Two years ago on January 18, 2015 the rap world and music industry lost a legend. One of the three founding members of A$AP Mob, Steven Rodriguez, best known as A$AP Yams, was known to be the brains behind the Mob’s success as well as a tastemaker and influencer who provided opportunities for lots of underground artists. Being such an important personality and figure in music, it is only right that he be remembered properly.
Beginning last year, Yams Day is now an annual concert that takes place on January 18 in New York. Attendees are encouraged to wear their coziest robes, sweats, and durags as an homage to A$AP Yams’ “Cozy Boys” movement. Performers include Yams’ friends and collaborators, as well as artists he personally liked or influenced. Unlike last year’s Yams Day which took place at Terminal 5, this year’s event was moved to a bigger venue at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Whereas last year’s show caught some controversy over how the event was coordinated, this year’s show seemed to run very smoothly. The event started at exactly 8:00pm as it was supposed to and got right to the music. With an apparent “Yamborghini High” theme, the stage was set up with lockers, basketball hoops, chalkboards, and pennants similar to those you would find pinned up in a high school gym. Throughout the night three jumbotron screens flashed glitched-out VHS quality loops of A$AP Yams along with cartoon clips and what appeared to be scenes from a corny 80s-era instructional high school video.
Sticking with the theme of high school and basketball, the event was split into two halves. For the first half, the audience was entertained by music from $Ha Hef, A$ton Matthews, G Perico, RetcH, Flatbush Zombies, A$AP TyY, Marty Baller, Dave East, Danny Brown, Playboi Carti, and Hoodrich Pablo Juan. The first half was followed by a 45 minute halftime DJ set where the crowd eagerly waited for the next performers. The second half of the show opened up with Ab-Soul followed by ScHoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Mob, French Montana, and Young Thug.
The night was full of surprises with surprise performers Jay Critch, Maxo Kream, KEY!, and even The Weeknd. Along with surprise performers, celebrities in attendance included jeweler Ben Baller and Kendall Jenner. The event lasted for a total of three hours and ended with some words from Yams’ mother Tatiana “Tati” Paulino. Mama Yams came out in a Versace robe and gave a speech in both Spanish and English thanking everyone for attending and supporting her son followed by a reminder to everyone to “Always Strive and Prosper”.