New York rapper Nems speaks to HipHopDX about his upcoming new album with Scram Jones, meeting Travis Scott, his time on Rikers Island and more.
: When you liked with Travis Scott at his Coney Island show, did he know who you were? Nems: I wasnt going to go to the event because I had family over at the house and I was like, Fuck all of this. My man told me to come back because Travis was out there and he wanted to meet me. I was like, Get the fuck out. I was chilling and he came off stage and came up to me and was like, Why is your energy so low? He had big-ass security guards. Then I opened up like, Welcome to Coney Island, fuck your life! Then he started getting hyped. I didnt know it was his first show since his hiatus. He was a genuine mad cool dude. I fuck with him heavy. The fact he came up to me and knew who I was off-rip, I appreciated that. HipHopDX: Its gotta feel good to get that kind of respect from one of the biggest rappers in the world Nems: I been fighting for that my whole career. And especially when its an event in Coney Island. Now they have a couple venues where artists come through. I dont want to say check-in, but when they dont say whats up, thats wack. So that was pretty cool. HipHopDX: When is your project with Scram Jones dropping? Nems: Its coming out mid-September. We changed the name to The Rise of the Silverback . Weve been working on this for a while. We started right before the pandemic and when the pandemic hit, we didnt link for a couple of months. We also wanted to wait it out. We just took our time. Were in the finishing phases of mixing it. I started a preliminary thing where I like to put songs in order and when Im rocking in my truck, I just listen over and over. By the time people hear my album, Im already sick of it. I just did it for the first time the other day. I was like, This is a very fuckin good album. HipHopDX: What is the direction of the project and what features do you have on it? Nems: I started the project right after my two cousins were killed. I wasnt in a place to do music, but I didnt wanna tell Scram, Nah. The beginning was anger and it was an outlet to get my grief and anger out. Now theres different layers with real songs and festival songs that we could do. We got a track with Gunplay, hes always been one of my favorites. I always wondered why he didnt get more love. We got a joint with Uncle Murda and Dave East. We got Fat Joe on it. An incredible singer in Tish Hyman, who Ive known her since we were young and grinding in the early 2000s. The last feature were waiting on is Ghostface . Its all on Ghostface right now. Sheek Louch is on the title track. HipHopDX: How does it feel to re-emerge as an artist and have this moment two decades into your career? Nems: I love it. It reinvigorated me and I feel like a new artist all over again. Its validation for years of hard work. As an artist, you put in that much time in the game and sometimes it gets tiring. You start to question yourself. I knew something was gonna stick eventually having worked that hard for this long. Im loving every day. Its a great feeling. Even with family asking, When you gonna make it? Yo, I just put an album out. Now, the family knows. HipHopDX: Youve nailed it from a branding standpoint too. Speak about how important that is for you. Nems: The music is just an avenue for the rest of the stuff. Music gets people initially interested, but after that unless youre a Drake or Kanye, streaming money is nothing. It cant sustain the living Im accustomed to so you have to be multi-faceted with other hustles. Just the name of my shit goes good on t-shirts, Fuck Your Life. I knew how this was from day one. If youre not wearing your shit, why you think other people would want to? Im the model of this brand. I dont want to make shit that I wouldnt wear myself. HipHopDX: Speak to your relationships with a couple of late NYC Hip Hop legends in Sean Price and DJ Kay Slay. Nems: Sean Price was my actual friend. He was a great person to be around. As an artist, you had to be on your A-game. If you didnt come correct with your bars, he was gonna body you on it. Im from the era where aint nobody bodying me on a song. He would say, When you surround yourself with dope artists, its like steel sharpening steel. He would tell me, When you get on a track, I know I gotta bring my A-game. When I was doing Fight Klub, he was one of the first rappers I got cool with that I grew up listening to. I thought it was the illest shit. Through the years, he became a good friend before he passed. Now, his daughter and all the kids love me. As for Kay Slay, he was the DJ for the artists. He broke a lot of artists. If you were a spitter, he was giving you a shot. There was no politics involved with Kay Slay. If you were putting in work, he was having you on his show to give you his platform. A lot of DJs dont do that; so Kay Slay was super vital to the industry. I hope that other people see what he was doing and try to emulate that. Theres not too many like Kay Slay. He was really for the culture and hes missed. View this post Read more