping our sound. We can expand our sound at times, but there’s something about that boom-bap that reminds you of the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn. That’s our DNA of rap. That’s how it started. Then, we kind of got into these other genres. We had Run-D.M.C. mix rock with the rapping. You have trap that the South created, which is more drums-driven and [with] different cadences. But that’s how I identify what New York and the East Coast is — that boom-bap.
That’s what I was kind of bringing back with that sound. I was trying to bring it back to the city and my coast. I would love for artists to do what they do and feel no pressure. I can’t tell you to do what you do. I just think as long as you go with the right intent, then you should be good.
Can fans expect that boom-bap sound on Still Striving?
This sound is definitely more turnt-up. I gave people some boom-bap on Always Strive and Prosper. The “Psycho” joint in particular, “Let It Bang,” and just some spoken word on “Beautiful People.” That was more introspective, I would say, as far as getting people to know who Ferg is; the trials and tribulations of my life.
With Still Striving, I wanted to hit the clubs. I wanted to have some fun, since we were so serious on Always Strive and Prosper. I want to hit people with some bangers that’ll keep them moving.
As far as features, who do you have this time around?
I always like to keep that as a surprise, but I will say there’s some legendary people on there, Two, I had so many features on Always Strive and Prosper, I just wanted to kind of hone in on who Ferg is, and what I’m trying to do with the music — I have a lot of good ideas and a lot of songs. If you’re a Ferg fan, you gotta be ready for what’s about to come to you.
With your love for fashion, what’s your thoughts on men in rompers? Are you a fan?
I don’t know if dudes are wearing rompers. I’ve seen that dude wearing it, but I just think he’s trolling. I think with what the internet created is a group of people who just do things for attention now. You got a lot of comedians. It’s not different from Jamie Foxx being Wanda on Living Color or you know Tyler Perry being Madea. It’s just these kids are thinking of a way to grab attention any way that they can. I don’t think it’s there to make too much of it. It’s gonna make noise and die out like it usually does.