A$AP Yams Was More Than A Hip-Hop Mogul, He Was A Mastermind
Harlem lost one if its most influential young leaders and, in turn, the world did too.
Steven Rodriguez, also known as A$AP Yams, was more than just the leader of A$AP Mob, which helped launch the successful careers of artists like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg.
He was a businessman, a brother and — most would say — a comedian.
He was a true tastemaker in the industry, with an eye for talent and a vision to create something truly unique.
if i die before i wake i pray that A$AP will be great my momma good and my girl be late so it’ll be another me and the world be straight
— …… (@ASAPYams) April 26, 2012
Most importantly, he proved to young people everywhere that sticking to a plan, grinding with your homies and mastering your craft will get you wherever you need to be in life.
At 26 years old, Yams was taken from us way too soon. The story of his journey is one that we should all know.
A$AP Yams was the cofounder of A$AP Mob and was often referred as the Puerto Rican R. Kelly.
At 16, he dropped out of school and went straight into work at Diplomats Records in 2005, which had artists like Juelz Santana and Cam’Ron.
There, he got to work alongside a few producers and helped them sell beats to rappers.
He also started a page called REALNIGGATUMBLR where he gained a following for his carefully curated hip-hop content.
This is also where he first posted his artist A$AP Rocky’s first breakout song, “Purple Swag.”
He even appeared in it himself and the video now has over 30 million views on YouTube.
Rocky and Yams met in 2008 through mutual friends and instantly became business partners after seeing eye-to-eye.
When asked about his relationship with Rocky, Yams had one of the best “Star Wars” references of all time.
A$AP Yams was responsible for every way that Rocky was marketed.
From his branding, to his appearances and the beats he went on, Yams had a distinct vision for the lane he wanted the entire A$AP Mob to take.
Yams was in large part responsible for getting Rocky his first $3 million record deal.
In 2011, Rocky signed a $3 million deal with Polo Grounds Music (a Sony/RCA subdivision).
In comparison, Drake signed a $2 million deal with Young Money in 2009.
He was smart enough to allocate $1.7 million for Rocky’s solo career and another $1.3 million for the collective’s A$AP Worldwide.
This would, of course, pave the way for more artists affiliated with A$AP Mob, including A$AP Ferg.
Ferg released his debut album Trap Lord, which made it into the Billboard Top 10 Chart.
His single “Shabba” even made it to the top 40 singles.
After success with his crew, Yams began to reach outside of his market and started to recruit and mold other artists.
If it wasn’t for Asap Yams I probably wouldn’t be rapping today but he believed in me before I even recorded a fucking song — Bud Bundy (@ZOMBIEJuicee) January 18, 2015
He was well on his way to becoming one of the most successful managers in hip-hop, with the likes of Irv Gotti, Dame Dash, Russell Simmons and Diddy.
In an interview with the New York Times, Yams said,
That’s how I’m branding myself. So when labels see me, they already know off rip that I’m bringing a star into the building.
But dealing with a heavy addiction to Xanax and lean would start to get in the way of his work.
Yams allegedly entered rehab in summer of 2014, however, got clean and gave up the lifestyle.
This was the last tweet he posted, however, before he passed away.
BODEINE BRAZY — …… (@ASAPYams) January 17, 2015
Since then, the outpouring of love for Yams has been unreal and his closest friends are feeling it the worst.
The amount of lives he helped change and the careers he shaped are things that won’t soon be forgotten.
And his impact on the game is something that is still being realized.
Rest in peace to one of the young greats.
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