Nardo Wick has come a long way in the last year. After dropping “Who Want Smoke?” at the top of 2021, the song was remixed by 21 Savage, G Herbo and Lil Durk in October, giving way to the Jacksonville rapper’s first Hot 100 placement. The track was ultimately certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), firmly putting the 20-year-old on the map.

But another viral video threatened to damage his reputation earlier this week. During an interview with the Big Facts Podcast, Wick talked about his illicit past and was accused of glamorizing crime. On Thursday (December 30), Wick clarified his statements and denied he was doing anything of the sort.

“I’m not tryna influence nobody to go rob nobody, they asked a question about MY PAST and I answered it,” he wrote. “That’s what I was doing when I was 15-16 years old, a product of my environment. My mama had just came home from prison and it was a hard time for us and we ain’t having nothing. I would never tell or try to convince a young Black man or anyone period to crash out!

“I changed my life and started taking rapping serious because I knew that I wouldn’t make it if I kept doing what I was doing. There is nothing wrong with a job, robbing ain’t cool at all and I ain’t try to make it seem cool. I was speaking on past events, what I was doing young and dumb. I changed for the better and learned from my mistakes. Y’all stay focused and chase y’all dreams.”

Nardo Wick faced controversy in November because of the “Who Want Smoke?” single. Over 50 students at West Creek High School in Clarksville, Tennessee were suspended on November 21 for participating in a TikTok challenge that went viral.  The video, which required the students to use their phones to simulate a gun, included “Who Want Smoke?”

According to Clarksville Now, 17-year-old sophomore Christian Williams came up with the idea.

“I was at school and I was on my phone just going through random Instagram stories,” Williams explained. “I saw the trend on someone’s page and I’m like, ‘Oh, we need to do this, we need to do this. We could probably go viral for this.’”

Over 50 High School Students Suspended Over Nardo Wick 'Who Want Smoke' TikTok Challenge

Wick released his debut album, Who Is Nardo Wick?, on December 3 with features from Future, Lil Baby, Hit-Boy, G Herbo, Lil Durk, 21 Savage, Lakeyah and Big30. The project peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200, a significant placement for a rapper who only started his career a year ago.

Check out his original comments below.