Steven Rodriguez, better known as A$AP Yams and the founder of the famed New York hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, died Sunday, as confirmed by a statement from his label, RCA Records. He was 26.
“All of us at RCA Records are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of A$AP Yams,” the label said in a statement. “As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams’ vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Beginning his career as a hip-hop blogger, Yams was already viewed as a major tastemaker within the hip-hop community before founding A$AP Mob in 2007, the collective responsible for launching the careers of current hip-hop favorites A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and others. News of his death spread rapidly through social media outlets on Sunday, sparking Tweets and tributes from dozens of prominent music figures from Drake to Wiz Khalifa to Azalea Banks.
At press time, details surrounding the cause of death have not been released. However, the young mogul was known to have struggled with drug addiction in recent years, leading many to speculate that a relapse may have been a cause of death.
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