A$AP Rocky on mtvU Woodie Awards, 'Messed Up' Album Leak

A$AP Rocky - P 2013

The rapper is up for the Woodie of the Year award at this year's celebration in Austin, Texas.

With his first studio album, Long Live A$AP, debuting atop the Billboard 200 summit, Harlem-raised rapper A$AP Rocky can likely expect a big year in 2013. The mixtaper has journeyed from selling drugs and hustling in the streets to signing a two-year, $3 million dollar deal with RCA/Polo Grounds. Now he's headed to Austin, Texas, for the mtvU Woodie Awards and recently took time out to speak with college reporters about his life and career.

Transitioning from the underground to a label wasn't easy for the artist, whose album -- like so many others in the digital age -- leaked ahead of its scheduled release. "Messed up" is how A$AP describes the leak, but he says he started to feel better about the album after fans provided rave reviews. When fans "say good things, it's like winning a Grammy for me," says the rapper, who encourages his followers to "get high and enjoy life like the '70s" rather than hold on to anger.

Only a few short months after his album's release, A$AP is vying for a Woodie of the Year award, honoring artists who have made a permanent mark on the music scene, at this year's Woodie Awards. A$AP, or 'Acronym Symbolizing Any Purpose,' began releasing his own singles on the Internet in 2011, but had already garnered a large following on YouTube stemming from the 2007 formation of his hip-hop group, A$AP Mob. Today, his single "Problems" has more than 2 million views (the song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's U.S. Rap Songs chart).

"I want to win. That's it. I just hope to win," says the rapper on this year's Woodie nomination.

A$AP Rocky will be in good company at this year's event, including last year's Breaking Woodie winner Machine Gun Kelly, aka MGK. "I haven't stopped bragging about it," says the Cleveland rapper. "Woodie Awards in my room now is something I'm proud of. I don't brush awards off. [It's] proudly on my bedstand." This year, MGK is up for Woodie of the Year alongside fun. and A$AP.

Last year's Woodies saw performances by Mac Miller, Santigold and A$AP Rocky, who, unbeknownst to fans, was suffering from fever and flu, vomiting shortly after his set. This year can expect a headlined performance from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, nominated for Branching Out Woodie.

The SXSW Music Festival serves as the backdrop for this year's awards telecast, which will air on MTV on March 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.