A$AP Mob founder Steven Rodriguez, better known in the music world as A$AP Yams or Yamborghini, has died, his label confirmed in a statement. He was 26.
While cause of death and other details remain unknown, nearly every member of the A$AP Mob, the Harlem hip-hop collective that Yams established and helped bring to prominence, have taken to social media to mourn their founder. “You will be missed Bro. We done touched a lot of ground together, landed on a lot of different soil,” A$AP Ferg wrote on Tumblr. “You will always be loved & your spirit will live on!”
Rodriguez, who ran a hip-hop blog and built a reputation as a key tastemaker before founding the A$AP Mob, is credited with helping the collective secure their big money record contract and shepherding the careers of breakout stars A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. In a 2013 New York Times profile, Yams broke down his role as, “Rocky’s like Luke Skywalker, and I’m Yoda.”
Since news of A$AP Yams’ death first began to spread on social media, countless tributes have poured in from both the A$AP Mob and the hip-hop community. “Rest in peace Yams. A$AP is family,” Drake tweeted, while Wale wrote, “Yams was a great spirit. Always wit the jokes good vibes EVERYtime.” Chamillionaire, Danny Brown, Lil B, Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, Wiz Khalifa and countless more have all paid their respects to Yams on Twitter. “A.S.A.P YAMS should be remembered as a leader, an innovator and most importantly as an important part of NYC youth culture,” Azealia Banks tweeted.
In a statement, RCA Records wrote, “All of us at RCA Records are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of A$AP Yams. As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams’ vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
As BET notes, Yams had struggled with drug addiction in recent years, particularly codeine and Xanax, but the A$AP mogul entered a rehab facility in July 2014 to curb his habit. However, Yams’ last tweet on January 16th was “Bodeine Brazy,” a nod to his drug of choice.
“We wanted to become big but we didn’t want to do it by hopping on somebody else’s wave,” Yams said in the New York Times piece. “We wanted to come in the game with our own wave.” In addition to the steady stream of condolences, A$AP Ferg also shared a video of Yams discussing his craft and his clothing label: