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R.I.P. A$AP Yams; the A$AP Mob Mastermind Has Passed Away at Age 26

His tragic passing is a huge blow to the hip-hop community, and he will be deeply missed.

Photo via A$AP Mob's Instagram

Steven Rodriguez, better known as A$AP Yams, the shrewd and ebullient founder of New York's A$AP Mob, has died. He was 26. Yams was the co-owner of A$AP Worldwide, the A$AP label. Among other accomplishments, he helped engineer A$AP Rocky's rapid rise to the forefront of hip-hop, in part through the innovative use of building the rapper's image on Tumblr. He was known as a perceptive, funny, and lively presence in both the New York hip-hop scene, where he played a role in what many saw as the city's rap renaissance, and in the hip-hop community at large, particularly through his online persona. The cause of death is currently unknown.


Many members of the Noisey team worked closely with Yams, particularly in the process of making SVDDXNLY, the A$AP Rocky documentary, and his loss is personal as well as significant for the larger music world.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the A$AP crew at this sad time. Yams was a beautiful, intelligent young man whose energy would light up the room. Working with him was always an adventure and a pleasure. He will be sorely missed by so many people. RIP Yamborghini.
– Noisey

Photo by Ben Rayner

Andy Capper, who worked extensively with A$AP and produced SVDDXNLY, remembers Yams.

I first met A$AP Yams, Steven Rodriguez, on the set of Rocky's "Wassup" video, downstairs from the Vice office in Brooklyn at Fast Ashley's studio.

There were about seven or eight other A$AP affiliates there at the time, including their manager Chace but it was obviously him and Rocky that were the leaders of this wild new gang of kids who were kinda rag-tag during this super early stage of their career.

Rocky had this charismatic male model vibe but then his partner was this little Puerto Rican pirate called Yams who’d just got a skull with a screw drilling through it on the side of his neck and I think one of the first things he said to me was something about “impregnating washed up 90s R&B bitches,” to which I was like, “err I guess so?”

It was a fun, weird start to our friendship, but I got to know him over the next couple of years during the projects we did with A$AP and at various live music things and then meetings at the office where he’d fill us in on his new projects and then the late night phone calls about great-idea-at-the-time-things that never really happened. (Yams if you’re reading this, we’re doing the Earl Swavey thing we talked about so much!)


During that time, I found him to be one of the sweetest, smartest young dudes I’d ever met in the music industry. I dunno if you’ve heard, but the industry can be full of phony, humorless people who only really care about themselves; Yams was the polar opposite of that.

He was deadly serious about A$AP but never took himself seriously at all.

His sense of humor and charisma was legend and even in the busiest, dumbest party he always had time to talk and be real. He was also a creative and visionary genius, a true New York original who helped take the rag-tags I mentioned at the start of this to international stardom in just a couple years.

His influence on modern culture can't be overstated, really.

I hadn’t seen him face to face for a few months but I truly counted him a friend and that’s why this is so surreal and difficult.

R.I.P Yams, I will miss you. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Life is precious. Everybody be careful out there.

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