Longevity is the enemy of the internet. We are living in a whirlwind, a news cycle constantly destroying itself in the search for new material. It's as true in music as it is anywhere else, and to stay relevant, you have to bring something new.
ASAP Mob understood this from the beginning. They first started making noise in New York in 2006, welcoming a steady stream of new members who brought their own sauce to the group. ASAP Twelvyy joined shortly thereafter, and by the time ASAP Rocky signed a multimillion dollar deal in 2011, the plan was in motion—year after year, the group has targeted and dominated a new corner of the music market. By 2017, Twelvyy had cemented himself as one of the Mob's most reliable members. But due to some scrapped plans and Yams' untimely death in 2015, he had yet to release a solo project.
That all changed this past August with the arrival of 12. In 2014, ASAP Yams called it "the best NY rap album in years," and he wasn't far off. It's a dense, fiery collection of songs that simultaneously embraces the past and future in true ASAP fashion, especially on the Phantogram-sampling "Diamonds" and the murky aggression of "A Glorious Death." Features from Ferg, Rocky, Joey Badass, Flatbush Zombies, and the rest of the Mob ensure 12 as a decidedly East Coast family affair, but the production is often as modern and forward-thinking as anything else out.
Through it all, Twelvyy plays the ringmaster—it would be easy to get lost in so many big names, but now Twevlyy is one of them. We caught up with the Harlem-born rapper to take it back to the start, and hear how he plans to give back to the neighborhood that raised him. "There were days I didn't have anything but music to listen to," Twelvyy says. "Right now, I'm still trying to figure out what success is... I still have a long way to go. I wanna help. I wanna help for real, because a lot of people get, but they don't give... Or they give, but they give in the wrong way."
Watch our Who Is? with Twelvyy above, and listen to 12 below.