by Jason Hewitt
[originally published spring 2020]
2020 has been a solid year for rap music so far, and East Atlanta rapper Young Nudy is the latest artist to add fuel to that fire. Nudy surprised hip-hop fans everywhere with the impromptu release of his Anyways mixtape. For those who need a very brief introduction to Young Nudy, imagine the grittiest and grimiest sounding Atlanta street rapper you can think of. His music is not dissimilar to that of 21 Savage and Gucci Mane. After releasing two highly successful projects last year (Sli’merre and Faded in the Booth), Nudy returned with Anyways, which has also received critical acclaim. Consistent is the best adjective to describe Nudy, as he has dropped at least one project per year for the past seven years, dating back to his first mixtape, Paradise City.
The critically acclaimed rapper is credited with being one of the first successful artists to work with producer Pi’erre Bourne. That “Hey Pi’erre, you wanna come out here” guy who gets shouted out before you hear the booming bass on the smash hit “Magnolia” by Playboi Carti? Yeah, that’s him. Nudy and Pi’erre have been an impressive tag team to say the least, creating many Atlanta ballads for fans to turn up to for the past few years, from “EA” (feat. 21 Savage) to “Extendo” (feat. Lil Uzi Vert).
However, Nudy felt the need to switch it up for his new Anyways mixtape. Pi’erre Bourne’s services were seemingly not requested, as most of the beats for this mixtape came from up-and-coming producers. While this is just a mixtape, it’s long, sporting around an hour’s worth of bars and beats. The production may not have been Bourne’s signature sound, but it was still very pleasing to the ear. Tracks like “Blue Cheese Salad'' and “Marathon” automatically give listeners the same “stank face” they would have if Pi’erre had made the tracks.
Speaking of songs that give people stank faces, that’s exactly what the entire mixtape provides. Nudy raps over airy trap beats from the first track to the last one, with no skips in between! This is a monumental feat, especially in this day and age, and especially in Nudy’s lane of music. With all the trap artists on the scene right now, it may be difficult for artists to maintain their own personal sound. The challenge is even greater for Nudy, since his main producer, Pi’erre Bourne, is gaining more traction. While the attention is fantastic for his career and popularity, Bourne’s success makes it more difficult for Nudy to maintain a unique sound. This is because Bourne’s beats are that recognizable to the ear. When hip-hop fans used to listen to Pi’erre beats, they automatically used to think of Nudy. However, this changed with the producer’s success with artists like Playboi Carti, who are more mainstream.
Another potential source of adversity for Nudy is the fact that so many artists use the Atlanta trap sound to their advantage (Future, Migos, 21 Savage, etc.). Despite this seemingly inevitable consequence of Atlanta hip-hop being exported to the rest of the world, Nudy always finds a way to sound authentic, and that continues to shine in his latest Anyways mixtape.
One of the biggest reasons for this is his distinctive voice and cadence. There isn’t a single artist who sounds like Young Nudy. As soon as you hear his scratchy, menacing voice, you automatically know that it’s Nudy. Adding a dainty, floating trap beat under his snarl offers just the right amount of relief and comfort to match his grime, and the combination just feels right for the East Atlanta rapper every time. On Anyways, Nudy raps over beats from producers that were unknown to the world prior to the mixtape dropping, and all of them slap. This is a credit to both the producers’ incredible work and Nudy’s high-quality ear for music. With Nudy seemingly in the middle of an incredible run, it’ll be exciting to see what he adds to what is turning into a legendary catalog of music next.