Credit: Jabari Jacobs
by Paul Attard Music What Would Meek Do?

YBN Nahmir | Visionland

April 8, 2021

Visionland does nothing to disabuse all the clowning and dunking on that has been directed at Nahmir — it’s DOA.

For about a week now, a social media massacre has taken place: YBN Nahmir — whose once budding career was deemed long over until a nearly two-year-old freestyle of his became a huge hit on TikTok — has been mercilessly clowned on for both the perceived quality of his recent output and flopping harder than the piggie who jumped off a 12-story building thinking he could fly. Just quickly browse through any one of Nahmir’s tracks from the past year or so on YouTube, and you’ll be immediately bombarded with trash can and clown emojis, and the occasional sardonic judgment to add salt to the wound. (On “Pop Like This,” which only got 7k views in two hours, most comments rechristen the track to “Flop Like This.”) He, like many other young SoundCloud rappers who blew up in 2017, is now forced to come to terms with the fact that his time at the top has ended; “Rubbin Off the Paint,” a catchy, vibrant tune, came out four years ago, in a completely different media environment, one that’s now rewarding authenticity (Pooh Sheisty, NBA Youngboy, and Lil Durk) over pure cap spun by a kid who still wears braces and got famous for spitting bars in a chatroom while playing GTA.

So Nahmir’s tale is a cautionary one, and the release of his debut album Visionland is being proclaimed as the final nail in his coffin; even someone like Lil Yachty, who’s been struggling with commercial viability for the past half-decade or so and preaches positivity, has himself taken part in the schadenfreude. However, most of this negative feedback is being pointed in one direction: “Soul Train,” which is currently rocking a staggering 133k dislikes to 14k likes on YouTube. It’s Nahmir’s self-described “simp song,” and has him singing in auto-tune over some nondescript, poorly-mixed soul instrumental and repeating lines like “I gotta stay focused” eight times in the span of 10 seconds; it’s as flagrantly embarrassing as advertised, not helped at all by the fact that Nahmir’s vocal abilities are in the same talent range as IceJJFish.

But that’s only one track of the 20 that comprise Visionland, and it would be dismissive to write off the whole project on the basis of one massive blemish. Truth be told though, this is one of the more memorable tracks that Nahmir has assembled for the album, albeit due to how ridiculous the results are — which has to be the biggest backhanded compliment one could muster for something like this. The other is “Wake Up,” which reuses a Minecraft melody and has a chorus built around the phrase “wake up get my dick sucked,” and is pretty funny once you get past how deeply stupid the ordeal is. Prime cuts like “Regardless” and “Get it Crackin” are dexterous enough and find inventive ways to best utilize their talent’s vacillating delivery and high-pitched cadence, but are sloppily structured and feature some rather colorless production. “Belgium” tries its hand at some slowed-down, hyphy-styled storytelling, and feels like one of the few songs here where there was something resembling a gameplan going in.

Everything else — specifically the run from “Fast Car Music” to “WooWAM” — is about as faceless as contemporary trap gets: limited lyrical ideas (getting head and hating the opps, with references to a “pocket rocket” on three separate occasions); big-money features (G-Eazy and Offset on “2 Seater,” bored out of their minds; G Herbo and SOB x RBE’s cagey DaBoii on “Politics,” are a little more engaged); and cheap beats that sound like they were purchased from Airbit (“Make A Wish”). A clear E-40 influence can be heard in Nahmir’s intonations and timbre throughout (the Bay legend even makes an appearance at one point), but missing here is any sense of vitality or passion in his voice; he comes off as content with doing the bare minimum, and if that’s sadly the case, then Twitter might be right. Somebody, please call the coroner, because this shit is dead on arrival.

Published as part of Album Roundup — March 2021 | Part 2.