Between touring, recording and wildin’ out in Target together, A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator is the best bromance since Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. But things weren’t always cool between the pair’s respective crews.
With Rocky and Tyler stepping into the spotlight in the same year, comparisons between A$AP Mob and Odd Future were inevitable. Not only representing two different coasts, the groups were polar opposites in almost every way: A$AP Mob the loud, flashy kids from Harlem; Odd Future the skate punk weirdos from L.A.
Although A$AP and OF never engaged in a full-blown beef—meaning no diss songs or dust-ups—tension was brewing between the two camps early on.
In 2011, Hodgy Beats ruffled a few feathers by tweeting “ASAP copy,” to which Rocky replied, “When I see him, I’m going to ask him what that’s about. I don’t want to smack nobody. I don’t want to get sued. I don’t want none of that shit. But shit happens, you know what I mean?”
That same year, Tyler, The Creator tweeted, “The Term Video Director Is Thrown Around Loosely Now Days,” which A$AP Ant interpreted as a stray shot in Rocky’s direction. He didn’t think twice about diving in front of the bullet: “ill smack the shit outta you,” Ant tweeted in response (back when manual retweets were still a thing).
It’s unclear when the hatchet was buried exactly—if there was even a hatchet to bury in the first place—but with Odd Future becoming a thing of the past and Rocky and Tyler heading out on tour together (which didn’t seem to sit well with Hodgy), by 2015 it was clear that any beef between A$AP Mob and Odd Future had been squashed. "[Tyler] cracks me up and I respect his art," Rocky toldHipHopDX that year. "He’s definitely creative. Him and a lot of his boys. I can say that."
According to Rocky, A$AP Mob and Odd Future made peace because they wanted to “set an example” for the rest of hip-hop.
“Basically, our crews didn’t really fuck with each other,” he said during a recent appearance on Snoop Dogg’s YouTube series GGN. “It’s ’cause we were young, ’cause people would compare like, ‘oh, they an East Coast group, y’all a West Coast group,’ shit like that.
“Then n*ggas just grew up, everybody got mature, everybody got about they money,” Rocky continued. “Not even that, n*ggas was really cool, ’cause I always was a fan and [Tyler] always was a fan. It was funny ’cause n*ggas could never fuck with each other, n*ggas was complete opps. It started going down at certain points, real shit though.”
He added, “N*ggas is older now. We trying to set an example.”
Snoop Dogg, who was also embroiled in an East Coast versus West Coast beef once upon a time, shares Rocky’s sentiments when it comes to hiding your fandom because of politics. “Them n*ggas is my family, man,” he said about Bad Boy, Death Row’s fierce rivals in the ’90s. “Through all of that shit, we was never really able to say that we loved each other in public.”
Fast forward 20 years and seeing Diddy bring Snoop and Dre on stage during the final Bad Boy reunion show in L.A. last October felt anything but dangerous. “When all that bullshit and everything was going on, these two brothers was calling me and I was calling them, and we always been friends,” Puff told the crowd.
In a war that claimed two lives, even enemies were friends.
Maybe Bad Boy and Death Row’s deadly beef served as an example itself for A$AP Mob and Odd Future, or maybe hip-hop’s just growing up. It's not like anyone expected their crews to come to blows, but the way Rocky and Tyler managed to turn a potential beef into a full-fledged bromance (at an even younger age than Diddy and Snoop in the '90s) demonstrates a level-headed maturity that deserves more credit. In any context, two young, influential artists joining forces for the greater good is a beautiful thing.
Rap beef sure as hell isn’t what it used to be (see: Lil Yachty and Soulja Boy), but maybe that’s a good thing. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have moments like this:
By Andy James. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Brook Bobbins