Rakim Mayers better known by his stage name, ASAP Rocky is an American rapper. He was born and raised in Harlem. He is a member of the hip hop collective ASAP Mob, from which he adopted his moniker.
Born in 1988, Mayers was named after the hip hop legend Rakim, one half of the Eric B. & Rakim duo. When he was 12 years old, his father went to jail in connection with selling drugs. A year later his older brother was killed near his apartment, which inspired him to take rapping seriously. Mayers, who had started rapping at age eight, grew up admiring Harlem-based rap group The Diplomats, and also lists among his influences UGK,Three 6 Mafia, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Run DMC and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. After living in a shelter with his mother, and elsewhere around Manhattan, Mayers moved to Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
Rocky released his debut mixtape Live. Love. ASAP in 2011 to critical acclaim. His debut album Long. Live. ASAP was released on January 15, 2013, and was also well received by critics and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. In 2007, Rocky joined the ASAP Mob crew, a Harlem-based collective of rappers, producers, music video directors, fashion designers, and bikers who shared similar interests in music, fashion, style, and art. It had been formed by ASAP Yams, ASAP Bari and ASAP Illz. ASAP was an acronym for "Always Strive and Prosper". On July 8, 2011, an unofficial compilation titled Deep Purple was released, which according to Rocky, was a compilation of his YouTube hits compiled by a fan in Paris.
In August, Rocky's first single "Peso" was leaked onto the Internet and within weeks received airplay on the high-profile Hot 97 New York radio station. After he released a music video for his song "Purple Swag", he received attention from several record labels. In October, he released the mixtape Live. Love. ASAP to critical acclaim and signed a two-year, $3 million record deal with RCA Records and Polo Grounds Music. Upon his record deal, Rocky started a label, ASAP Worldwide, with ASAP Yams. On December 5, he was nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 poll.
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