Apparently, this dude is the hip-hop spirit guide. A$AP Yams is his name and he seems to be the leader behind the Mob on the rise. “Yams is the hip-hop encyclopedia,” Rocky said. “He’s no joke. That’s one person I can’t front on when it comes to music.” At the age of 16 Yams interned at Diplomats Records, and managed a few producers, helping them sell their songs to rappers. Music was his thing. In 2008 is when Yams hooked up with Rocky and from there it all sky-rocketed. The two had to be in the studio almost daily, so that Rocky could find the type of voice that suited him. Looks like it all worked out for the best. Drop down bottom for more on Yams.

JaaiR (JR)

The sound they arrived at for Rocky after two years of work included DNA from all of those other places, a platonic ideal of deeply schooled hip-hop.

This is a thoroughly modern idea. The Internet has collapsed eras and places, and ASAP Yams spent most of his childhood downloading. That the first artist he molded would sound like the sum of his accumulated taste was no accident.

“We wanted to become big,” Yams said, “but we didn’t want to do it by hopping on somebody else’s wave. We wanted to come in the game with our own wave.”

By the beginning of 2011 Rocky had a batch of songs that were ready to go. Here again Yams had a plan. Since April 2010 he’d been running a Tumblr — the title is unprintable — which had become one of the most reliable hip-hop tastemaking sites on the Internet, trafficking in obscure gangster rap, scans from old hip-hop magazines, rare photos and all manner of insider jokes. It had a devoted following — it was historical, attitudinal and an alluring blend of street knowledge and nerd knowledge. “That’s what made” his Tumblr “special,” Yams said. “I really mixed both.”

[NY Times]