NEM$: «That’s why they call me the “Mayor” of Coney Island, N.Y.C!»
We had a quick Q&A with the MC from Coney Island (New York City), Gorilla Nem$, fresh from the release of his latest album, “CONGO”. He told us how he earned the nickname of “mayor” from his hood, how he achieved success after hitting the bottom, about his best works and much more…
Peace Nem$, thanks for your time and availability to answer our questions. We really appreciate that. First of all we would like to ask you about the place where you come from: Coney Island, Brooklyn – New York. In fact, from what we see, you are considered like a sort of hood “star” or, rather, like the Coney Island’s “Mayor”, as you’re also called… In your opinion, what are the main differences between Coney Island and other areas of New York?
NEM$: “Coney Island is known all around the world for being the world’s first amusement park but it’s also one of the grimiest parts of Brooklyn.
What separates us from the rest of NYC is that it’s beachfront property haha!
I grew up my whole life in the projects up the block from the beach, it’s a different perspective and it’s also at the bottom of Brooklyn, it’s really like its own world.
How did the popularity and respect that you have in your neighborhood come about? And what about your nickname “Mayor” of Coney Island?
NEM$: “They call me the MAYOR because I know everybody, everybody knows me, and wherever I go the first thing I scream out is CONEY ISLAND”.
I represent that everywhere I go…. and also people from Coney Island saw me at my worst. When I was homeless, doing robberies, doing drugs, at the bottom and they saw me pick myself up and become a success.
Can you tell us more about your journey as an MC from the moment you first approached rap music to when you made a name for yourself with rap battles? How did your transition from battle rapper to making Rap albums come about?
NEM$: “I started off watching the kids in my high school battle each other and then started writing raps and battling. Got my name known from doing that and then kept making music and growing as an artist. I always was making songs even before I was battling, so it wasn’t really a transition. I just used the battle rap platform to get my name out there faster than if I was just putting out songs”.
Which are your first works that you are most proud of and which are most significant to you and why?
NEM$: “Prezident’s Day is my first official album so that’s special to me. I have a bunch of projects and mixtapes but I’d have to say Gorilla Monsoon is what really started pushing my career to the next level and now Congo has taken off great”.
Recently, you released the album “Congo”, a project where you demonstrate your versatility both in terms of topics and sounds. How was this album born and what does this album mean to you? What about the album title: “Congo”?
NEM$: “Congo came out of nowhere literally. My next project was supposed to be BEAST MUSIC fully produced by Scram Jones. That got held up a little bit, but I wanted to release an album this summer, so I started writing like crazy and basically did the whole album in 3 weeks.
Every project I want to show growth and pick up where the last album ended and my last 2 projects were collabs, Gorilla Monsoon was with one producer, Jazzsoon, and Gorilla Twins was with Ill Bill so this was the first project I worked on in a while where it was all what I wanted to do, no compromise so I just made music that I wanted to listen to…
Last year you linked up with the legendary Ill Bill for the “Gorilla Twins” project. How did this connection and album come about?
NEM$: “That started with one song I had him featured on and when we were done with that song we were like “yo lets do a whole project together” and we banged out that Gorilla Twins album”.
Usually, what is your approach and your artistic process when you have to record an album? Do you write a lot, before, or do you think your rhymes on the spot? What are you looking for in a beat before picking it?
NEM$: “I go thru beats and whatever stands out to me, I just ride around with for a few weeks in the truck and let the lyrics come to me. I dont force or rush shit. I let it come to me naturally and take it from there”.
In your growth as an artist and as a person, who or what inspired you the most?
NEM$: “Life inspired me…When I feel like I need to write I just go out and live life. Go thru different feelings, different emotions, different energies and that inspires me”.
What do you think of this kind of return of a general public interest towards street lyricism and a more “classic” New York Hip Hop sound?
NEM$: “I mean this is what I’ve been doing since the early 2000s. I never switch up. I just did exactly what I wanted and now people gotta play catch up”.
What can we expect next from you this year?
NEM$: “Greatness. “Fuck Your Lyfe”. Go cop some merch too. WWW.FYL.NYC”