Young Nudy - Gumbo Music Album Reviews

Young Nudy - Gumbo Music Album Reviews
The East Atlanta rapper’s latest project is full of whimsical beats and DatPiff-era nostalgia. It proves you don’t need shiny pop hooks to make a thrilling rap record in 2023.

Young Nudy is known for his appetite: He is a consummate foodie and perpetual victim of the munchies who has become something like the MF DOOM of East Atlanta. To satiate the appetite of his devoted followers—who hungrily await the release of culinary-themed joints like “Loaded Baked Potato,” “Sunflower Seeds,” and “Blue Cheese Salad”—Nudy has served up a 13-course meal, also known as his new project Gumbo. Every track hits a different vector of the food pyramid: “Brussel Sprout” and “Okra” for your daily serving of greens, “McChicken” or “Fish & Chips” for lunch, and a slice of “Passion Fruit” to cleanse the palate. 

The loose concept shows how Nudy’s projects have tightened over time. Though his mixtapes have rarely ever ventured over an hour, each release brings increased cohesion and focus, with more care given to the sequencing of the tracklist. Gumbo plays like a fraternal twin to last year’s EA Monster, down to the similar slime-green and red color schemes of their cover art. Nudy offers a funhouse distortion of the late 2000s DatPiff era, manifesting himself as the flesh-and-blood version of the mixtape covers where Gucci Mane was photoshopped onto Buzz Lightyear, or depicted devouring pancakes. 

In a 2019 interview, Nudy self-effacingly remarked that he picks “all the beats motherfuckers hate.” But he’s not giving himself enough credit, because it’s his unpredictable taste that has inspired his cult following, and it’s what keeps his work from ever sliding into a formula. Regular collaborator Coupe handles most of the production on Gumbo, and his evocative style enhances but never overwhelms Nudy’s singular cartoonishness. It’s not too trippy, not too trappy, but always just right. 

Opener “Brussel Sprout” is disarmingly gentle, built around a twinkling keyboard line. But before there’s even a chance to breathe, the beat deftly swerves into the more aggressive “Pancake,” which sounds like a ’90s No Limit cut beamed into outer space. That quick, unexpected beat switch is a standout moment on Gumbo—it’s hardly even a moment, just the gap between songs. Still, that careful attention to detail is a quality that sets Nudy apart from other rappers of his generation. His work feels like a full album experience, but it also functions as a playlist on shuffle.

So many of Nudy’s selections feel influenced by video game soundtracks, but never in a way that’s self-consciously retro or referential. The Mario Paint-like sheen always pulls back before going full chiptune, offset by thick bass and tight drums, with a tactility that keeps the samples and synthesizers from getting lost in a faraway galaxy. There’s a sense of whimsy here, one that doesn’t ever tilt into novelty or preciousness. “Portabella,” Nudy’s affectionate ode to dosing, is as genuinely psychedelic as anything on Lil Yachty’s Let’s Start Here: Wavy, new-age synthesizers gently ebb and flow, as bells reverberate and Nudy’s voice melts into a dubby haze. More than any single reference point, Nudy’s production shares a core principle with video game scoring, which often realizes the possibilities of music as a fully electronic medium. He and his producers have no interest in specific instrument sounds, or in beats that feel analog; he’s drawn to the open-ended potential of sound itself.

The guests that Nudy pulls into his orbit on Gumbo make for grounded foils to his ever-mutating voice. Pi’erre Bourne shows up for a shift on “Pot Roast,” along with Key Glock; the track’s MIDI horns might be more cutesy than anything you’d hear on one of the Memphis rapper’s solo projects, but his driving flow is a perfect partner for the tough 808 foundation. The 21 Savage-featuring “Peaches & Eggplants” sounds like it could have been ghost-produced by BeatKing––it’s a beguiling piece of strip-club minimalism propelled by little more than a pounding drum and a noodling synth line. Both Glock and Savage play comic straight men, underlining his goofball sensibility with their more resonant and rooted voices.

The astral sound popularized by producers like Pi’erre Bourne and Working on Dying has usually been favored by rappers working at the edges of genre, flirting with the vernaculars of rock and pop. While Nudy may be in the same universe as artists like Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert, and often plays with a similar sound library, his work remains firmly rooted in rap tradition, refreshingly free of gimmickry or strained hybridity. There are no shiny pop hooks and no guitar riffs here, but Nudy’s still looking to the future. In today’s industry, when a rapper is labeled “experimental,” it usually means they’ve moved beyond the genre. But Nudy’s core remains solid: Gumbo, along with his entire body of work, is evidence that there’s still new ground to be tread and fresh sounds to explore within rap itself. The blend of spices might be Nudy’s own, but the flavor of Gumbo is unmistakably hip-hop.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Young Nudy - Gumbo Music Album Reviews Young Nudy - Gumbo Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 16, 2023 Rating: 5


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