Young Nudy has been lying in wait for Atlanta’s crown since 2016’s Slimeball.
On the heels of April's Faded in the Booth, as well as 2018's Slimeball 3, Nudy vies for the crown with an all Pi’erre Bourne-produced album. Bourne, himself a wunderkind in bloom, previously produced much of Nudy’s Slimeball 1 and 2, 2017’s Nudy Land, and Playboi Carti’s biggest hit to date, “Magnolia.” Bourne's rap sheet is as long as Young Nudy is hungry to make a name for himself in and outside of Atlanta.
With that in mind, Nudy and Bourne coming together for a full project just makes sense. Over 12 tracks of baby wails and thick, confounding beats, Nudy and Bourne gift us the boisterous Sli’merre: a record that is equal parts manic production work and dexterous lyrical performance.
Take “Sunflower Seeds,” with its soft and lilting instrumental. Nudy pirouettes through the beat like a dancer in the “Runaway” music video, playing nimble partner to Bourne’s production, which frequently seizes the reins and leads the album’s direction. In a perfect world, these light synths and bouncing melodies would be the soundtrack to whatever nursery rhymes my future children learn.
Unlike other notable artist-producer collaboration albums (Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats' Anger Management), the focus here is mostly on the fleet of whizzing hisses and pops Bourne wheels out. Nudy, much like his compatriot Carti, is more clever than he is lyrical, often resulting in a product that can, on occasion, be grating.
For instance, when Bourne is at his least ambitious (“Hot Wings”), Nudy prioritizes flow and puts his pen on the back burner, leaving listeners with these lackluster bars: “Yeah, bitch, I’m too player / Yeah for real I give ‘em hell / Nah where the L? / I just count the Ms.” Yeah.
Nudy and Bourne do get one thing absolutely correct on Sli’merre: they understand balance, especially in considering what outside voices to incorporate. Rising star Megan Thee Stallion shows up to tear "Shotta" up with a “muah” and a blistering verse, without compromising her Houston Hottie raps and high energy virtuosity.
There’s also a DaBaby verse that capitalizes on the North Carolina native’s signature, no wasted time, ferocity; a Lil Uzi Vert spot that induces the dainty Uzi shoulder roll; a 21 Savage feature that includes a perfect pronunciation of “mister” that essentially confirms he's from the UK.
Nudy and Bourne turn in an effort exemplifying their collective proficiencies: Nudy’s East Atlanta bred, insouciant versatility and Bourne’s Big-Brained Sheen level of foresight on sound.
In his 1-Listen album review of 21 Savage’s i am > i was, DJBooth Senior Writer Yoh remarked, “Nudy will be a star.” If Sli’merre doesn’t do it for Young Nudy, then all the old heads are right: hip-hop is dead.
Standout Track: “Gas Station”
Best Bar: “Gang gang ain’t on none of that shit, we aint’ givin’ high fives / You ‘round here runnin’ yo mouth like a pussycat, but you ain’t got nine lives”
Favorite Moment: On “Extendo,” the way Uzi says “doo doo doo doo at your kinfolk”