Never Follow Trends sits down with Nems, owner of the FUCK YOUR LYFE brand. Nems is a well-known MC in the hip-hop circuit. Self proclaimed "Mayor of Coney Island", and a licensed "gunther-hunter". Let's get to know him...
1. Where were you born and raised? Coney Island, Brooklyn
2. You've been all over the world performing, what made you start writing, and what was the moment that helped your career take off? I've always rapped as long as I can remember. What made me start writing was, I got a superintendent suspension in high school which basically meant I couldn't go to any NYC public high school. My moms ain't have the bread to put me in private school, so they sent me to stay with my grandparents in the Poconos so I could go to school. I ain't know anybody, so I would just go home after school and have nothing to do, so I started writing my raps down. There were kids battling at the school everyday, I picked out the best kid that rapped and took mental notes on him the whole year. On the last day of school I told him "yeah, I rap. I'll battle you right now." I had mad material on him, so I finished him, and had everybody going crazy. I loved that energy, so I just continued writing and the rest is history.
3. Graffiti, Hip-Hop, and fashion have all been part of the culture since day one, when did you start tagging? As soon as I was able to write I've been tagging. My uncle used to teach me how to do bubble letters when I was mad young and I always loved seeing my name up. I was never really super nice at doing pieces and shit like that so I used graffiti as a promotional tool for my rap. That's why my tag is very legible, like it's just straight letters, as big as possible so you can read it and know I was there. N E M S !!
4. When did clothing become a part of the FYL brand? From the beginning. I like to wear shit nobody got, shit that stands out, shit that makes a statement. When we first started FYL in 1999-2000, I was getting airbrushed shirts made and jerseys for shows, just original shit I knew people would notice.
5. Who were the innovators and trendsetters you respected back in the day coming up? I can't really think of individual people who inspired me. I think the early 2000's were the start of streetwear brands that were really marketed to the hip-hop culture. I think Ecko, Phat Farm, Mecca, and other similar brands are what kinda inspired me.
6. Where did the name "Fuck Your Lyfe" originate from? Basically it's like, if you're not with us, you're against us, and if you're against us, then Fuck everything you stand for. Fuck everything you represent. FUCK YOUR LYFE.
7. Favorite sports teams? I really only fuck with Football and MMA. Those are the two sports that can make me sit in the crib by myself on a Saturday or Sunday night and be content. But I fuck with the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers, basically New York.
8. Favorite musicians? Big Pun, Wu-Tang...I listen to all types of music tho, like I draw inspiration from everywhere. Red Hot Chili Peppers, to System Of A Down, to Luther Vandross. Inspiration can come from anywhere, I try not to box myself into one genre.
9. One person in the world, living or deceased, that you could have 15 minutes to sit down with and pick their brain, who would it be? My father. He passed away when I was 4, so I'd definitely like to have more time with him.
10. Where do you see the FYL brand in the next 5 years? I see FYL continuing to be at the forefront of originality, and continuing to be authentic with a few stores in a couple different cities.
11. What's the biggest piece of advice you can give a small business owner who's building their brand from the ground up? Consistency is key. Keep an open mind.
Thank you to Nems. A good dude, with vicious bars, and a really unique brand. You can follow Nems online, or you can just go to Coney Island, and trust me, you will see him in the streets with work in his hand, Fuck Your Lyfe!