Harlem native A$AP Rocky has partnered with retailer Selfridges to bring the traditional bodega experience to their London store.
"I remember stealing candy from the bodegas. I was only a kid, 4 or 5 years old. I remember people rolling dice and drinking 40s. And I remember fighting in front of the bodega, myself," the rapper told Vogue. Bodegas are a significant piece of the New York history and culture. On virtually any block you're liable to run into one or two of the mom-and-pop shops.
Rocky's timing is impeccable considering the recent backlash towards two former Google employees and their newest business venture, Bodega, which to many New York natives is an attempt to make the neighborhood cornerstones a thing of the past. The new vending style boxes are set to carry toiletries, snacks, and other grab-and-go items. The convenience and easy access may seem admirable to some, but most New Yorkers appreciate the sense of community the traditional bodega represents.
Shopping at a bodega is an experience. It's not about what you're purchasing because you can grab coffee and a bagel anywhere. It's about walking in and hi-fiving the owner, giving him an update on your Grandma's cough, and continuing on with your day.
"Different ethnic minorities coming together and living together cohesively—and this has been going on for decades," says Rocky, "That's why I'm bringing this fusion of different cultures, manifested in one AWGE Bodega. It is ghetto, but not trashy, which is very true for New York City."
The full-size bodega will run until October 11th and features the grunge aesthetics of the classic bodega. The installation holds over 100 custom pieces made for this project, and will carry the typical corner store favorites; a variety of candy, honey buns, beverages, notebooks and much more, all branded with animated members of AWGE (the creative collective he formed with A$AP Mob). The speciality pop-up also carries apparel from Rocky's Guess collaboration, t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets by Harun, Midnight Studios, LYBB, and, A$AP Rocky behind the checkout counter. The rapper-designer-model-bodega owner says that he plans to be behind the register during the 9 day run.
Schedule your appointment to visit, or shop the AWGE merchandise at Selfridges.