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Young Nudy - Slimeball 3 Music Album Reviews

At his best—as on this third installment of his Slimeball series—Nudy can distill the influence of Atlanta’s integral artists into his a world of his own.

Nudy’s career thus far has been an elegant re-hashing of traditional Atlanta rap tropes. His strongest release to date, last year’s Nudy Land, slowly moved away from this comfort zone and into something more original, a concept he’s built upon with Slimeball 3. It’s the most confident iteration of the three installments, and when Nudy’s at his best, he can distill the influence of Atlanta’s integral artists into a world of his own, infusing the fairly limited tapestry of his lyrical territory with an expansive range of delivery styles.

Comparing Nudy to a set of rappers from his hometown may seem reductive, but the similarities have more to do with the unrelenting influence of the Young Thug-Gucci Mane-Future triumvirate than any lack of originality on Nudy’s part. Thinking about or listening to Nudy’s work outside of this context strips the artist of his place within rap’s current power structure, and over the course of two Slimeball mixtapes and one LP, Nudy’s hinted at being worthy of a seat at the next table over; or, at least, on the waitlist in case of any cancellations.

On Slimeball 3, Young Nudy’s expressly interested in anointing his voice as a definitive, weighty addition to Atlanta’s already-dense scene. He’s deeply feeling himself on the record, putting up zero features over the course of its 14 tracks. After a sluggish opening two songs, this feels like a grave miscalculation of skills, but by "Middle Fingers," he’s returned to his role as the sort of effortlessly engaging regional stylist he fully rounded out on Nudy Land.

The color palette on Slimeball 3 has shifted dramatically from the first two editions, with Nudy’s deadpan dialect giving way to a more confident drawl, one that recalls the Auto-Tune blues rap of Los Angeles hero 03 Greedo as much as it does any Atlanta stars. "Middle Fingers" is a swaggering ode to Nudy’s hood, a half-sung lull of a rap that woozily narcotizes the emcee’s sentiments towards his haters. While Nudy never has much of an interest in existing outside of the money, fame, drugs paradigm, his voice imbues these songs with enough of an emotional impact that tones and quirks pack as much of a punch as words do.

Album highlight "InDaStreet" finds Nudy employing a yearning, almost desperate flow, an exasperation in his voice that lends a great assist to his rapid-fire, breathy lines dissecting the softness of today’s hustlers (“And I ain’t no fuckin’ wannabe/All you pussy niggas wanna be”). “Do That” takes an otherworldly synth—floating delicately above the thick slap of the snare drum—highlighting the rhythm section while Nudy works the triplet-style flow pioneered by fellow ATLiens Migos.

Young Nudy’s ability to be a synthesis of his city’s scene is the greatest advantage he holds, and one that’s improved and sharpened over the course of his career. While Nudy Land may edge out Slimeball 3 in terms of cohesion, the new mixtape is a significant leap forward in terms of songwriting skill when compared with the first two editions of the Slimeball series. Nudy’s ability to land earworm hooks comes with great ease here, and, in retrospect, he was wise to lay off the big name collaborators in favor of a more personal and identifiable sound. Young Nudy continues to force his name into the Atlanta rap conversation.

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