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January 18, 2015, permanently changed the lives of the A$AP Mob collective and the hip-hop community at large. It was the day 26-year-old Steven Rodriguez, better known as A$AP Yams, was found completely unresponsive. When news of his untimely death trickled down to social media, luminaries of hip-hop culture joined together to express their grief over the loss of the young visionary.

From his early days as an intern with Dipset to his contributions in founding the A$AP collective, Yams undoubtedly became one of the most defining voices in contemporary culture. Through him, the borough specific quirks of Harlem, and even the regional idiosyncrasies of the city of New York, were elevated to a national stage. Before Migos’ Culture put on for “the culture,” Yams was carrying the weight of hybridized yet fiercely area-speficic hip-hop on his back.

Despite struggling with his own personal demons – he openly talked about battling substance abuse on his Tumblr – he found time to share thoughts and advice with fans. He also proved to be quite the entertaining interview subject; Yams could be by turns taciturn, unapologetically flawed, funny or full of unexpected wisdom.

In honor of a life cut too short, we’ve compiled a list of some of the realest shit he ever spoke (or wrote) in interviews and on his personal Tumblr page.

On Why He’s Actually Yoda…

“I would consider Rocky to be Luke Skywalker and I’d probably be like Yoda, very cozy with the robe on, very casual, whatever advice he wants on life, his career, or any obstacles, he just comes to me. I’m, uh, the spirit guy, something like that.” – New York Times 

On Not Compromising Your Vision…

“You gotta get what you want out of any situation. You gotta be an asshole about it. You gotta utilize resources to the most of your ability. Sometimes a label might not wanna give you them. One time they tried to do that to Dipset and Cam took a fire extinguisher and started spraying everyone in the office. He was going off. And they got what they wanted. But now in todays age, you can’t be street in those offices. There’s a lot more paperwork. You can’t be like 50 Cent and Cam smacking people in the Sony building and bragging about it.” – Unpublished interview for Pitchfork

On the Major Key to Success…

“Sacrifice, young blood. In whatever ur passion is. i wore the same outfit 2 years straight cuz all my money was embedded into this rap shit in making pretty flacko pop. even now my social life weak cuz ppl be infuriated that i dont hang out wit dem idgaf i need all this money not when diddy out here pouring ace of spades all over his designer shoes at after parties n still up by 8am the next business day.” – Tumblr 

On the Vicious Cycle of Fame…

“They [fans] have this really fucked-up mentality that once a certain amount of people listen to something that it’s not the shit anymore. And it’s “OK, now I got to find the next new shit so I can stay exclusive and look cool on the Internet and it looks like I’m really a tastemaker.”

Rather than just thoroughly enjoying the music without any type of influences or anything clouding your own judgment. It was a lot of people supporting us that stopped supporting us, and I found it hilarious. I’m like, “Wow really, is it that serious?” But I wasn’t salty. You know what I’m saying?” – Complex 

On Why Genres (and the ’90s) are Overrated…

“F—- the ’90s. You can quote me on this, the ’90s can suck my f—-ing d—-. That’s how I feel. We get too caught up in that ’90s bulls—-. At the end of the day, the type of music that we make might have been popular in the ’90s, but guess what, the 12-year-old kid named Willis in Utah doesn’t know about Nas’ It Was Written, so this is something completely new to this generation. It’s f—-ed up that everything, whether it’s rap music or any type of music, that no matter what, there always has to be a label thrown on it. Oh, this is trap! Oh, this is West Coast ratchet music! It’s either f—-ing dope music or wack music, in my opinion. There are no f—-ing genres. There are no f—-ing subgenres. Let’s leave that s—- alone already.” NPR 

On Knowledge of Self and Personal Growth…

On Why Tumblr’s UX Worked…

“It’s just easier to spread the content, you feel me? You don’t have to copy and paste nothing. It’s just one click, a reblog, and then it’s on somebody else’s page who might have200 followers. Then that person reblogs their page, and he might have 1000 followers, and then it just spreads like wildfire. That was really my intentions. But other platforms it’s a lot harder to spread your content. You have to do a lot. HTMLs, the codes, and all that other extra shit like copy and pasting codes from other shit. That’s mad unnecessary.” – Complex 

On Proper Bucket Hat Etiquette…

“ALTHOUGH I DO RESPECT WAT PERCY [Master P] HAS DONE FOR THE COMMUNITIES AND LESS FORTUNATE ALWAYS REMEMBER IT WAS MY FATHER CAMERON WHO TAUGHT US BUCKET HAT ETIQUETTE A BUCKET HAT IS ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO BE WORN AT 90 DEGREE ANGLE.” – Tumblr

For more of Yams’ insights you can buy a book compilation of his best tweets

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