YamsDay 2015: A$AP Mob Re-Claims New York
To Americans everywhere, January 18th represents triumph, pride, and resilience – it is, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This date, however, also marks the death of Steven Rodriguez, AKA A$AP Yams, founder and leader of the internationally established hip-hop collective, A$AP Mob. On the one-year anniversary of Yams’ death, the Harlem-founded group, which boasts members like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg, performed as a whole at Terminal 5 in New York City. The idea was to create “YamsDay”, in celebration of the life and creative accomplishments of Rodriguez - as Rocky put it, Yams was the “mastermind behind the scenes.” Alternatively as spoken by Yams himself, “Rocky’s like Luke Skywalker, and I’m Yoda.”
I’ve been to many shows at Terminal 5 – most of which have been sold out – but none of them compare to the crowd I saw there a couple Mondays ago. The line stretched around the block, reaching down 12th Ave and leaving fans in an incomparably frigid state. Scattered throughout this long queue was everyone – from art students to frat boys, hype beasts to gamers, models to closet nerds. Just as eclectic was the lineup, which spanned names like Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, French Montana, and Lil Uzi. Outside the show was a massive black and white projection of Yams across the wall facing Terminal 5. Inside the venue were posters of Yams, illustrated atop a unicorn. You could even get your face painted to have Yam’s iconic birthmark, which literally looks like yams, beneath your right eye. Though many expected an A$AP Rocky concert, this show was rather one of many artists, all present in honor of Yams and everything he has done for hip-hop. Another surprise visit came from Tatianna Paulino, AKA Yams’ mother, straight from Spanish Harlem. She addressed the crowd, thanking them for honoring her son and announcing the creation of the “Always Strive and Prosper” (ASAP) foundation in Steven’s name. Whatever stereotypes may surround the hip-hop community were dispelled this night, which presented one of the most tastefully done and touching commemorations many have ever seen.
In terms of music, A$AP Mob performed tracks such as “Hella Hoes,” “1Train,” and of course, “Yamborghini High.” In honor of the great city of New York, birthplace of A$AP Mob, the group performed A$AP Ferg’s “Work (Remix),” which opens with the line “I gotta close the window before I record, because New York don’t know how to be quiet.” As soon as Ferg dropped the ever-popular line, “Coogi down to the socks, like I’m Biggie Poppa,” the audience absolutely lost it. From the aforementioned closet nerds to Supreme-clad hype beasts, everyone was chanting and dancing in unison. Two more crowd-pleasing performances included “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye II” and “Peso,” both by A$AP Rocky. Admittedly, I was slightly disappointed that the mob didn’t perform any Rocky classics such as “Goldie” or “L$D.” It was nonetheless an amazing experience, as though all of New York came together for one night to party and commemorate the iconic life of A$AP Yams. You can check out the honorary track, “Yamborghini High,” below.
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Photo via Source.com