A$AP Yams’ Tweets Compiled in Book to Benefit Addiction Foundation

By Paul Gaita 08/09/16

The late hip-hop tastemaker passed away from an accidental drug overdose back in January of 2015.

A$AP Yams’ Tweets Compiled in Book to Benefit Addiction Foundation
Photo Complex/YouTube

The hip-hop community suffered a major loss in 2015 with the death of A$AP Yams from an accidental drug overdose. The co-founder of the A$AP Mob collective of rappers, producers and other artists, and co-owner of its associated label, A$AP Worldwide, Yams (born Steven Rodriguez) was an influential figure in the careers of rappers A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, and enjoyed a huge following on Twitter for his wry and self-effacing posts. Now, many of his best tweets have been compiled in a new book titled A$AP Yams Gems, with proceeds benefitting the A$AP Foundation, a non-profit founded in Yams’ memory to raise awareness about drug addiction and prevention.

The book, which is slated for release on August 12, was compiled by artist Ajani Brathwaite, who decided to launch the project because of “the role [Yams] had in shaping today’s pop culture and because of his off-the-wall—yet genuine—tweets.” More importantly, Brathwaite sought to provide a permanent and material home for Yams’ observations, a reference point for fans to celebrate his unique vision.

“My inspiration for making the book was to make the Internet tangible,” Brathwaite told Billboard in January. “We’re all on the Internet all day, tapping away on our touch screen phones. I had this idea of turning the virtual world into something real. Something you can hold and feel.”

Yams Gems, which retails for $40, has already received the support of A$AP Mob and Yams’ own family. For the artists who collaborated with Yams and the fans who followed his work, Brathwaite hopes the book will continue to facilitate their healing process. “When he died, I wouldn’t say I was 'hurt,' but I knew the culture suffered a big loss,” he told Dazed magazine.

For others, the book provides another connection to Yams, who remains a touchstone in many of their lives, even after death. “You know when you lose somebody, you start to feel alone?” said A$AP Rocky, who lost a brother at the age of 13 and his father in 2012. “I don’t feel like that at all this time. I’m going to talk to him and ask him what’s up. And we’re going to see if he’s still got it, even from up there.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.