YBN Nahmir is currently at peace after learning to roll with the punches in life. With the drama of the Young Boss N—as/YBN crew split with former members Almighty Jay and Cordae behind him, the Alabama native is ready to focus on himself. Nahmir finally delivered his long-awaited debut album with VISIONLAND via ART@WAR/Atlantic Records on Friday (March 26).
“I took time to sit down and re-evaluate everything going on in my life and it made me calm down about situations,” Nahmir tells Billboard over Zoom. “I really been focusing on me and that’s the best way to do this. I gotta put myself first, so I could do it for everyone later on.”
The 21-year-old heard the critics who put him on the clock for another hit record and while the pressure mounted to a near-breaking point, 2019’s “Opp Stoppa” proved to be a life preserver in the rocky ocean waters. A song he made messing around may have saved his career, and he can thank TikTok star Addison Rae for making it go viral nearly two years after the track’s initial release.
“It was a blessing in disguise and came from out of nowhere,” he admits. “Right when I needed it, it happened for me. It put a lot of stuff in front of me where I can keep going with this s–t and I feel like it’s the right time to drop the album.”
When we last spoke to the “Rubbin Off the Paint” rapper in 2017, he professed his goal to one day earn a No. 1 record on the Billboard charts. While he’s yet to reach the apex, “Opp Stoppa” is spending a seventh week on the Billboard Hot 100, with the help of a new verse from guest star 21 Savage.
Billboard virtually caught up with Nahmir from the confines of his California mansion as he spoke on the unbreakable friendship bond with Cordae and Almighty Jay, his plans to channel Diddy’s mogul status, and why he told rappers to put the guns down.
Billboard: We last spoke at the end of 2017 when “Rubbin Off the Paint” was bubbling on the charts. How do you feel about your career these last three years when you look back?
YBN Nahmir: I have mixed emotions about it too. It’s kind of weird. Sometimes it feels like everything happened so fast, but then sometimes it feels like I’ve been in this s–t for so long. It’s day-to-day damn near right now, but I’m looking forward to everything coming up. You know how it is, it’s different when you’re a superstar with this s–t.
With VISIONLAND being your true debut, how did this come together and what’s the meaning behind the title?
I’ve really been working on it since “Rubbin Off the Paint” had dropped. I had some songs ready for it. I was just procrastinating [on] it and there was really a lot of growth. There’s a lot of s–t on there that I was going through in real life.
VISIONLAND is this old park and I had a bunch of experiences there. I just felt like it was the right thing to do, especially if you’re from Birmingham, Alabama. That’s something that everyone knows about if you’re from Alabama. Alabama Adventure [is] what it’s called right now. I feel like a lot of people are gonna relate to it with my music speaking for itself.
Talk about how “Opp Stoppa” blew up?
I was f–king around in 2019. I dropped it because I moved into my new house and shot a quick video to it. It was a song for me, it wasn’t a song for my fans or nothing. It blew up with TikTok. I really wasn’t on TikTok too much at the time, but now I’m on that b–ch every day. I woke up one day and Addison Rae had recorded a video to it and it blew up. Everybody was like, “What song is that? That’s YBN Nahmir?”
Addison Rae is doing music now — I saw she just dropped a single. Would you do a song with her?
Tell her to hit me and we could do something. We’re gonna go up.
You toured with Machine Gun Kelly and Young Thug in 2019. Do you have a memorable story or night with them on tour? Those are two rockstars.
MGK, it’s always been a scene. I went to his show at EST Fest. That s–t was so f–king crazy. We were up until 6 in the morning. Everyone was turnt. I’m like, “Damn, I’m so young and burned out. I need to go back to the hotel.” We were in the middle of f–king nowhere, so we couldn’t call no Ubers or nothing.
Earlier in March, we saw you tweet telling rappers to stop putting guns in their videos. I felt like that was a good message with a lot of artists getting hit with gun charges. It’s a good evolution for you too, going from “Rubbin Off the Paint,” which is a song based around guns.
When I said that, I was really talking on the internet. Not really your music videos, because that’s your craft at the end of the day — but watch how you do it. Make sure you do it in the right way. I kind of slowed down on that, because it downplays a lot of your potential opportunities. You can’t get a lot of the s–t you expect to come with it if you’re always posting guns. You’re a liability to your label and the people that you’re getting deals from. You gotta play it smart and look good with it. Everybody’s a super thug now. There’s singers that are super thug now.
Niggas steady showing guns nigga show some bread!
— YBN NAHMIR (@YBNNahmir) March 7, 2021
Lil Yachty said the easiest thing to be right now is a street rapper.
It’s a trend I guess. It’s just f–ked up right now.
What have some of your recent conversations with YBN Almighty Jay and Cordae been like, and how does it feel to have the group on your back now?
Last time I talked to Jay, I was playing the game with him on the livestream. We don’t really talk about business or life s–t, we just hop on and play. Cordae, we were chopping it up on some real life s–t with everything we got going on. It’s still that brother friendship with both of them. It will never really change and get out of that phase where I don’t love them or they don’t love me. I’m gonna give them advice and they’re gonna give me advice too. Right now, it’s really me doing the music s–t. I got a whole lot of YBN members and they’re waiting for this to pop off. I got a lot of s–t up my sleeve.
During your No Jumper interview, you talked about feeling manipulated by “older people” in your ear. Can you expand on what you meant by that?
Yeah, it was old n—a s–t. If you saw the s–t Jay posted, he wasn’t lying about none of that. It was real life s–t. Yeah, I’m not gonna put nobody under the dirt, but I’ll probably let the people around me get it off so you guys could understand it more. It’s just old n—as.
— March $adness (@LordTreeSap) March 26, 2021
When you look back on YBN, are you happy with the success and what the group accomplished these last few years?
Hell yeah, this is still just the beginning, even if it was just me. Let’s just say I stopped rapping — I’d feel so accomplished with what I did. People try to downplay everybody’s success, and act like they didn’t do s–t, or have a stamp in people’s lives with their music. I feel like our accomplishments were for us and we did it the right way. Cordae played his part right, the people in the background did their shit, and we’re still going.
In the past you’ve touched on your conversations with the late XXXTENTACION. What wisdom did you take from those?
He was tryna tell me to straighten up and start moving right. Keep my s–t straight, and don’t let people know where you stay, or don’t post your car on the internet. He’s on some “go to the water and don’t look back.” He looked out for me in a big brother type of way.
I’d talk to him all the time in the DMs — and I only saw him three times, and he taught me a lot of lessons while he was here. I was listening to his music before we were cool. I never did a song with him. There was a studio in the hotel we were staying at and we were supposed to go down there but I was like, “F–k it.” And then I went to sleep. I had seen him right when I got to my hotel.
How tough is it to have a public relationship when you have people looking to bring you down?
You’re always going to expect it if you’re putting your girl on the Internet. There’s always going to be some bulls–t that people try to feed in and think they know about you. My s–t is straight. I’m in love. We’re cool.
Two years going strong with Sahlt. They say you’re gonna break out a ring soon!
I’ma bring out the baby first. I’m gonna put that baby in her belly.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’m gonna be on Diddy status. Getting hella bread with a big ass mansion in the Hills. I’m gonna f–k around and own a casino or something, like the mafia.