Hip-hop world mourns the death of A$AP Yams

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A$AP Yams, founder of Harlem-based A$AP Mob, dead at 26.

Rodriguez was known for helping the group get their hefty paydays with record labels and was a key figure behind the scenes for breakout stars Ferg and A$AP Rocky ‘You will be missed Bro. Those stories are now rescued, amplified and recontextualized by a new wave of agents who are fluent in the past, and who use it to build a more creative future. He became known as a tastemaker thanks to his influential Tumblr account, according to Slate. “All of us at RCA Records are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of A$AP Yams,” the label said in a statement. “As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams’ vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. Born Steven Rodriguez, he was an owner of ASAP Worldwide records, and the creative force behind the rise of the Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky, one of hip-hop’s most promising young stars.

He will be truly missed.” “A.S.A.P YAMS should be remembered as a leader, an innovator and most importantly as an important part of NYC youth culture,” Azealia Banks tweeted. His blog RNT — the full title can’t be printed — was an early warning system for emerging hip-hop that was both stylish and rugged, from all corners of the country. He helped set the blueprint for contemporary polyglot hip-hop taste, taking cues from the traditions of New York, Los Angeles, the Midwest and the South. I spent time with Yams in 2012, just before the release of Rocky’s debut, “Long.Live.ASAP” (Polo Grounds/RCA), as part of a series on behind-the-scenes forces in the music industry. Unlike other people I spoke with, Yams played a role that was misty; he was, he said with characteristic cheek, a “spirit guide.” At that time, New York hip-hop was, for all intents and purposes, stagnant, in thrall to its younger self and looking backward, not forward.

Yams rightly understood that was quicksand to be avoided. “People can say anything they want about Rocky, talking about, ‘Oh, he sounds like he’s from here, he sounds like he’s from there,’ ” Yams told me. “I don’t care what nobody says. And he lived hard — Blackout Boyz was the name of one of his side crews, and their logo was a collection of Xanax tablets. (Last summer he spent time in rehab.) His long con of making hip-hop in the image of his taste set worked. “Long.Live.ASAP” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and went on to be a modest success — one single was certified double platinum, another one gold. He helped shape the taste of a generation, be it the rappers and producers he was working with through ASAP Worldwide or his own fledgling Yamborghini Records imprint, or the thousands of readers who hung on his every word and recommendation.

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