Gorilla Nems Interview: NYC sensation is so much more than ‘Bing Bong’

“The definition of success is doing what you want on your terms, and making a living out of it.”

Hailing from the streets of Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, viral sensation Gorilla Nems is a fighter in every facet of his life.

Getting his start going bar-for-bar with some of hip-hop’s most vicious spitters on MTV’s Fight Klub – where he was the all-time champion holding the most wins in the show’s history – Nems’ road to rap acclaim was far from easy. Between his career as a battle rapper and now as an artist and comedian, Nems fought through adversity by taking it off the chin and rising from the canvas. Battling a grueling drug addiction, as well as homelessness and multiple stints in jail and rehab, the NYC emcee refused to let his vices get the best of him – going on to become one of the social media era’s most recognizable characters.

“I was just on a path of self destruction. From November 3, 2009, I stopped drinking, I don’t smoke weed, I don’t do anything. I just focused on achieving my dreams and creating a life that was worth living.”

Nems to Our Generation Music

His now irreplaceable catchphrase “Bing Bong” – which went viral on TikTok this past year – has not only “opened doors” for the persistent trendsetter, but has allowed him to build a brand beyond his comedy and music. His partnership with the online video series “Side Talk NYC” and brand ‘FYL’ — which has earned over $1 million since its launch in 2020 — has allowed Nems to fully showcase his kind heart and empathy for others.

“Bing Bong opened doors to major markets and basically shined a light on me where it got me to this point. One day, I was f–king around, I was like, ‘Bing Bong here’s the new sh*t this week’ and people started laughing. Then I kept saying it, all my friends were saying it, then the whole Coney Island was saying it. By that time when SideTalk came, I said it in an episode with them and it just took off.”

Nems to OGM

Always ending each quick street conversation by saying “Bing Bong,” it quickly caught the attention of Lil Nas X, who went on to make his own video with the catchphrase. With other celebrities such as Olivia Rodrigo, Jack Harlow, Avril Lavigne and more all hopping on the trend, the “Bing Bong” rapper’s hashtag has now surpassed over 1 Billion views and counting on TikTok.

However, the man behind the popular sound’s story does not start or end with “Bing Bong.” While his content is comical in nature, Nems prides himself on being genuine, authentic and a “true New Yorker.” Referencing his viral video with TJ – a homeless man who coined the internet’s “Joe Biden, take me out to dinner” line – Nems felt a moral obligation to help him in his time of need. Homeless before himself, Nems’ kind heart guided him to create a GoFundMe for TJ, which accumulated over $30,000 that later helped him rent an apartment in the Bronx and make headway on his sobriety.

Within these relationships, Nems is never a stranger – keeping in contact with his day one supporters and past interviewees alike. Buying a house for his mother — which he says is his life’s greatest achievement — Nems’ selflessness and authenticity is what makes his’ journey so special, as he asserts that he never has chased clout or fame, but got to this position by being unapologetically himself.

“People call it comedy and content, but this is just me on a regular basis. I haven’t switched up or tried to be anything that I’m not. The sh– that you see on camera is the sh– that I do when I’m not on camera.”

Nems to OGM

Inspired by the likes “The Bigs” (Big L, Big Pun, Notorious B.I.G.) and others initially drove him to making music, where he blossomed in the underground scene with projects like 2015’s Planet of the Apes and 2020’s Gorilla Twins with ILL Bill. Saying he “came up in the golden era” of hip-hop, Nems is truly “a student of the game,” inspired by JAY-Z, Nas, Sauce Money and “the real legends of NYC.”

Following his position as The Crew League’s Season 3 host, Nems released a mixtape titled “Bing Kong” (March 18) which features a slew of remixes to his viral hit “Bing Bong” – with the most notable track featuring Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Styles P. His latest full-length project Congo (2021) sees the Coney Island lyricist show his true colors as an undeniable presence on each track – wearing both his heart and inspirations on his sleeve.

Also appearing on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out on March 30-31, the sky is truly the limit for what Nems can achieve — further stamping himself as a cultural icon. Coinciding with his on-camera charisma and discography, Nems is still humble as ever — finally seeing the fruits of his labor after years of working towards his goals.

“I’m just a regular guy,” he said. “I’m no different than anybody that knows about my videos, I’m not better than or less than. I’m just a regular dude that just refused to give up on his dreams and goals.”

Looking forward, Nems plans on dropping an upcoming album titled Beast Music, where he will collaborate with legendary producer Scram Jones — famed for his work with Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., The LOX and more. Nems says the album will be one of his best sonically, as he hopes to continue improving and elevating as an artist. With more eyes on his music than ever before, his veteran status is coupled with his genuine personality and sentiment to break through and “stay hot.”

“In the next five to 10 years, I’m gonna be on top of the game even more. Right now I’m hot, the goal is to keep it this way and stay hot. I’m not trying to fizzle out, I’m not a one hit wonder… I’m better than a lot the majority of the game like when it just comes to just spittin’.”

Nems to OGM

Ultimately, Nems’ intentions are pure and he knows what it’s like to be in tough circumstances — always striving to make a positive impact on others because of them. Whether it be through his clothing brand, his comedy, his music or any other endeavor he pursues, he just wants to keep people smiling at the end of the day: “I hope I put a smile on people’s faces, even when they are going through [tough times].”

Check out Nems’ remix tape ‘Bing Kong’ below!

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