Sauntering in with a stitched Chrome Hearts face covering, A$AP Bari’s presence is immediately felt. “I’m on my Ye shit,” he says with a smirk, as the word “architect” isn’t enough to describe the fashion designer, mogul and creative director. To be “different at all times” is what he set out to accomplish in life, and looking back, he’s done just that.
The A$AP co-founder and “Mr. Vlone” himself has played a huge part in the ascension of hip-hop’s current regime. Whether it be the clothes A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott or Lil Yachty rock on the daily, Bari’s calling has always been to “influence the influencers” — emanating his streetwear sauce and refined “lifestyle” in every facet. “I’m like a fashion drug dealer… I sell clothes like drugs… I’m selling MY product.” he said, describing the exclusivity of his founded brands in VLONE and ENDLESS.
Growing up Harlem, A$AP’s inception interestingly can be linked to the talented Teyana Taylor — who is actually more integral to the group’s formation in the mid-late 2000s. “Me and Teyana were in a group together in high school… she’s the one that actually introduced me to Yams and Rocky,” Bari explained, initially connecting with the “Gonna Love Me” singer through their mutual love of fashion. “Everyone was on that baggy vibe — jeans, hoodies, all that. Me and Teyana, we were more into what Pharrell and Kanye were doing at the time.”
As the glue to A$AP’s formation, Bari quickly cultivated long-lasting relationships with Yams and Rocky. He reminisced on he and Yams’ friendship, saying “the first day I met Yams, I knew he was my best friend.” Bari has a knack for intuition and gut feelings, always chasing the lifestyle he wanted to curate for those closest to him — especially Rocky. “Rocky was born to be a superstar: “Rocky didn’t have songs, he had freestyles. Who he was in the hood is who he is today,” he said. “I was the creative director… Yams was the mogul, and Rocky was the rapper.”
Speaking in witty one-liners like “pop out like you’re about to see your ex,” truth bombs, bursts of wisdom and detailed back stories, Bari’s impact stretches beyond the confines of believable — making each story seamlessly intertwine with the next. It’s nearly incalculable how much Bari has contributed to the culture — giving Lil Yachty his first job, connecting Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti for the first time, designing for Travis Scott among other mind-blowing quips.
However, the fashion and “lifestyle” stays above all, as his trendsetting brand VLONE changed the perception of “community and culture” during the SoundCloud era. “I don’t design for me, I design for the people. VLONE, live alone, die alone,” he clarifies, further emphasizing the bond the brand created within the culture for years to come. “This shit isn’t on me, it’s in me. [Fashion] is in my blood.”
Among his many inspirations, Virgil Abloh was “an angel sent from heaven” to Bari, comparing the late fashion icon to the idiosyncrasies of Tupac’s legacy. Edison Chen, or “the Drake of China,” and artist Damien Hirst not only make Bari strive for undeniable greatness, but feed into his undying love and passion for clothes. “As a designer, I don’t drop albums, I drop masterpieces.” I’d write more, but Bari truly speaks for himself.
In his first-ever on-camera interview, Bari sat down with OGM host Hakeem Rowe to speak on A$AP, Rocky, Yams, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Virgil Abloh, VLONE, the SoundCloud era and so much more in this extremely special Our Generation Music exclusive.
Watch A$AP Bari’s interview below!