Nudy Land

Nudy Land

For a rapper so supremely laid-back, Young Nudy wastes little time on Nudy Land before overwhelming the listener with sheer style. Barely a minute into “Judge Scott Convicted,” the opening song from this 2017 mixtape, the Atlanta rapper is not only offering a detailed account of the poverty in which he grew up, but is doing so in a lilting, melodic pattern that might as well serve as the hook on a radio hit. All of this is presented as being so spontaneous—the verse could at first be mistaken for an ad-libbed preamble—that the listener is left with no recourse but the rewind button. Throughout Nudy Land, Nudy attacks beats by Pi’erre Bourne, who was at the time of this record’s release still just a budding superproducer, and a handful of other close collaborators with a similar blend of economical writing and unassuming affect. The delirious “Hell Shell,” which became the project’s breakout hit, plays like a two-and-a-half-minute lucid dream, a fog of excited mutterings and their echoes that together triangulate the song’s thesis. On first listen, songs like “Hell Shell” sound like the reference vocals other rappers might lay over a beat when they first hear it, to remember ideas for flows and cadences to be filled in with lyrics later; on closer inspection, Nudy’s versions are smartly considered from the jump. Inventive as this approach is, Nudy also shows clear signs of hailing from celebrated Atlanta lineages. The thunderous “4L Gang Shit” might as well be lifted from a prime Gucci Mane mixtape for the supreme confidence—and supreme menace—it wields while also reveling in intricate language games. And speaking of Atlanta, the features on Nudy Land confirm a runaway career momentum: Offset, whose famous “Bad and Boujee” hook is alluded to on “Hell Shell,” contributes his signature staccato to “Cancer Stick No Pressure,” while Lil Yachty drops by for the contemplative closer “No Clue.” These two poles of Nudy’s hometown—the hyperfocused technician and the genre-bending experimenter—are as clear signposts as any for finding a map to Nudy Land.

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