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Buddy Grows Up a Friend to All

Since Pharrell gave Buddy his break, the young rapper has been on a collaborative streak

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    When Simmie Sims III was just 15 years old, Pharrell Williams gave him his big break. Since then, Sims has collaborated with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Nipsey Hussle and Wiz Khalifa to A$AP Rocky.

    Known better by his stage name Buddy, Sims has a knack for being in the right place at the right time with just the right people.

    "It was pretty cool. Jermaine Dupri [Mariah Carey, Usher, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Migos] wanted to sign me too. At the time, I could go to ATL [Atlanta] and meet Jermaine or meet Pharrell in LA," Sims told me over the phone last month.

    Considering Sims is from Compton, it made more sense for him to just stay in Los Angeles. So he did.

    "I was just like, 'What’s good?' and showed him [Williams] my songs," he said.

    Soon after that, the collaborations began.

    "Pharrell was working with TDE [Top Dawg Entertainment] and he introduced me.... Pharrell said, 'Yo Kendrick, hop on this track,' and he [Lamar] just started rapping," he added.

    And just like that, "Staircases," featuring a guest appearance by Lamar and production by Williams, was born -- three years before Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" became a contemporary hip-hop classic and two years before Sims could legally drink alcohol.

    More recently, Sims has collaborated with Wiz Khalifa on "Type of Shit" and with A$AP Ferg on "Black."

    "After A$AP Yams died, the rest of the crew reached out. Me and A$AP Ferg are still hanging out ... just a bunch of homies," Sims said.

    On May 3, Buddy will perform at SOMA with Joey Bada$$, with whom he's also become close.

    "I see him at parties.... We just be having a good old time. We was at Diddy’s house on New Year’s, and we were super turnt. I snuck in at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning and then he kicked me out. He told his security, 'Anybody without a tux, they gotta get out.' Joey tried to press the security guard like, 'No, he good, he good.' That’s my n----; they wasn’t havin’ it though, 'cause I was wearing a crew neck," Sims said.

    Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been an Associate Editor at NBC SoundDiego since 2016. He is an avid creator, communicator and purveyor of bad jokes. Find out more here, or contact him here.