On the second anniversary of his death, A$AP Yams was honored on social media by artists, fans and music industry insiders. In just 24 years of life, Yams, born Steven Rodriguez, rose to become one of the most influential figures in hip-hop.
Some recognize Yams’ distinctive face from appearances in A$AP Rocky videos like “Peso” and “Goldie.” Anyone who searches the #YamsDay hashtags on social media today will see that he was one of the most memorable and influential members of hip-hop’s current generation and is dearly missed.
“He’s the mastermind behind the scenes” – A$AP Rocky
Yams came in the game through an internship with Cam’ron‘s Dipset Records at the age of 16. By 24, he was partly responsible for the rise of some of hip-hop’s brightest young stars, including Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Vince Staples and Joey Fatts. Within months of releasing Rocky’s debut single, Yams helped broker a deal with Polo Grounds Music that included distribution for their own label, A$AP Worldwide.
“Rocky may be a natural star, one of the most charismatic figures in contemporary mainstream hip-hop… But his road to the top was paved with the help of Yams, who is a spirit guide, a muse, a curator of sonic ideas.” – Jon Caramanica, New York Times
His openness on Twitter and Tumblr about hip-hop history, current industry politics and his own drug abuse made him a cult figure on social media. When the New York Times profiled him, he had 32,000 followers on Twitter. Today he has 130,000.
In the years since he died from an accidental drug overdose, he has already taken on the rare status of underrated past icons like Mac Dre, Pimp C and DJ Screw.
The photos, captions and artwork honoring Yams that are currently flooding social media feeds are a testament to his remarkable life.
The FADER said Yams helped build the stage for rap’s young stars. Now his partners and followers are singing his praises to secure his place in history. In another era, Steven Rodriguez may have died an unsung hero of the music industry. Today’s #YamsDay hashtag ensures that his legend will live on for at least another year.
R.I.P A$AP YAMS