Who is Nardo Wick?
The rapper appeared seemingly out of nowhere in early 2021 and quickly established himself as a rising star in the Jacksonville scene; his debut album, Who Is Nardo Wick?, pares down the gritty drill music of his hometown to its most menacing, minimalist essence, with hooks so bite-sized and mantralike they could be the work of a haiku poet who chose violence. Nardo raps the blustery hook of his breakout hit, “Who Want Smoke??,” as if through perpetually gritted teeth, his icy tone reminiscent of a Floridian 21 Savage. Features from Future, Lil Baby, and Lil Durk lend the newcomer some star power, but he holds down the album’s highlight himself—“Wicked Freestyle,” with its eerie sample of a children’s chorus: “They hate how we walk, how we talk, how we move/Said we’re lost and frustrated/But believe it or not, we’re the next up on top/We’re the youth of the nation.” (Oh, and the majority of the project was recorded and engineered at home by Nardo’s dad.)