Younger Nudy is thought for his urge for food: He’s a consummate foodie and perpetual sufferer of the munchies who has turn out to be one thing just like the MF DOOM of East Atlanta. To satiate the urge for food of his devoted followers—who hungrily await the discharge of culinary-themed joints like “Loaded Baked Potato,” “Sunflower Seeds,” and “Blue Cheese Salad”—Nudy has served up a 13-course meal, also referred to as his new undertaking Gumbo. Each monitor hits a special vector of the meals pyramid: “Brussel Sprout” and “Okra” to your every day serving of greens, “McChicken” or “Fish & Chips” for lunch, and a slice of “Passion Fruit” to cleanse the palate.
The unfastened idea reveals how Nudy’s initiatives have tightened over time. Although his mixtapes have hardly ever ever ventured over an hour, every launch brings elevated cohesion and focus, with extra care given to the sequencing of the tracklist. Gumbo performs like a fraternal twin to final yr’s EA Monster, all the way down to the same slime-green and purple colour schemes of their cowl artwork. Nudy gives a funhouse distortion of the late 2000s DatPiff period, manifesting himself because the flesh-and-blood model of the mixtape covers the place 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.” However he’s not giving himself sufficient credit score, as a result of it’s his unpredictable style that has impressed his cult following, and it’s what retains his work from ever sliding right into a formulation. Common collaborator Coupe handles many of the manufacturing on Gumbo, and his evocative model enhances however by no means overwhelms Nudy’s singular cartoonishness. It’s not too trippy, not too trappy, however all the time good.
Opener “Brussel Sprout” is disarmingly mild, constructed round a twinkling keyboard line. However earlier than there’s even an opportunity to breathe, the beat deftly swerves into the extra aggressive “Pancake,” which appears like a ’90s No Restrict reduce beamed into outer house. That fast, sudden beat swap is a standout second on Gumbo—it’s hardly even a second, simply the hole between songs. Nonetheless, that cautious consideration to element is a high quality that units Nudy other than different rappers of his era. His work looks like a full album expertise, but it surely additionally features as a playlist on shuffle.
So lots of Nudy’s choices really feel influenced by online game soundtracks, however by no means in a approach that’s self-consciously retro or referential. The Mario Paint-like sheen all the time pulls again earlier than going full chiptune, offset by thick bass and tight drums, with a tactility that retains the samples and synthesizers from getting misplaced in a faraway galaxy. There’s a way of caprice right here, one which doesn’t ever tilt into novelty or preciousness. “Portabella,” Nudy’s affectionate ode to dosing, is as genuinely psychedelic as something on Lil Yachty’s Let’s Begin Right here: Wavy, new-age synthesizers gently ebb and movement, as bells reverberate and Nudy’s voice melts right into a dubby haze. Greater than any single reference level, Nudy’s manufacturing shares a core precept with online game scoring, which frequently realizes the chances of music as a completely digital medium. He and his producers have no real interest in particular instrument sounds, or in beats that really feel analog; he’s drawn to the open-ended potential of sound itself.