YBN Nahmir's "Rubbin Off the Paint" – terse, disdainful and hook-less – has amassed 43 million views on YouTube and an additional 27 million streams on SoundCloud in just two months. As a result, the 17-year-old rapper from Birmingham, Alabama has been promoted to some of Spotify's coveted rap playlists, including Most Necessary and Rap Caviar, though he has only four songs (less than 10 minutes of music total) available on the platform. Nahmir lives in Alabama, but he's uninterested in the local lineage of southern hip-hop. "People still sound like Lil Boosie and Webbie – I fuck with Boosie, but the new niggas that try to sound just like him and Gucci Mane, that's played out," he says. "Make your own shit." Friends who moved from Oakland and Vallejo to Alabama introduced Nahmir to E-40 and Snoop Dogg. "The Bay, they got their own sound, they don't try to be like nobody," he says approvingly. "They smooth out there."
He began recording his own raps as a teenager and gauging the response on YouTube, Facebook and eventually SoundCloud. When he saw the excitement around "Rubbin Off the Paint" he decided to shoot his first music video for $150. Chris Brown soon complemented the track on Instagram and Vince Staples paid tribute by releasing his own remix. "I sound like a little nigga, but older niggas can relate to my shit," Nahmir says.
He Says: Nahmir was frustrated the day he recorded "Rubbin' Off the Paint"; the track gave him a chance to sound off. "I was speaking on how I was feeling that day: My brother had just got locked up again for a pistol, I was in a beef with some nigga right around the corner from my house," he explains. "It was a bunch of shit going on. I just put it into a song. … I got 4,000, 5,000 views in like a night. I usually get that in a week and a half. I was like, bruh, we need to record a video for this. Everyone was messaging me like, 'Yo, "Rubbin Off the Paint" goes hard.' Everybody in school knew it. The teachers know my song."
Hear for Yourself: On "Rubbin Off the Paint," Nahmir fires off a series of gruff, threatening couplets over a battering loop Elias Leight