Stockholm (Reuters) – U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky returned to Sweden to perform at a concert on Wednesday, just months after he was convicted for assault following a high-profile trial that saw President Donald Trump attempt to intervene on his behalf.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky attends the Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton/File Photo
A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two members of his entourage were convicted of assault in August for beating a 19-year-old in Stockholm after an argument. Mayers, who was in Stockholm to do a show, said he was acting in self-defence and was given a suspended sentence after being held in custody for over a month.
“Thank you to everybody who showed up here today in Sweden,” the 31-year-old performer, producer and model, told a packed arena of thousands from the stage at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Performing from a cage on stage with dancers dressed as prison inmates, he added, “I didn’t bring you here together so we can talk about Swedish authorities, politics or American politics. I brought you here today for love and unity.”
Earlier on Wednesday, A$AP Rocky posed with students at a school he visited in Husby, a Stockholm suburb listed by police as a troubled area and the epicentre of week-long riots in 2013.
In a video clip posted on the artist’s Instagram account, he said he was happy to be back in Sweden and that his fans from the suburbs would get in for free.
“We came to the slums,” he said. “We’re here checking out our people, letting them know we care about them. Whoever’s from the hood get in free.”
After being released in August, A$AP Rocky promised fans he would return to Stockholm as thanks for the support he received. Last month he asked the Stockholm jail where he was incarcerated if he could do a show for the inmates. The request was turned down as the jail said security could not be guaranteed.
While he was in jail, celebrity TV star Kim Kardashian and her husband, American rapper Kanye West, lobbied Trump to help.
The case drew global attention, particularly after Trump offered to vouch for the rapper’s bail and asked Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to help free him. Sweden does not have a bail system and Lofven pointed to Sweden’s independent judiciary, saying he could not intervene.
At the time of the trial, Trump tweeted messages saying he was disappointed in Lofven and to “Treat Americans fairly!”
A$AP Rocky shot to fame with his 2011 debut mixtape “Live.Love.A$AP”, gaining recognition as much for his experimental approach to music as for his unpredictable fashion style that made him the first person of colour to front luxury brand Dior Homme.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Diane Craft