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.
Born and raised in Birmingham Alabama, YBN Nahmir was Nick Simmons before he founded the YBN crew in 2014. Simmons' own music and the YBN collective both grew out of a community of teenaged online gamers, and Simmons' fan base initially formed around his presence as a gamer that sometimes included him freestyling during games of Grand Theft Auto. Eventually, he developed his exuberant and combative style — one inspired by major Bay Area figures such as E-40 and Mozzy — and started uploading tracks to social media platforms. Things broke wide open for Nahmir with his 2017 single "Rubbin Off the Paint." In less than a month the song's video had been viewed over 20 million times and by the end of the year it had hit the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 46. Vince Staples took note of the song and issued his own remix version, furthering Nahmir's already viral visibility. New singles followed quickly, tracks like "I Got a Stick," "No Hook," and "Bail Out" all doing numbers but the brief and confrontational "Bounce Out with That" was the strongest follow-up to his initial hit, reaching the Billboard charts and being streamed hundreds of millions of times. In April of 2018, he inked a deal with Atlantic Records and in the fall of that year released YBN: The Mixtape with the other members of the collective. The release proved as successful as their respective singles and included guest spots from Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Cuban Doll, and other established stars. ~ Andy Kellman & Fred Thomas