Nef the Pharaoh (born January 11, 1995) is an American rapper from Vallejo, California. He went to Inderkum High School in Sacramento,California. He mostly collaborated with fellow hip hop artist E-40. In 2014 he was selected by fans as the "Bay Area Freshman of the Year" in a yearly contest held by Thizzler.com. In early 2015, his track "Big Tymin'" became a regional hit, with a music video released shortly after Nef the Pharaoh signed with Sick Wid It Records. "Big Tymin'" was remixed by YG and Ty Dolla $ign in July 2015, and his self-titled debut EP was released on Sick Wid It on November 6, 2015. He has performed live on radio stations such as KMEL-FM and Power 106, and is currently working on a full-length debut album titled My Great Impression, too.
Tonee Hayes was born in 1995 in Vallejo, California. He was rapping by the age of four, which led to him winning a talent contest around that time and being featured on the cover of the Vallejo Times-Herald. Hayes has cited Vallejo rappers like Mac Dre and E-40 as significant influences on his style, as well as inspiration to pursue rap as a career. He was given the nickname Nef (short for nephew) from his uncle, which he incorporated into part of his stage name. When his grandmother died in 2009, he stepped away from music for a time. However, he states he soon began using music as a form of therapy. He then moved to Sacramento, California. When he wasn't working on his rap game, he was trained on the aspects of Cutco Kitchen supplies and made extra cash on the side by selling those supplies to the greater Sacramento area.
Starting his music career as an "internet freestyler," in 2014 Nef the Pharaoh had what Vice Media referred to as a "local hit" with the single "Bitch I'm From Vallejo." In 2014, E-40 contacted Hayes about an album feature, and Nef the Pharaoh was subsequently featured on E-40's Sharp On All 4 Corners album. In 2014 he was selected by fans as the "Bay Area Freshman of the Year" held by Thizzler.com. Early in 2015 he performed at the last held "Bay Area Freshman" concert. Before January 2015, his single "I'm From Vallejo" was remixed with features from E-40 and Willie Joe of Vallejo. As of January 2015, Nef the Pharaoh was working on his new album.
"Big Tymin'" (2015)
In July 2015 Nef the Pharaoh released his track "Big Tymin'," which has lyrics "honoring Birdman and Mannie Fresh" of Cash Money. The song is "an homage to New Orleans bounce music."
"Nef's other records suggest a more pertinent rap influence is the languid precision of Mac Dre — while the mood has the reassuring warmth of a springtime sunbeam. This spirit perfectly captures the whimsical goofiness of the Big Tymers. Built on the slumping Bay Area rhythmic template popularized by DJ Mustard, Nef dodges the derivative; as a rapper, he lets the energy lead and the bars follow, boasting and flexing with the kinds of memorable banalities...that make up some of hip-hop's best yet least-celebrated moments. Everything about the record suggests tossed-off effervescence, its formal components underlining its unpretentious messaging."
Pitchfork called "Big Tymin'" a "local hit," writing "its lyrics are loosely structured and almost free-associative." Complex Magazine wrote in May 2015 that "Big Tymin'" is "a Bay-style tribute to classic Cash Money... compared with Bankroll Fresh, whose 'Hot Boy' flipped a similar trick, 'Big Tymin" is bright, upbeat fun—much closer in spirit to its inspiration than the ATLien's dour repetition." The Vice Media site Noisey wrote about the track that "with 'Big Tymin',' he has another clap on his hands. Paying homage to Cash Money's Big Tymers, Nef goes in on a minimal beat...."
Remixes and performances (2015)
The music websites Noisey and Thizzler on the Roof included "Big Tymin'" on their On the Roof Vol. 2: Mob Forever, dedicated to The Jacka in May 2015. After "Big Tymin" had become known regionally, Nef the Pharaoh signed with E-40's Sick Wid It label in early 2015, and they re-released the track. "Big Tymin'" was remixed by YG and Ty Dolla $ign in July 2015, with the remix premiering on sites such as Hotnewhiphop.com on July 25 and RapUp.com.
In October 2015, Nef the Pharaoh freestyled live on the radio station Power 106, and he has also performed live on KMEL-FM. His self-titled debut EP was released on Sick Wid It on November 6, 2015.Complex was one of the websites to stream the EP live and give it a positive review, with HipHopDX also streaming it. He performed a release show in downtown Oakland for the EP. As of 2015, he was working on a collection of pre-rolled joints to sell at Bay Area cannabis clubs, with plans to launch an apparel line and his own music label KILFMB. He continues working on his debut album, My Great Impression.
Hayes' first son was born in 2014. He has 2 younger brothers.