By Matthew Ismael Ruiz
The rapid ascent of Harlem’s A$AP Rocky, whose debut album Long. Live. A$AP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2013, is inexorably tied with Vice, the gritty zine turned corporate media behemoth still looked upon as an arbiter of hipness.
SVDDXNLY, a 57-minute documentary directed by David Laven, was produced by Vice subsidiary Noisey, and follows Rocky’s early career. In the cut that made its debut during SXSW at the Alamo Drafthouse on Tuesday (March 11), the company plays a prominent role, sponsoring one of his first shows and jumpstarting the hype cycle that made Rocky one of the hottest young rappers in the game overnight.
Birthed from a chance opportunity to follow Rocky for three months—joining him on tour with Rihanna—Laven’s film also relies heavily on work from co-director Darryl Phillips, who brought early footage to the production, allowing it to take a wider look at Rocky’s life and career.