Steven Rodriguez, better known as ASAP Yams, co-founder of the ASAP Mob rap crew, has died, according to multiple reports.
Among Yams’ many contributions to the New York City hip hop world was helping establish the career of the gorup’s biggest star, ASAP Rocky.
The New York Times explained their relationship in a profile in 2013:
But you won’t find Yams behind the mixing boards in a studio, or in a corner office at a record label laboring over marketing plans, or huddled with designers creating a fashion line. Just 24 years old, he exerts his pull in extremely nebulous fashion. ”Rocky’s like Luke Skywalker, and I’m Yoda,” Yams said, cackling a bit, one recent afternoon in the South Bronx office that serves as a hangout space for the ASAP crew and where Yams lingers when not at the neat apartment he’s long shared with his mother in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Rocky may be a natural star, one of the most charismatic figures in contemporary mainstream hip-hop and the one with the most expansive approach to his music. 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.
Yams was 26 years old.