Who, What, Where, When: A$AP Yams

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Contributing Writer

Every January 18, New York Hiphop fans gather at Madison Square Garden to celebrate Yams Day. But who and what was Yams?

Steven Rodriguez, also known as A$AP Yams, was born on November 13, 1988 in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City, New York. Before his fame, he interned at Diplomats Records at the age of 16. A year later, he would found the group A$AP Mob with A$AP Illz and A$AP Bari who would later create the clothing brand “VLONE.” Yams is attributed with being the group’s visionary and also with the fame of A$AP Rocky, a member of the A$AP Mob. 

A$AP Mob is a group that is affiliated with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg but started as just three people in a tattoo shop in Harlem. The three are A$AP Illz, a rapper turned cameraman, A$AP Bari the founder and creator of the clothing line “VLONE” which is known for their tees with a distinctive “V” across the back and A$AP Yams, co-owner of A$AP Worldwide.

“We was sitting in a Wendy’s, or a McDonald’s or something. I said, ‘Let’s run with this A$AP thing,’ and everyone’s first reaction is ‘As Soon As Possible?’ and I be like ‘Nah, Always Strive And Prosper.’ and make it a legitimate organization,” said Yams during an interview before his passing.

Yams also was the person who found A$AP Rocky after a two week stay on Rikers Island for drug dealing. When Rocky started to make music, Yams would tell him to only let Yams upload the music and the videos onto his Tumblr so it appeared that Yams was in a managerial position and gave them leverage when looking for collaborators.

“… He helped show the world that they really needed to hear our —-.” -A$AP Rocky

“I was working for Duke The God. He [Yams] came in to see Joey… who was the president of Asylum Records at the time, and he had this beats CD that he dropped off. Um, he did a lot of, like, chopped and screwed stuff and our office was right down the hall from Joey’s Office, and [Yams] stopped by and said ‘could you hook me up with something? I just dropped off a beats CD. I don’t know, hook me up with something.’ and he literally became one of our first interns.” -Karen Civil

In fact, it worked better than expected. In August of 2011 A$AP Rocky dropped the music video for Peso and went viral bringing people to Yam’s page for the unique sound and the, then, crazy clothes that no one had heard of yet. Yam’s Tumblr is still up and still can be seen today as well as his other social media accounts. If you follow a meme account you might’ve seen one of his tweets and not realize that it was A$AP Yams.  

“He had an affinity for the culture,” said rapper Chance Infinite when asked about A$AP Yams.

On January 18, 2015 A$AP Yams passed away from a mixed drug overdose overnight at the age of 26. After the news of his passing, the A$AP Mob and Yams’ mother started the A$AP Foundation, an organization with the purpose of educating the youth on drug misuse and the effects of mixing drugs. They also started the tradition of Yams Day. Yams Day is usually a concert held at the Madison Square Garden on January 18 every year except for 2021, where they had uploaded a documentary up to YouTube, and 2022 where they seemed to have had nothing planned.