A Short History of A$AP MOB

A$AP Yams, Founder of A$AP MOB

2006 - The Mob Forms

In 2005, at only 17 years old, Steven Rodriguez, commonly known as A$AP Yams,tattooed ASAP on his right arm, and in 2006, along with Jabari Shelton (A$AP Bari) and Illijah Ulanga (A$AP Illz), founded A$AP, a hip-hop collective whose name signifies “Always Strive and Prosper.”









A$AP Rocky in bright orange outfit. He is considered one of the best dressed and most fashionable rappers.

2008 - Rocky Joins the Mob

Bari and Rakim Mayers (Rocky) had grown up and gone to high school together, and in 2008 they reconnected and Bari introduced Rocky to Yams, where an immediate chemistry formed between the two. Yams immediately saw the potential in Rocky, and they began spending a lot of time together in the studio curating a signature sound. During this time, Yams also ran a Tumblr account where he developed a large following, which he later used to promote Rocky and the music that they had been working on.









Portrait photo that was used as album art for Rocky's LIVE.LOVE.A$AP mixtape.

2011 - Rocky Releases Debut Mixtape "LIVE.LOVE.A$AP"

PESO:

LIVE.LOVE.A$AP was the first project released by Rocky. It was well received and garnered a wealth of media attention, and set the stage for his career moving forward. With lead singles Peso and Purple Swag netting Rocky a reported $3 million contract from RCA Records, there was quite a bit riding on the project, and fortunately, Rocky delivered. Rapping about drugs, women, and lavish clothes over well-crafted beats from producers Clams Casino, ASAP Ty Beats and Spaceghost Purp, LIVE.LOVE.A$AP was a fantastic first project from the up-and-coming rapper. The project also served as a starting point for fellow member A$AP Ferg, whose first verse was on Kissin’ Pink.









Photo of A$AP Mob together in matching A$AP jerseys.

2012 - A$AP MOB Releases First Mixtape, "Lord$ Never Worry"

Bath Salt (ft. Flatbush Zombies):

After a buildup of anticipation, A$AP Mob released their first mixtape titled "Lord$ Never Worry" in 2012. Featuring production from A$AP Ty Beats, Clams Casino, and more, the project really put them at the forefront of New York rap groups. The mixtape featured standout tracks such as "Bath Salt", which was a collaboration with fellow New York group Flatbush Zombies, and "Work", which was A$AP Ferg's debut single.









A$AP Rocky experimenting with his outfit as he wears a babushka on the red carpet

2013 - Rocky Releases Debut Studio Album, "LONG.LIVE.A$AP"

F**kin' Problems (ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar):

Rocky’s first studio album, LONG.LIVE.A$AP, was released on January 15th, 2013, selling 139,000 copies and jumping to the front of the charts. This album continued right where LIVE.LOVE.A$AP left off with his melodic flow and signature sound. The project featured other members of the Mob as well as high profile artists such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, ScHoolboy Q and 2 Chainz.









A$AP Ferg portrait photo

2013 - A$AP Ferg Drops Debut Album "Trap Lord"

Work Remix (ft. A$AP Rocky, ScHoolboy Q, Trinidad James, and French Montana):

A few months after Rocky dropped his debut album, Ferg followed suit and dropped his debut project, Trap Lord. The album arrived with a collaboration with famous Japanese streetwear label BAPE, which included a limited-edition graphic tee that was limited to 100 pieces. The album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured other top artists including ScHoolboy Q, Waka Flocka Flame, French Montana, and A$AP Rocky.









Photo of A$AP Bari wearing his designs from his brand VLONE

2014 - A$AP Bari Debuts his Clothing Line "VLONE"

March 4th marks the debut of VLONE, a lifestyle brand created by A$AP co-founder Bari. The initial collection consists of t-shirts and hoodies, all with the now unmistakable “V” logo on the back. The drop garnered much attention and immediately became a staple brand in the fashion industry, consistently selling out online and at physical pop-up stores. In addition to dropping standard collections, VLONE also collaborates with many rappers and artists to create limited-edition runs for their work.









A$AP Yams, who passed away in January of 2015

2015 - The MOB Announces Death of A$AP Yams

At 3 A.M. on January 18th, 2015, Rocky and A$AP Lou, discovered Yams in his bed, unresponsive. That morning, the Mob made an announcement that Yams had passed away. Further details surfaced that showed an accidental overdose to be the cause of death. Rocky stated that Yams had struggled with drugs before, and he had confronted him about his habits, which only resulted in Yams taking measures to hide his drug habits from the rest of the Mob. Now, every January 18th, the Mob has a show called “Yams Day” which is a celebration of Yams and everything that he accomplished during his life.









2015 - Rocky Drops Sophomore Album, "AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP"

Jukebox Joints (ft. Joe Fox and Kanye West):

Released on May 26th, just a few months after the death of A$AP Yams, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP established Rocky as one of the top rappers in the game and cemented him as the face of the Mob. The album featured A$AP Yams as an executive producer, and it is the last A$AP album that had direct input from Yams. The album features many standout tracks including Canal St., Everyday, and L$D. Rocky recruited filmmaker Dexter Navy to direct the music video for L$D, and this sparked a relationship between the Mob and Navy. Navy is now one of the members of AWGE (Rocky's creative collective) and has produced many videos for Rocky and the Mob.









A$AP Ferg, the 'Hood Pope'

2016 - A$AP Ferg Drops His Sophomore Album "Always Strive and Prosper"

Let You Go:

On Ferg’s follow up to Trap Lord, he deviates from the typical sound of A$AP and delivers an album full of heart and soul, with R&B tracks mixed in with the typical, hard-hitting songs that A$AP is known for. The album is much more personal and shows a side to Ferg that had not been seen through his music before. The album features fellow members of the Mob along with other high-profile artists such as Rick Ross, Chris Brown, and Ty Dolla $ign among others. The album debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart.









2016 - A$AP Mob Releases their Debut Studio Album, "Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends-"

Yamborghini High (ft. Juicy J)

“Cozy Tapes Vol.1: Friends-“ served as the Mob’s tribute to co-founder Yams. The album is the first studio album from A$AP Mob, 10 years after their formation. Kicking off with lead single Yamborghini High, the album gives each member of the Mob a platform to showcase themselves, as well as featuring many of Yams’ favorite artists including Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler, the Creator and Skepta. The cover art of the album features a photo of Yams as a baby, which was given to the Mob by his mother. The subtitle of the project, Friends-, has gone on to serve as a key graphic in Bari’s latest VLONE collections, which he explained meant “zero friends” which aligns with the brand’s mantra, “live alone, die alone.”









Picture from a photoshoot of the Mob. A similar photo from the same shoot was used as the album art for Cozy Tapes Vol.2: Too Cozy

2017 - Rocky's AWGE Takes Over for "AWGEST"

Plain Jane - A$AP Ferg:

Diamonds - A$AP Twelvvy (ft. A$AP Rocky):

Walk On Water (ft. A$AP Twelvvy, A$AP Nast, A$AP Ant, A$AP Ferg, and Playboi Carti):

August of 2017 served as a huge month for the Mob. Rocky’s creative collective AWGE had a month-long takeover, during which time three big projects were dropped, including A$AP Twelvvy’s debut album, “12," A$AP Ferg’s third studio album, "Still Striving," and the Mob’s second studio album, "Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy." “12” was a long awaited debut album from one of the original members of A$AP Mob, and the album is a showcase for Twelvvy and a refresh for many A$AP fans, as Twelvvy has not had the mainstream success that fellow Mob members Rocky and Ferg have seen. Ferg returned to the scene with an energetic album reminiscent of his early work, led by hit single Plain Jane. Meanwhile, Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 served as a great showcase for the Mob and many young rappers who are associated with them such as Jaden Smith and Smooky MarGielaa.









2018 - Rocky Releases Third Studio Album, "Testing"

Praise The Lord (Da Shine) (ft. Skepta):

Recorded while staying in a hotel-turned-“Yeezy Compound” with Kanye West, “Testing” represents Rocky’s most experimental album to date. However, the signature sound that he had developed in his previous projects was not as present here, and the deviation from this sparked poor initial reactions from fans, resulting in the album not selling as well as expected. After feeling “emotionally discouraged” due to this reception, he channeled this energy into his Injured Generation tour and accompanying music videos such as A$AP FOREVER, which currently sits at over 54 million views on YouTube.











A$AP Album Sales Reinforce Rocky's Lead Role in the Mob

This chart shows how much Rocky has grown compared to his peers, as his first-week sales are consistently and significantly higher than those of Ferg and the Mob as a whole.

Long.Live.A$AP - A$AP Rocky:
Released: January 15, 2013
First Week Sales: 139,000 copies
Debut spot: 1st

Trap Lord - A$AP Ferg:
Released: August 10, 2013
First Week Sales: 32,000 copies
Debut Spot: 9th

AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP - A$AP Rocky:
Released: May 26, 2015
First Week Sales: 146,000 copies
Debut Spot: 1st

Always Strive and Prosper - A$AP Ferg:
Released: April 22, 2016
First Week Sales: 35,000 copies
Debut Spot: 8th

Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends- - A$AP Mob:
Released: October 31, 2016
First Week Sales: 21,000 copies
Debut Spot: 13th

Still Striving - A$AP Ferg:
Released: August 18, 2017
First Week Sales: 24,000 copies
Debut Spot: 12th

Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy - A$AP MOB:
Released: August 25, 2017
First Week Sales: 40,000 copies
Debut Spot: 7th

Testing - A$AP Rocky:
Release Date: May 25, 2018
First Week Sales: 75,000 copies
Debut Spot: 4th

***DATA TAKEN FROM BILLBOARD. NUMBERS MAY OR MAY NOT BE ACCURATE.***









Sources

CLOSE

theguardian.com - A$AP Rocky Interview

highsnobiety.com - A$AP Rocky and A$AP Bari explain VLONE

nytimes.com - Yam's Passing Away

complex.com - VLONE debut collection

complex.com - A$AP Rocky Interview

hiphopdx.com - "LIVE.LOVE.A$AP" Review

billboard.com - "Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends-" Release

nytimes.com - A$AP Yams and Rocky History

archive.massappeal.com - BAPE Merch for A$AP Ferg's "Trap Lord"

nytimes.com - A$AP Ferg - "Always Strive and Prosper Review"

Images taken from Google images

Videos Made by Filmmaker Dexter Navy

Music From A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvvy, and A$AP MOB

Researched and Designed by Ian Alexander