After a brief hiatus from music, A$AP Twelvyy comes back into the game an independent artist. I got the chance to speak with Twelvyy following the A$AP Mob’s virtual celebration of YAMS day. Quarantine may have slowed things down, but he’s been able to keep busy with his latest album release, Noon Yung, managing a new record label and building a clothing brand. It was apparent in our conversations that beyond his cool demeanor, he knew he had the status to back his confidence. He is an artist that has endured the music game long enough to reflect and share his wisdom.
“Before Noon” & “Noon Yung”
A$AP Twelvyy celebrates his newfound artistic freedom in 2020 with the release of his projects Before Noon and Noon Yung. It’s only fitting that the sequence of these albums can be viewed as coming out of one phase stepping into another.
The years-long hiatus since his debut project 12 allowed him to breakaway and reevaluate. Before Noon and Noon Yung reflect a moment of resurgence. He’s back with new eyes and a fresher perspective. “A lot can happen in three years. I got my pen better, my image better, my style better, my mind better, my spirit, all that. I needed to take the time out the game to understand the game.” he explains.
A$AP Twelvyy released his debut album 12 back in 2017 under a major label alongside other A$AP members. The label often treated the collectives individual releases as a package deal. Twelvyy expresses that during that during at time of its release, 12 never really got the full attention and support it deserved. After cutting ties with the label and branching out as an independent artist, Before Noon and Noon Yung are just the beginning of what he feels is his renaissance.
“I’m looking to take over this shit, you know, and it’s looking like I am. I’m covering bases, more fans are coming in, more supporters, more family. I feel better than I did before.”
Having back-to-back projects with similar names and themes leave people to wonder if the rappers aims to turn these albums into a trilogy. Fans would be surprised to know that Before Noon wasn’t even supposed to happen. During the process of recording the original album, Twelvyy shares how the Mac and hard drive where the first project was stored had been stolen. Thankfully, a few files were able to saved. In effort to stall time for the creation of Noon Yung, those files soon became the project Before Noon. The album contains crowd favorites like ‘Bill Collector’ and ‘Kratez.’
Noon Yung is a project complete with social commentary, story telling, and hype-tracks. Singles like ‘Fahrenheit 2020’, ‘Weatherman’, and ‘Poets’ bought out the lyrical side of Twelvyy as he spoke on current social issues. Last year, he found himself in the middle of protests and riots in LA during the summer.
Twelvyy used that experience as fuel to be able to freestyle on the albums tracks. When he released 12, he did not have the luxury of being able say what came to his mind in the booth. With Noon Yung, he had the freedom of total expression. “This time I really got to understand the concept of like just being of the moment; yah flow state, talking and practicing your truths, it just happened like that. I got to tell the people about the pandemic, the regular everyday struggles, the stimulus shit, people getting stuck up, cops killing kids like all that shit. I just kept it real.”
Speaking on conscious subjects has always been a fragile territory to tread for most hip hop artists. There are stigmas that surround being a labeled “woke rapper.” That title could sometimes keep an artist from mainstream success while catering to a very niche audience. Noon Yung is not a considered conscious album however, A$AP Twelvyy believes that the art of rap should always reflect real life experiences.
I got to be of the moment. I got to forecast the narrative as is…Sometimes it’s like, “you’re being too conscience,” and people don’t want to hear that shit. But yo, some point in history, they are going to respect that I did that .
Last Year Being Broke(n)
It is evident that owning your creative freedom is a passion of A$AP Twelvyy’s. He is currently the CEO of ‘Last Year Being Broke(n) Records’. The label has four members including Twelvyy, Billz Raw, E-Millz, and Atlanta’s Young Shotta as the latest signee.
“Last Year Being Broke” is a mantra Twelvyy lives by. The statement aims to inspire a growth mind-state by turning your mistakes into lessons. With almost a decade in the spotlight, he understands the pressures of feeling like you have to live up to someone’s standards. In this new venture, he aims to do things differently. “I feel like major labels, they got the capital but they don’t have the integrity sometimes. They don’t really understand you. I was going through some personal shit, you know, a label isn’t supposed to care about that. So it’s like, let me start a label where I can control my own destiny. I could put out what I want to put out, I could do what I want to do.”
The A$AP Mob has been an influential force in both hip hop and fashion for an entire generation. It’s a no brainer that members would want to branch out and leave their marks in the apparel world. The group often exchanges and help one another build their ideas. After A$AP Yams passing in 2015, A$AP Atty suggested that ‘Last Year Being Broke’ (LYBB) should be on a shirt. A$AP Rocky followed up with suggesting First Year Being Rich (FYBR) should be included and the brand has been building ever since. For 2021 and beyond, Twelvyy looks to expand the company into other avenues.
“I want to go from home décor, to being in schools with children books. I got muthafuckin toy plushes right now, you know a lil Jamal coming soon; a brother, dark-skinned kid from the gutta. I collect toys, comic books, and shit like that and what I see is a lot of white faces. I don’t see enough of us so I wanna change that dynamic. That’s the type of shit I’m on, just lateral thinking man, going up.”
The music and fashion worlds seem like opposites but Twelvyy asserts that they are sides of the same coin. To survive in either industry, you just have to be ahead of the game and not lose sight of yourself in the process. “You got to just find ways to always adjust without losing what they love you for.” he states.
After years of paying dues, A$AP Twelvyy is ready to have his knowledge pay off as he navigates through the music industry on his own terms. As a seasoned veteran of the game, it’s evident that he only wants to continue building a legacy.
I want them to see that like, I’m iconic. I’m one of the most influential beings ever, one of the most influential artists ever, you feel me. I’m of the best lyricists ever, storytellers ever. I never put out a wack song, a wack project or put out a wack product. Never did no bullshit, stayed 10 toes. I kept it Jamel Phillips…I want people to love me for me.
Stream ASAP Twelvy’s latest project “Noon Yung” down below.