Behind the Name: How Did A$AP Rocky Get His Moniker?

It’s common for rappers to use pseudonyms but few are as synonymous with modern rap as A$AP Rocky.

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Since debuting on the scene in the early 2010s, Rocky has clinched countless features, four lauded albums, and enough fashion campaigns to earn him model status.

All of his pursuits fall under the A$AP Rocky banner, but how did he come up with the nickname? Find out below.

[RELATED: A$AP Rocky Apologizes to Fans for Shortened Festival Set – “Not Able to Bring My Vision to Fruition”]

How did A$AP Rocky Get His Name?

A$AP was born Rakin Mayers—a name that will prove familiar to hip-hop fans. He was named after Rakim, a legendary rapper who is generally regarded as one of the all-time greats.

Whether he didn’t want to operate in that shadow or just felt the name wasn’t indicative of his burgeoning rap career, Mayers decided to adopt the stage name A$AP Rocky.

The name was conjured up when the rapper was back home in New York City. His entire crew had A$AP preceding their name. The collective of rappers, directors, fashion designers, and other artists was dubbed the A$AP Mob. The acronym stands for “Always Strive and Prosper.”

Rocky was a nickname his mother gave him when he was younger. Put the two together and you have an unforgettable rap alter ego.

His Career So Far

Rocky joined the A$AP Mob in 2007. A few years later, he shared his single “Purple Swag,” which became a street anthem in Harlem.

In August 2011, a song called “Peso” was leaked online. The song gained so much traction that it received airplay on New York’s Hot 97 within weeks.

Capitalizing on the success of both “Peso” and “Purple Swag,” Rocky released a mixtape titled Live. Love. A$AP. The mixtape was met with critical acclaim – so much so that he landed a $3 million record deal with Polo Ground Music.

His debut studio album, Long. Live. A$AP, was released in 2013 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album has since been certified gold by the RIAA.

The next few years would be a whirlwind of releases, features, tours and more as Rocky rose in the rap ranks thanks to his stellar debut. His most recent album, Testing, was shared in 2018, debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

On top of a successful music career, Rocky has become increasingly in demand in the fashion world, having collaborated on collections for JW Anderson and Guess Originals and appearing in campaigns for DKNY and Dior Homme.

Rocky and Rihanna welcomed their first child together in 2022 and they have another on the way.

“I will always remind my children to never lose their imagination, even as adults, no matter what … I hope to raise open-minded children. Not people who discriminate,” Rocky previously said of fatherhood. “And I’m not trying to describe a saint, but realistically, I just want a cool child with cool parents.”

Photo: Tina Benitez-Eves

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