The Mob’s captain speaks on the untimely passing of its fearless leader

Just eight days ago, at the ripe age of 26, Steven Rodriguez–known by many as A$AP Yams–passed away for reasons that have yet to be made public. The entire Hip-Hop community, not to mention scores of others, reached out via social media to express their condolences and share their stories of encounters with the outspoken visionary, who had accomplished what many said couldn’t be done, and never stopped pushing and innovating.

At the premiere of Dope at Sundance Film Festival, the movie in which A$AP Rocky will make his big-screen debut, Rocky was expected to also perform a set that ended up being a lot more brief than many expected. He spoke to Billboard about why that was, the passing of his friend, and the circumstances that many assume lead to Yams’ death.

That performance — that was just going to stop me from crying. I had to address it, because the whole time I was rapping and I wasn’t into it, which is sad, but I just gotta keep it real. I can’t front. It’s even harder knowing that I gotta fly out in less than an hour just to go bury him. That’s the part that eats at me. People were saying that Yams overdosed on drugs — he didn’t overdose on any drugs. I feel like people feel that way because that’s all he’s in pictures doing. When you see A$AP Yams you see Hennessey or purple drink, you see some type of controlled substance or illegal narcotic.