Last fall, Birmingham, Ala.’s own YBN Nahmir left a major impression on the world of hip-hop when he delivered “Rubbin Off the Paint,” a track that takes listeners on a relaxed cruise around the block as the 18-year-old rapper acts as tour guide. Now, Nahmir, who recently joined the 2018 XXL Freshman Class, uses the same approach for his 2018 XXL Freshman freestyle.

Freed from the constraints of a beat—which never really restrains him any way—Nahmir uses this a cappella freestyle to talk directly to whoever is listening. Over the course of a minute, the teenage rhymer makes a series of straightforward but emphatic statements about coming up without a father, living a life of poverty and adapting to the ways of the street.

Eschewing the romanticism typically attached to street rap, Nahmir leaves colorful language and fantastical punchlines out of this affair. Using his decisive rap voice, the rapper, whose fans have cried after meeting him in person, calls it exactly how he sees it.

“I ain’t never had no dad, never had no pops/I was always on that block, clutching on that Glock/Only way you leave the gang is if it’s in a box,” he raps early on in his verse, which acts as a sort of mission statement for the young MC.

Elsewhere in the verse, Nahmir begins to take listeners from the past to the present, letting you know what he’s done to get where he is now. “But now I’m up, and I’ma stay up and get the paper/Had to get my money up, rocking with the stainless,” he continues toward the middle of his freestyle.

Having spit about the finality of gang life and the measures he takes to elevate himself and others, Nahmir also spits about the importance of loyalty: “Stitched lips, be quiet don’t say shit/Stick together, that’s how my lil’ niggas made it.”

Watch YBN Nahmir put in work in his 2018 XXL Freshman freestyle below.

See Behind the Scenes Photos of YBN Nahmir at the 2018 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot


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