Steven “Yams” Rodriguez, the founder of hip hop collective A$AP Mob, has died at the age of 26. His death was confirmed on social media by Ferg, Rocky, and other members of the A$AP crew. “R.I.P YAMS, I LOVE YOU BROTHER,” wrote A$AP Rocky on Instagram.
Yams — who once interned as a teenager at Asylum Records for Diplomats Jim Jones and DukeDaGod — started A$AP along with Baru and Illz in 2007. A year later, he established record label A$AP Worldwide with then-aspiring rapper A$AP Rocky. Although Yams never rhymed or made beats, he described himself as an “A&R/executive producer type” and has been credited with assisting in A$AP’s meteoric rise and making countless media outlets like this one use a “$” instead of an “S” when writing about them.
Although no details of the Harlem native’s passing have been released, Yams’ ongoing battle with drugs coupled with his last update on Twitter referencing codeine, has lead many to speculate that he died of an overdose.
— …… (@ASAPYams) January 17, 2015
In a 2013 New York Times profile, Yams was very upfront about his drug use:
He also has his own demons to quell. His stories of crazy tour escapades — like the night at the Coachella music festival when, high on Xanax and syrup, he almost choked on his own vomit in his sleep — are legion and largely unprintable. On his left arm is a tattoo that reads, “Black Out” next to Xanax bars. “Yams has a penchant for living on the edge,” Mr. Johnson admitted. “Black Out Boyz is very real.”
Yams admitted: “I got to chill. It’s not a good look up there in the office. They’re not gonna have any faith.”
“I been outta rehab. My life was no joke. My drug use lead to me suffering from seizures and having other sicknesses that Pimp C was diagnosed with prior to his death. I’m only talking bout this on tumblr cuz y’all got a little bit more common sense than twitter. My tolerance by the time I checked in was 8 Xanax bars just to let that high kick in. My idea of enjoying life had people thinking I was trying to take away my own life. None of them drugs no joke. In rehab I started getting knowledge of self and realizing that I am a god, and as a god nothing should have control over them whether it’s lust drugs money or any vice.”
The day after Christmas, Yams tweeted two New Year’s resolutions.
2015: BECOME A MORE RELIABLE FRIEND TO MY HOMIES AND STOP SPEEDIN ON THE DR_GS
— …… (@ASAPYams) December 26, 2014