A niche 2006 modification for the 2004 game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Yeah bruh that shit crazy in itself. But even before that, he was YBN in all but his name: He just needed the social media handle.
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Nonetheless, the stress of a violent hometown, plus sudden viral fame, is a lot to deal with for someone just out of high school And last winter, Nahmir found himself in a new environment, abandoning Alabama for the glamour of Los Angeles. I really fuck with L.A.,” he explains, though the city’s lack of precipitation means he can’t engage in one of his favorite pastimes.
Nonetheless, YBN looks to have spent its share on jewelry. In addition to the Rap-A-Lot chain, Almighty Jay sports a big trophy emblem made of VVS diamonds. This is my reward,” he says. Cordae claims, I don’t wear jewelry. It’s not really my thing.” But he sports a diamond ring that he is nearly giddy about, asking several times during the afternoon if they can find a place to get it polished.
Since the success of that song, Nahmir is trying to provide for his people. The young artist has yet to sign a deal, and says he refuses to unless he’s given his own label imprint and full creative freedom.
On the upcoming project (which is yet to get a release date), Nahmir is finding himself, growing up, flexing hard as ever but also trying to talk about his real life experiences and learn from his mistakes while doing it all in the public eye as an 18-year-old. And for what it’s worth, whether Nahmir will have sustained success, only time will tell but it certainly feels like he may be one of the lone Teen Titans in the rap game with the wherewithal to actually become a DC Universe fixture. We spoke with Nahmir about the new project, the rest of YBN and what life has been like since blowing up.
YBN Nahmir is an American rapper and songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. He is best known for his singles “Rubbin Off the Paint” which charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and “Bounce Out With That” peaking at number one on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
I ask the rappers separately, in three phone conversations a few days before meeting two-thirds of them in person, what exactly YBN—the first two letters stand for Young Boss”—is. A crew? A label? A group? None of the above, as it turns out. All three circle back to the same idea.
Breaking through with a viral hit when he was just 17, YBN Nahmir went from being an online gamer to a rap star virtually overnight. Along with friends YBN Cordae and YBN Almighty Jay , YBN Nahmir made up the core membership of the sprawling YBN collective, with all three of the main players rising to enormous success around the same time in 2017. Singles and videos streamed in the millions and hit the Billboard charts, as did 2018’s YBN: The Mixtape , an album-length release that collected the brightest output of the collective’s early days.
Currently, on tour with the infamous Bhad Bhabie throughout America before heading down for his Australasian tour, YBN Nahmir then turns back home to America and has a Canadian tour already scheduled for later this year. Eager to prove he is more than just a one or two hit wonder.
new mixtape serves as an introduction to YBN as a whole, with budding new members still set to emerge. YBN serves as this generation’s new breed of rap crew, formed by the internet and flourishing with viral hits like YBN Nahmir’s Bounce Out With That” which has accrued over 102 million plays on Soundcloud and YBN Almighty Jay’s Chopsticks” which has been streamed over 20 million times on Soundcloud and Youtube.
On January 23, 2018, he released his new song, ‘Bounce Out With That’ on ‘Lyrical Lemonade’s YouTube channel. It was made available for streaming only after three days of the release of the music video.
Yeah exactly, Cordae is like the lyrical type of nigga, I’m the nigga that’s gonna go in the booth and talk my shit, but to a certain extent and Jay just gonna go in there and go crazy and say what he wanna say and that shit gonna sound hard.
What with all this young MC has accomplished at 18, age most definitely is nothing but a number for YBN Nahmir. Whether he’s trading rhymes with his fellow members of the YBN hip-hop collective or racking up millions of hits with his solo tracks, YBN Nahmir’s steely yet inventive flow makes it easy to understand why so many major labels fought over the burgeoning trap superstar before he signed a deal with Atlantic in 2017.
Much like with rap nowadays, it feels like the impressionist art movement in which art is being created through layered ad-libs and infectious production tags over the traditional approach of carefully constructed 16 bar pockets; an emphasis on the broader strokes of the track’s personality and less on the structural details. There are no longer any rules. And I said all that to say, yes rap may be in it’s impressionist art movement but it still slaps all the same and YBN Nahmir is another pinpoint of proof. When Nahmir shared his Worldstar exclusive breakout hit Rubbin’ Off the Paint” last September, I don’t think he ever imagined it amassing over 120 million views and garnering platinum status… but it did and this kind of success has served as the only marker of credibility necessary. That and a whole lot of Christian Louboutins for the 18-year-old rapper, born Nick Simmons, from Birmingham, Alabama.
I usually go to a studio once every month and I record a bunch of songs in one day like six or seven songs. I don’t need to go to the studio more often than that. Some of the time I just chill out, relax and enjoy life, hang out with my family or I do my shows.
Cordae knows he’s an outlier in the group, cheerfully answering No” when I ask if he has anything in common musically with the other YBN members. But he quickly spins that into a positive. We’re not stepping on each other’s toes,” he says.
When Nahmir received news of “Rubbin’ Off the Paint” going platinum, it was also around the same time last month when he found out he wasn’t going to be able to walk in his high school graduation which sparked the #LetNahmirWalk hashtag. Nahmir took to Instagram to post after the principal of his school, Clay-Chalkville High School, informed him he would not be allowed to walk after the rapper had left tour and donated money to his community in hopes of a fulfilling graduation homecoming for him and his family.
In November 2017, Simmons was involved in controversy following his song being claimed by a record label after his manager sold the instrumental for the song to a third-party. 20 In response, Simmons now has an in-house producer for his instrumentals who is a member of the YBN collective 6 Simmons released six more tracks in 2017.
Nahmir truly achieved success, however, with the release of his hit single Rubbin’ Off the Paint”. The track, which has received remixes from artists like Vince Staples and Chris Brown, blew up so quickly that Nahmir had to be pulled from his high school classes.
A bubbling artist out of Birmingham, Alabama, YBN NAHMIR grew out of a community of teenaged online gamers. His fan base initially formed around his freestyling on XBOX Live during games of Grand Theft Auto, which he would later record and post to his YouTube channel.
It’s a sequel to the “Letter To Valley Part 1” and I got four other ones. But they got taken off of YouTube because of the beat I was using. They got copyrighted, so I had to take them down. They’re on the laptop at my house. Every year I do a song for my homeboy Valley, who passed away from a heart attack. Next year I’m going to do a Part 6 around the day he died, January 7.
In rap music, collectives are often created out of necessity, whether it’s to establish a necessary atmosphere and brotherly love or to birth collective opportunities in the pursuit of fame. Odd Future was formed in 2007 out of a group of friends seeking more from life than the current livelihood each member was exposed to, and to advance off of the opportunity that they could grasp together. Brockhampton met on the KanyeToThe web forum (then known as KanyeLive) through a search for members to create a rap group. These stories generate interest because they’re entertaining, also showcasing the grassroots nature of hip-hop. Building connections in organic ways offers the greatest amounts of success. Historically, hip-hop has always thrived off of that. Wu-Tang Clan was a circle of friends looking for something bigger when they came together in the early 1990s; N.W.A. was created out of necessity to facilitate more interest and traffic with more than just Eazy-E in the fold.
We started as a DJ booking agency in the late 1990s, but rapidly evolved into a music agent for London and the UK, and then into a global music management agency. Today, we are booking agents for rappers, DJs, bands and vocalists. Our artists represent more than 40 genres of music, from acid house to world, and everything in between.
Thus came the fascination with Nahmir. A petite package, around 5’7″, a few stray wisps of post-adolescent facial hair on his face, dreads dangling from his scalp. He’s the average kid on Xbox without the commanding height or effortless swagger. Yet he manages to continuously build his persona as the everyman, utilizing his boyishness to demand attention from every corner of new-age rap’s circle. His inclusion in XXL’s 2018 Freshman Class speaks to his appeal to the new generation. His plethora of swag raps makes his music enticing to modern listeners that have grown used to the lack of thematic content in rap. Of the spearhead, he sounds the most confident with his style too.
If I were to, for a moment, compare the current rap zeitgeist to art history, I would probably point to the impressionist period as the correlating reference for understanding the way this period of rap fits in the timeline. If you don’t know anything about art history, just understand this period was considered the first distinctly modern movement in painting. The impressionist period saw artists focus on how to capture their images without detail but with bold colors. This was a less formal approach that emphasized specific styles and impromptu takes.
It depends on how I’m feeling that day, I ain’t been to the studio in a minute. I been on tour and shit but we just be coolin’ in the studio when we go, it’s not really hard to make a song cause we some hitmakers lowkey I ain’t even gone cap. I’m finna start going crazy again when shit drop.
Industry plants don’t exist but, if they do, Cordae’s rapid ascent could only make sense if he was one. He connected with the collective through the internet, hanging out as friends while in Los Angeles on multiple occasions. He came into the spotlight with the sharp response to J. Cole’s “1985 (Intro to the Fall Off)” called “Old Niggas,” answering J. Cole’s condescending message to the new-age with a snarky, yet depressing look at the abysmal generation before him. It quickly went viral; next came his freestyle “My Name Is,” using Eminem’s song and beat as the template for yet another powerful lyrical statement. Cordae has been on a tear since then, possibly even besting both Jay and Nahmir in terms of relevancy.
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In Birmingham, there’s not really people you could listen to, nobody has really blown up out of there. I’ve always listened to West Coast rappers like Tupac and Snoop Dogg Most of my friends were from the West Coast and it was a big influence on me. I used to go out to the Bay a lot. My mom and Auntie were real big fans of Tupac and Eazy-E I was listening to them since I was a baby.
Along with the star power of Nahmir, YBN Cordae, who the New York Times said was one of the most promising young lyricists in hip-hop”, and YBN Almighty Jay who XXL called a bona fide rap star” are set to become household names. The new tape sees The YBN crew’s diverse personalities set them apart from their counterparts, making guest appearances on episodes of MTV’s Wild N’ Out and Complex’s Open Late with Peter Rosenberg and landing performances at festivals like Hard Summer, Rolling Loud, and the first annual Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash. YBN Nahmir in particular is capping off a busy summer that saw him crowned a XXL Freshman, make his late-night television debut alongside G-Eazy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and celebrate as his breakout hit Rubbin Off The Paint” achieved certified platinum status from the RIAA.
Shit, all they gotta do is be their self. If you be yourself, you’re good. If you try to be somebody else you gon KO your whole career in a fucking second. Nigga you gotta be yourself, matter of fact, you gotta be yourself period no matter what you doing. Cause if you not being yourself, it’s not hard to tell.
I need to know—is he burned out?” Davies asks about Nahmir, whose absence from the shoot was attributed officially to an illness in his family. She questions whether the current plan—for YBN to start a European tour at the beginning of October—is feasible. At almost the same time, the Galveston, Texas-raised Almighty Jay is joking-but-not-really about escaping back to the Lone Star State and vanishing entirely from the group’s promo run for their new project, YBN: The Mixtape.