By Braxton Randolph
“BODEINE BRAZY.” – 1/17/15 @ 1:17AM. That was the last tweet sent out by Steven Rodriguez, otherwise known as A$AP Yams, before his death on January 18th, 2015 in his Brooklyn apartment. New York City’s chief medical examiner declared the cause of death to be the result of a mixture of opiates and benzodiazepine drugs, but would not specify which ones. Rocky explained in an interview with the New York Times that he and fellow A$AP Mob member Lou Banga had found Yams that had choked on his own vomit in his sleep at the time of his death.
After gaining connections and experience interning at Dipset Records in high school, Yams eventually took over as the mastermind behind A$AP Worldwide, becoming a pivotal role in the rise of A$AP Rocky. His business savvy was displayed when the fame eventually came, resulting in deals being thrown at them. He held out on the typical new artists deal from larger companies in favor of a deal with the smaller company Polo Grounds, including their own imprint (A$AP Worldwide). Yams personally worked with Rocky for two years prior to that, molding his sound and style to be more marketable in the then-dry New York scene. Yams drew his influences mainly from Houston hip-hop culture and his own personal experiences and interests. Yams was also responsible for getting Rocky on tour with Drake back in 2012, which propelled Rocky to stardom.
Yams was known as one of the best social media personalities across Tumblr and Twitter. His Tumblr account was actually responsible for the many connections he had early on in the music industry. His tweets consisted of situations like “Took my vegan b**** out for dinner ate a 100 dollar steak in front of her that’s my lil boo though.” However, his last tweet before his death referencing the popular prescription codeine drink is sadly fitting. As A$AP Rocky explained in the Times interview, Yams had battled drug addiction for the better part of his life, and it unfortunately became the cause of his death. Through his sub-group “BLACK OUT BOYZ,” amongst other things, Yams professed his love for drugs and the lifestyle that it came with. “It’s a lifestyle, bruh. Do drugs, f*** your b**** in the a**, and buy a hoodie,” as Yams would put it.
With that being said, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 is the long-awaited tribute to Yams that A$AP Mob fans have been waiting for. The tape features all of the Mob members, including Rocky, Ferg, Nast, Twelvyy, Ant, Bari and Playboi Carti. It also features outside artists like Lil Uzi, Tyler the Creator, Lil Yachy and Wiz Khalifa. It was released on October 31st on popular streaming services.
The first song, “Yamborghini High,” is the main tribute to Yams. He often referred to himself as Yamborghini, after the car company Lamborghini. There aren’t many lyrics that directly mention Yams, other than Ferg exclaiming how “Yammy’s vision got us rich!” However, you can tell that the spirit of the song, and the whole tape for that matter, is directly influenced by Yams. This is not a tribute tape in the sense that every song is about Yams, but more like a normal project that Yams would have been proud of. There are many subtle lines throughout the tape that pay homage to the legend. In my opinion, it sounds like the slowed down Houston sound that Yams loved mixed with the trap sound of today.
My personal favorite song on the album is “Runner,” which features Lil Uzi, A$AP Ferg and A$AP Ant. In the two weeks the tape has been out, this song has proven to be very popular. It has been played at all of the house parties I’ve attended since its release. I haven’t been able to research if the same applies for the bars, but I’ll get back to you.
Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 is an album that serves different moods and can be played really whenever. “Way Hii,” which sounds like a vintage A$AP Rocky track, is a song for the comedown, while a song like “London Town” can turn up a whole room. The A$AP Mob does a solid job of putting together a compilation of songs and skits that flow well together. I think if Yams were here today, he would approve.