A$AP Rocky Releases A.L.L.A. Album Early, Remembers A$AP Yams

Snapping A$AP Rocky in action at his A.L.L.A. listening party
Snapping A$AP Rocky in action at his A.L.L.A. listening party
Sowmya Krishnamurthy for the Village Voice

A$AP Rocky blessed fans with a surprise gift on May 26: The Harlem rapper has unexpectedly released his A.L.L.A. album.

The sophomore effort — its title is an acronym that stands for At.Long.Last.A$AP — was slated for June 2, but it became commercially available at midnight. The follow-up to 2013's LongLiveA$AP features contributors including Kanye West ("Jukebox Joints"), Juicy J and UGK ("Wavybone"), Rod Stewart ("Everyday"), and M.I.A. ("Fine Whine") and includes several nods to the city ("Canal St.," "West Side Highway," and "Max B").

Rocky commemorated the release with a last-minute party at Milk Studios in Chelsea last night. The 26-year-old held court amid a sea of fashionable cool kids outfitted in everything from colorful caftans and capes to fitted hats and fresh kicks. It was a fitting venue for the self-professed "Fashion Killa." A$AP Rocky, more than any of his hip-hop contemporaries, is a genuine sartorialist. His handsome visage has graced DKNY ads, he was engaged to model Chanel Iman, and he single-handedly made streetwear brands Been Trill and Hood by Air wack with one diss. "I'm high [as] a kite right now," Rocky said, his braided hair pulled back into a ponytail and his mouth glistening from his grille. "Let's get into some trill shit."

A.L.L.A. had sprung a leak online by the time Rocky arrived to his listening event. So what do you do when half the people in the room have already heard your shit? Have a dance party, of course. The DJ bypassed a track-by-track playlist and played only a few songs from the eighteen-track A.L.L.A., including the single "M'$." He peppered the evening's soundtrack with favorites like A$AP Ferg's "Work" and "Shabba," throwbacks jams from Crime Mob ("Knuck If You Buck"), David Banner ("Like a Pimp"), and Dem Franchize Boyz ("Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It"), and summer-ready tracks by Fetty Wap ("My Way") and Future ("Commas"). Rocky and his A$AP Mob crew (including A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvyy, and A$AP Illz) were in high spirits, moshing and dancing together as the swarm of fans' smartphones flashed.

One person whose presence was deeply missed was A$AP Yams. Rocky's former manager and the driving visionary behind A$AP died tragically due to accidental drug intoxication in January. [Correction: We had initially reported that Yams had passed away in March; that was when his cause of death had been determined. We sincerely apologize for this mistake.] Yams' memory is indelibly imprinted on A.L.L.A., especially in the album's artwork, which bears his signature birthmark. "Put a one in the air for Yams," the DJ instructed the crowd at one point. Several members of Yams' family were in attendance, and they stayed for the duration of the listening party. When Rocky walked in, he made a beeline toward them and embraced Yams' mother. It was a bittersweet moment. On this night of celebration, one of the most important members of A$AP was gone — but definitely not forgotten.

See also: Bodega Bamz Finds Strength in Ties to Tanboys and A$AP Yams on Sidewalk Exec Meet the A$AP Mob: Talking to Ant, Ferg, J. Scott, Nast, Twelvyy, and Yams Red Bull Music Academy 2015 Brings George Clinton, A$AP Rocky, FKA twigs & More to NYC

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