A$AP Illz has high hopes. "I want to be somebody that people are gonna know," he told FADER, "not just for one thing or two things, but for an expanse of things—for being a talented person." We invited the Bronx-born 24-year-old, who caught a big wave of public attention this year with a DKNY casting, up to the office to talk about fashion, but what we got was more like a glimpse into his life. We spoke about his mom's passing and the jewelry line he's building in tribute, about how his sister's mac and cheese is his favorite food in the world, and about the way he wakes up each morning: wanting to be remembered. Below, he shows us what that life looks like.
I have a lot of zen time early in the morning; that's the best time to meditate. When I'm home I'm mostly in my bed, imagining the next vision. I have a crazy imagination. I think, How am I gonna be somebody that's remembered when I die? I think about how to make a million. I don't really do too much right in the morning; I just watch the dust and go whichever way the day compels me. Then, I decide what kind of cologne I wanna wear. I like Yves Saint Lauren L'Homme and Daisy. When I was younger, I used to steal my mom's Gucci Rush. Cologne should always be unisex. I don't like too many manly colognes cause they stick in the air. Some are a little too musky; you gotta go with the right one.
This was actually a mistake—kinda. I used to have a 'fro, but I got sick of going to the barber. I was gonna get box braids, but I started drying it with T-shirts and towels and stuff, and my curly hair started lashing together. I never really straight twisted them until after the DKNY shoot when I had a hairstylist. I'm not trying to let it grow too long. It's a lot to keep up with. I use a lot of oils: coconut oil, argan oil. I like this the way it looks: raw but neat. I see a lot of Ralph Lauren models out there looking like me, too.
My mom left this piece to me (pictured above, right). She had a jeweler make it. My mom had a good eye. This chain has been through like, generations. I'm gonna do a collection based on it. Everything is gonna be gold. No dipped—none of that fake gold. None of that cutting corners stuff. I have sensitive skin, so I need white gold or rose gold. One time my finger turned green from a ring. The chain (above, left) was a gift from Guillermo at 424 Fairfax. He did A$AP friends and family chains. This was like two years ago. The ring on the chain is like a friendship ring from my friend Chynna. I'm not just gonna put on a piece of jewelry just 'cause you want me to rock it. It has to be real. I have to have some connection to it.
I do a lot of thrifting, but I don't wanna give out my spot. Everybody knows most of the shops in New York anyway. At the right spots, you can get maybe half-off what you would pay off the runway. I usually go for archive stuff, but if a thrift piece catches my eye, it doesn't have to be designer. I like a lot of old designer stuff that you can't really get again. This Raf blazer I'm wearing is from 2009. I like suits with a sporty, classy look. I don't like it when the brand is all over it, like Ok, it's Wang. I never really had an itch for that type of stuff. I always went the opposite way: I'm talking about Ann Demeulemeester, Raf, Goyard. I like classic stuff.
I'm really big on sneakers. When I was growing up, I had almost every pair of Jordans, but they're all gone now. I've been restocking my collection with rare sneakers. I have people in London that send me some and I have people at Supreme that hook me up. I don't wear too many designer sneakers because they're not as comfortable. The only pair of those that I wore are the Astros: those anime-looking, two-strap Rafs from 2003. I left them at my studio one night and they just never turned up again. I hate Chelsea boots—I stay away from that whole thing. When I used to wear Hush Puppies back in the day, I used to cry. I used to be like, "No ma, I don't want to wear Hush Puppies today!" She said, "You're gonna wear those hush puppies or else!"
I eat a lot of soul food. I have had some of the best macaroni and cheeses in all of America. It's my favorite dish. My sister makes it now. She actually makes macaroni muffins and all types of crazy stuff. It's pretty dope. I like bread and chicken cutlets. I love to eat salmon any type of way: baked, broiled, steamed. I'm actually licking my lips. This Japanese market, Sunrise Mart, on Broome is pretty good; it has good french fries. The Bronx spot is called Cea-Lo. There's one in Manhattan, too. I have a 24-hour seafood spot I always go to. It's like, Catch me in there after the club. Catch me in there at four in the morning with the homies, getting some fish.