Harlem native A$AP Rocky is putting New York hip-hop back on the map with his punk-tinged, southern-styled lyrical wordplay. Influenced by his hometown brethren the Diplomats and thelegendary Port Arthur,Texas duo UGK, A$AP’s modern take on sex, drugs and nightlife holds no punches, while maintaining a steady dose of artistic swagger. And just like the best of them, A$AP, who’s parents blessed him with the name Rakim (yes, the rapper of the 18th letter fame) never stands alone; currently eight additional members who make frequent appearances on his records and his performances make up his A$AP mob. As one of the new faces of Alexander Wang and with two highly-praised mixtapes—Deep Purple and Live Love A$AP— under his belt, it’s no wonder why Sony signed pretty Rocky to a major label deal. So what’s left to be said about hip-hop’s new golden child, who’s the master of his own creative enterprise? Long live A$AP.