Last Friday, A$AP Mob hosted an intimate listening session at Record Plant studios in Hollywood, Calif. Producer Hector Delgado kicked off the session playing the project from front to back, an ode to late co-founder A$AP Yams, who passed away last March. “He was such a lover of the culture,” he said. “When we traveled, he would literally go up to artists and start singing their music to them.” A$AP Rocky recalled a few artists Yams had approached like Bobby Brown, Jermaine Dupri and Irv Gotti. “[He’d] start telling them facts he knew about him. He was a young legend.” Delgado added, “He really built the blueprint we run off of now. The album features all of the artists he liked.”
A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 dropped Oct. 31, via A$AP Worldwide/Polo Grounds Music/RCA Records. It is an eclectic set that features Wiz Khalifa, BJ the Chicago Kid, Skepta, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Tyler, the Creator, Juicy J, MadeinTYO, and Migos’ Offset. The project is a tribute to the late A$AP Yams and a move towards a more commercial and club-friendly sound from the mob. The cover of the project even features a photo of Yams as a baby, given to the group by Yams’ mom.
Rocky noted how Yams’ passing pushed him to build and maintain those relationships. “I had to be more social with people. Yams made sure people knew we supported them. When he passed, it became my duty.” The Harlem rap crew began recording the project 10 months ago, according to Rocky, after they previously released “Yamborghini High” last November. Rocky did his recording in London’s Red Bull Studios, his location of choice for its “energy, the rain, the architecture — I like that.”
Cozy Tapes not only features the Mob in their comfort zone — turn-up records, bodega skits and reflective rap cuts — but showcases new talent the group co-signs. “I got to the point where I had to develop people outside of A$AP in addition to what we do. That’s why you got Playboy Carti, Key! and Treez Lowkey [on the project]. They’re actually artists that have been influencing the game for a while now,” said Rocky. “Playboi Carti’s fairly new but he’s like the young prince of hip-hop right now. Ask the kids and he’s the chosen one. I ain’t gassing it. It is what it is.”
At its core, the project is a celebration of A$AP Yams’ life and continues building the Mob’s impact on the industry. “It’s either you going to stop and cry, grieve, or you going to keep going and carry out the legacy,” said Rocky. “That’s the hardest part. While I’m doing it, though, I think about him.” When asked what impact Yams left on the group, Rocky responded, “He left good energy, that optimistic shit, that ambition. That be happy with nothing [mentality], be grateful for something. He could’ve had a dollar to his name, and still be cool and lit.”