Though A$AP Rocky's life seems to hang in grainy, faux-VHS rap-star excess, it's been a dark period for him and his circle of friends. Since his mentor, manager and confidant A$AP Yams passed away tragically in January--and since that death was ruled an accidental overdose last week--Rocky tells the New York Times that he has been remembering the guidance Yams gave him, and thanks him for instilling in him so much fire. Jon Caramanica, who interviewed Rocky for the piece, contrasts the rapper's lavish New York digs with the grisly details of Yams' death. According to Rocky, Yams--who began to hide his drug use after Rocky insisted he go to rehab--was unresponsive in his Williamsburg bed, which was covered in vomit. He and A$AP Lou, who was Yams' roommate at the time, knew immediately what had happened and rushed to contact authorities, but it was too late. Yet Rocky has not forgotten his friend. "I’m going to talk to him and ask him what’s up," he said. "And we’re going to see if he’s still got it even from up there.”

Rocky has recently said that his second major label album is in the mastering phase, and will be released very soon. Lykke Li, FKA Twigs and others offered guest contributions; the record is co-executive produced by Juicy J and Yams. Rocky also has a starring role in Dope, a film that garnered excited reactions from critics and fans at Sundance, and secured a wide release and international distribution.