On January 18th, 2015 it was announced that A$AP Yams, co-founder of New York’s A$AP Mob collective, had died in his sleep of what was later ruled as an accidental overdose. In the wake of his untimely death, an outpouring of support emerged from the hip-hop community. To honor his passing, A$AP Mob continues to put out work in honor of their former leader, and on January 18th, 2016 in New York City the doors opened on the first annual Yams Day concert.
The event took place at Terminal 5, but for those unable to get tickets, a live stream was available online by Yahoo and Live Nation. The place was packed, and in the final minutes of the show, A$AP Rocky alluded to choosing a larger venue for next years event but this year, the venue appeared perfectly suitable to the sell out crowd, who seemed altogether happy to close out the long weekend by celebrating the life and work of A$AP Yams.
As a founder of A$AP Mob, Yams’ work and contribution to the modern New York scene was on display for all to see. The performances began with a bevy of one and two song appearances from artists including Aston Matthews, Bodega Bamz, and Yung Gleesh. After DJ sets from A-Trak and Alchemist (during which Action Bronson stopped by for “Actin’ Crazy”) we got longer appearances from Brooklyn’s Pro Era collective as well as a solo set from Joey Bada$$.
A short time later, up-and-coming Philly rapper Lil Uzi Vert and Flatbush Zombies got the crowd properly hyped for the main event. During the headlining A$AP Mob set, the stage was packed tighter than Kanye’s “All Day” performance with Rocky and Ferg leading a high energy set, consisting of solo tracks, as well as some collabs with the other artists that shared the stage.
They were joined midway through by Bronx-native French Montana for a rendition of French’s “Off The Rip” remix. There was then a brief moment of silence during which respects were paid to Yams as well as Chinx Drugz and others that have been lost this year. But overall the mood was upbeat; this was a celebration of Yams’ life, not a funeral.
So the only question that remains is: how will A$AP Yams be remembered? During his lifetime he was not well known to the mainstream, and maybe that’s how he preferred it, working to make music behind the curtain. But with with so much of the NY scene gathered at once on stage last night around their de facto A$AP leaders, Yams’ legacy was palpable. And if Yams Day becomes a recurring part of that legacy? I think he’d be just fine with that.