A$AP Rocky Documentary Debuts at SXSW

(Radio.com) 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.

In clips from his first three shows, we're able to see Rocky grow a bit, from a reckless neophyte in the backyard of the Alife boutique who looks like he's just along for the ride, to basking in the limelight of an arena-sized audience. And Vice is there the whole way, sponsoring his third show at The Creators Project, commissioning photo shoots and making music videos.

"The minute you meet Rocky, A$AP Mob, you kinda know this is about to happen, blow up," Phillips said in a post-screening Q&A. Laven makes sure that the various celebrity interlopers in Rocky's life are included, so we're treated to cameos from Wiz Khalifa, Macklemore, Jeremy Scott, Chris Brown, Kathy Griffin, and Rocky's girlfriend Chanel Iman. In one of the more touching scenes in the movie, Rocky sits down for a chronic session with tha Doggfather himself, Snoop Lion, who counseled him on his career, quelling his frustrations on being an opening act.

"You with the baddest bitch in the game!" Snoop explained, reminding rocky that opening for Rihanna, one of the biggest pop stars in the world opens up a whole new fanbase, and can elevate him to a new level of stardom. Rocky seemed mostly awestruck by his idol's counsel.

But while SVDDXNLY gives us a sneak peek at the life of an upwardly trending rapper, it also leaves more questions than it answers. What was the turning point in his career? The pivotal moment he took off? At one point, we hear Rocky talking wistfully about his father, but when we hear later that he had passed, we're left to wonder what happened. more on this story

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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