Fairly early on the morning of January 18, 2015, Twitter began to whisper, inquire, then scream with angst about reports that A$AP Yams, the relentlessly positive Harlem visionary responsible for the rise of the A$AP Mob—A$AP Rocky particularly–had died. Once confirmed, the outpouring of support was immaculate, as celebrities from across the globe and across all genres came forth to pay their respects to a man known as New York’s most prolific A&R, and arguably Harlem’s biggest rap visionary since Puff Daddy. The engagement never didn’t feel like a tribute to Yams–upon arrival, one of the late A&R’s most iconic photos was cast high above the entrance to Terminal 5 on a nearby overpass, and clips of Yams from various music videos–most notably the last one he appeared in, the Mob’s “Hella Hoes”–were continuously looped as part of the stage set.
A host of musical talents came together to celebrate the life of the fallen mogul, and Yams day was truly a family affair, affording a room full of New York Hip Hop fans the opportunity to peek into the dynamic of the eclectic ASAP Mob and their extended family. At every opportunity, the rapper or DJ on the mic used their stage time to remind the audience of the reason for the gathering, and Yams’ close friend, Lou Banga, frequently checked in, loudly inviting the crowd to turn up and exclaiming condolences.
Initially set off by the talented Alchemist, one of the crowds loudest moments arrived when the laid back Action Bronson glided out to the soulful guitar sample of “Terry.” Roaring for more, the crowd subsequently ate up music from the likes of A-Trak and TDE DJ Ali “Mixed by Ali,” roaring in approval at the sight of such acts such as Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies. Joey emphatically rapped along to lyrically driven selections, forcing the audience’s approval with tunes like “Big Dusty” and “Christ Conscious.” The Brooklyn-based Zombies showed off their oft-overlooked lyrical prowess,as the audience loudly rapped the final verse to “Palm Trees the sentiments of the New York emcees. Overall, all appearances made by a rap artists on stage was met with a wave of approval, as the tangible anticipation for the ASAP Mob and Rocky was felt. Even trending Lil Uzi Vert, who it should be noted rocked the stage with his song “WDYW” on three separate occasions, and was greeted with a sizable turn up every time.
The irreplaceable ASAP Yam’s mother eventually graced the stage and delivered a heartfelt speech to the audience before dabbing to the booming, room vibrating beat drop of Rocky’s popular new single “Yamborghini High.” The pulsing record is one of Rocky’s most alluring to date, and the crowd could not be more hyped when he finally made his appearance. Once the star of the show arrived on stage, the remainder of the advertised lineup began quickly showing face. A diamond-laden French Montana nonchalantly popped up during A$AP Ferg’s insane performance of “Work,” and went on to perform his own hit record “Off the Rip.”
With just minutes left, Rocky bought out some of the “1 Train” cast, including a crowd-pleasing Danny Brown, who spit his avant garde verse with a alien like timbre while crowd pleaser Joey Badass recalled his stellar bars hitting the stage again this time with the help of some bonafied rap stars. During the dwindling minutes of the performance, A$AP Ferg and Rocky jam-packed the setlist with some of their most revered works and Ferg offered up his latest with New Level, a single Yams would undoubtedly be exceptionally proud of. The night ended fittingly with Yung Gleesh busting a dance move to Water with Rocky and Ferg following suit. ASAP Yams Day was succesfull if only for the ability to be in the same turn up facility as the Mob during a day in which celebration is the main focus, just as every day was for the missed music mogul Yams, the “tatted angel.”