Polishing off a busy 2018 that boasted his debut album, a collab EP, and a tour with mentor E-40, Vallejo’s Nef The Pharaoh looks to put an exclamation mark on the year with a strong finish. Today, Nef The Pharaoh announces Vice Versa, his upcoming joint EP with ShooterGang Kony, a 17-year-old rising star in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento with an endorsement from Mozzy and rabid viewership on YouTube.
Two of Northern California’s most accomplished young lyricists, Nef and Kony display an easy chemistry throughout Vice Versa, as Nef’s twisting flows and flights of fancy complement Kony’s aggressive, clever, and realistic bars. Spanning six tracks, Vice Versa finds the two emcees dancing above an electro-funk sample on “Sig n a Draky,” asserting their street bonafides on “Where I’m From,” and flexing their lyrical muscles in service of a lush for-the-ladies jam on the EP’s title track.
“The project is called Vice Versa because we from different places, we have different stories, but it’s the same thing,” explains ShooterGang Kony. “On the street level, we’re the same.”
To accompany the announcement of the EP, Nef & Kony share the video for “Ludacris,” a highlight from the tape. Featuring an energetic, lo-fi, HYPEBEAST-premiered video with a star-making cameo from Nef’s son, “Ludacris” finds the two rappers trading bars, tag-teaming a mob instrumental with rock-solid lines: “I remember days I ain’t have it at all/Kony Sherman, I’m a pick him if I’m playin the ball/I’m on that cash rush, hit stick him if he pass rush/N**** bump into me, hit his helmet when the mac bust,” rhymes Kony. Featuring appearances from Sage The Gemini and Raymond McMahon, plus a spoken word cameo from OMB Peezy, Vice Versa EP releases on November 9th via KILFMB / Sick Wid It / EMPIRE.
Explains Kony about “Ludacris,”: “Life always gon be crazy. I live life fast. I basically went straight to Nef’s house to record when I got out of jail. And life is ludicrous. So now you get out of the streets. What do you do? You can never really get away from your past. The system makes sure that you keep tripping up and end up back in the system.”
Breaking through with his self-titled 2015 EP and its hit single “Big Tymin‘,” the 23-year-old Nef The Pharaoh quickly established himself as one of the most unique and popular emcees in the Bay. Signed to E-40’s Sick Wid It Records, the charismatic emcee is a fixture on regional radio, releasing an acclaimed collaborative EP with Cardo Got Wingz (Kendrick Lamar, Drake) in 2016 and hitting in 2017 with the single “Bling Blaow,” which features Slimmy B of SOB x RBE.
In April 2018, Nef shared his debut album The Big Chang Theory, which earned praise from Noisey, who raved “it’s a joyous, melodic project with the old school, timeless feel we’ve come to expect from Nef the Pharaoh. Do yourself a favor and play this in a car as soon as physically possible,” and Pitchfork, who said “Nef is the rare rapper who whose music feels free—free of narrative cohesion, outside interference, or any sense of pressure.” This summer, Nef shared Porter2Grape, an action-packed 5-track collaborative EP with L.A. rapper 03 Greedo. The blistering EP, with the single “Ball Out,” featuring ALLBLACK, and the Pitchfork Best New Track “Blow-Up Bed,“ is currently available for stream and purchase via EMPIRE.