“We from Harlem, we gave y’all motherfuckers this wave,” declares A$AP Yams on the closing track of A$AP Rocky’s 2015 sophomore effort, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP. Unbeknownst to the 26-year-old Yams, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP (or A.L.L.A.) would be his swan song; the multi-hyphenate would die a few months before the album’s release. Yams’ influence had long permeated Rocky’s image and sound, and A.L.L.A. was no exception. The sonically dynamic album solidified Rocky’s avant-garde approach to his music and style—an approach Yams had helped develop and popularize via social media sites like Tumblr during Rocky’s early years. A defining factor of Rocky’s music lies in the hazy, fashion- and culture-driven braggadocio of his lyrics and sound, something that has steadily become as central to rap music as 808s and hi-hats. But A.L.L.A. also proved the rapper’s dedication to an elevated and unprecedented sound: The lead single, “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)”—led by Chicago production team Nez & Rio—carved out a sonic lane of its own. On “Everyday,” the rapper brought together an unlikely power duo in Rod Stewart and Miguel, and elsewhere on the 18-track set, rap icons from across the country—UGK, Mos Def, and Lil Wayne included—make appearances, a testament to Rocky’s masterful handle on a cross-regional sound. Above all, though, A.L.L.A. served as an inadvertent testament to the talents and influence of Yams.

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