If you’re not familiar with A$AP TyY, it’s time to get familiar. Coming up as a member of A$AP Rocky’s A$AP Mob collective, the rising star is here to put on for his hometown of Harlem, New York, bringing back that raw, gritty, aggressive flow that hip-hop lovers all around the world can appreciate.
In describing himself, TyY states he’s “a guy from Harlem, pioneer to the streets. I do a lot of important things. I’m a social figure, I’m heavily into the streets, a real influence in the culture.”
While rappers who hail from the East Coast all share the sentiment when it comes to the birth of hip-hop, A$AP TyY tells his own unique story. From hustling and navigating the streets of Harlem to now building his own loyal fanbase and presence in the music industry, TyY might just be rap’s Best Kept Secret, also the same name of his mixtape back in 2016.
Fast forward to 2021, TyY returns to unleash his newest single titled “Ting” ft. Ayo Jay, arriving on the heels of his previous releases “100 Rounds” and “1990.” This holds fans over until the release of his full-length debut, slated to be released sometime next year. Additionally, he’s been doing his thing on the fashion front, collaborating with notable brands including the recent announcement as the face of the newly launched KSUBI GOLD campaign. He’s establishing himself as a style icon like the rest of his peers in the Mob.
Flaunt caught up with A$AP TyY in person at Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles, who was in high spirits posted on the West Coast. Read below as we discuss his roots in Harlem, moving to Jersey, how the pandemic affected him, recording “100 Rounds” in Los Angeles, love for biking and bike life culture, the making of “1990,” his fashion sense and favorite brands, new single “Ting,” and more!
How’d it feel to do Rolling Loud New York in your city?
Rolling Loud is Rolling Loud man, it’s amazing. I was happy to be a part of the whole situation. Shout out to the whole camp, A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky. It’s a dope experience every time I meet up with the family. It’s love, just another moment to remember. Epic night, shout out to the Mob man.
What does Harlem mean to you?
Harlem is culture. We have a big influence on the world. When it comes to Harlem, we start a lot of trends. I feel great to be a part of the Harlem culture and to keep the legacy alive, because we’re very influential on the world.
Do you still stay there?
I actually moved to Jersey.
How do you like Jersey?
Jersey’s cool. Traveling back and forth, I needed a little balance. I used to come back in the city, it was just back into the bullshit. I could get off a flight, then be right back in the club in about 2 hours. It’s a little balance now that I’m in Jersey, even though I’m not too far.
How was the pandemic for you?
It was a gift and a curse. I definitely lost a lot of loved ones within this pandemic. A lot of people lost jobs, a lot of different things happened. It made me really get back to the grind and understand who I was. I had to tap into my inner self in a sense. A lot of great things happened. I actually got a distribution deal in the middle of the pandemic with AWAL, so that was a blessing. Shout out AWAL.
“100 Rounds” out now. How are you feeling?
We got a lot of great content, a lot of great music. I’m just happy to be in the right state of mind to display this talent I have for the world, that’s yet to come. It’s coming very soon.
What were you on recording that one?
I recorded that in LA. It was good vibes: a couple of drinks, blunts flowing. A lot of this music is never premeditated because some of these songs, I don’t go into the studio with it written. I usually go off energy and that’s how that came out. I always go into the direction in a song or how I might want to approach the song – then when it’s fully done, it’s not even in a way that I had projected it to be. But it’s cool, it works for me.
What were you projecting it to be?
Sometimes maybe I start off trying to make a love song, then I start talking about me on the block or me going through some other situation. Sometimes, my mind is all over the place. I have a lot of thoughts in my head.
What was TyY like back when you were growing up in Harlem?
Growing up in the city and coming from the neighborhood I came from, you were surrounded by a lot of different things. Sometimes, you can get influenced by the streets. I was young in the streets at the time, so I gravitated towards certain things. I seen nice cars, I seen hustlers in chains. I seen pretty women. Those things influenced me and I took those steps in a sense, but everything isn’t for everybody. I knew real fast that that wasn’t the life for me.
Is that when music took over?
I’d say when I really was heavily into the biking. I was always able to leave my block, being that I had the bike. I was able to see what the city had to offer versus me just staying on my block. When I had my pedal bike, I was able to go through Central Park. I always used to ride down from Harlem. I was all the way in the Bronx. I was in Queens, I was in Brooklyn. The bike is what kept me out of trouble in a sense.
What do you feel when riding bikes?
Oh man, I can’t even explain the feeling. To be honest with you, it’s like an adrenaline rush. The thrill I get when riding doesn’t compare to anything else. Nothing can satisfy me more than a bike.
How do y’all do those tricks? it looks like you’re one second from losing your life!
I think that’s what makes it so intriguing. It’s sad to say, but that’s the thrill of it. It’s like a rollercoaster, right? You get stuck on a loop, you don’t know but you’re still going to get on the rollercoaster. It’s the chances you might take. You could jump out of a plane and your parachute don’t work. You could bungee jump and the chord could snap.
Have you had any incidents on the bike?
I fall every now and then, but that’s a part of it. The craziest fall I probably had was when I got hit by a car. Broke my leg in 3 places, I thought I’d never walk the same again. That was one of the craziest.
Was it traumatizing?
Not necessarily. It’s more a point of me feeling like the bikes get the best of me. Being that it was hard for me to navigate and get to where I’m at now, that’s what made it so interesting. That it was a challenge for me.
What were you going through recording “1990”?
“1990” was a dope song, a really deep track. I tapped into a lot of relatable topics and difficult things. I touched on how COVID was taking control over a lot of people’s lives. That’s a very deep track that I was pouring out into the world to let them know a view of my take on the world. That was the mindset I was in making that song. 1990 is the year I was born.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
There’s no way to describe it, I have a unique style. I feel a lot of these styles mimic the bike life culture, as far as the leather jeans, the leather jackets, the rips in the pants. The whole aesthetic of the dirty dingy look, I think that all comes from bikes in general. The majority of the world is copying off of my swag, because I rode these bikes and got rips in my pants. I got stains on leather jackets from falling and doing certain things. Now people are taking the biker culture and making it trendy. All these brands use the bike life mood board. The bike life aesthetic.
What are your favorite brands?
I fuck with Rick Owens. I fuck with KSUBI. I love Nike. My brand too, I have an upcoming brand called Bikers Never Worry. It’ll be out very soon. I fuck with VLONE, I fuck with Last Year Being Broke. I fuck with Supreme, a couple other brands.
How’d it feel being in A$AP Ferg’s documentary?
It was cool, it was dope. Everytime we meet up, it’s a family affair. It’s all love. I tilt my hat to that guy, shout out to Ferg for keeping me a part of certain things he has going on. And always reaching out, being the true brother that he’s always been.
How would you describe your new single “Ting”?
It is a dope vibe that’s different from my normal. I’m tapping into a different demographic as far as music. It’s definitely expanding it and seeing how I can navigate and try other different lanes. It’s a record for the females.
What’re you excited for next?
Getting this album off the ground. Working on new content, more new music. Getting back into touring overseas, and being the best I can be.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Shout to the dope team I have that’s working day in and day out to make this dream come into fruition. Shout out to good energy, shout out to great people. Shout out to people that want to do better in life, that’s always striving to prosper. Never give up, stay focused on your goals. Keep your integrity, stay positive and you shall fulfill your dreams.