Young Nudy has the humor of a supervillain. He’ll make you laugh at lyrics you shouldn’t find funny. On his RCA debut, Anyways, the East Atlanta rapper effortlessly combs together lyrics that paint the picture of a fearless kingpin who taunts adversaries and naysayers with boasts about stealing girlfriends, murdering foes, getting money, and living large. But this material isn’t a tough guy trying to convince the world he’s the biggest dog. It’s a big dog enjoying a new life inspired by his old one.
Anyways flows together like a series of seamless freestyles. It’s a debut dressed up as a mixtape. There’s a bit more polish to Nudy’s rapping, he’s in a zone that feels as inspired as his best work, but there’s no singular standout. Any one of the 16 songs could rise as a sleeper hit. If I had to choose one, though, it would be the twelveth track, “I Won’t Flex.”
“I Won’t Flex” is trap music not trapped by the trap; a kind of street rap that sings of paranoia and anxiety without the weight of the lifestyle. It’s a bouncy track—the 20 Rocket production is like a moonbounce of fun—perfect for Nudy’s melodic singing. “Imma die about this shit, nigga” and “I got shooters who protect the money,” he sings on the song’s chorus, far from the kind of lines that inspire a good time.
In a completely different tone, under different textures, “I Won’t Flex” could’ve easily been an emotion-filled confessional, but Nudy doesn’t bring emotions into the booth. Instead, he brings charisma, charm, and fun. Nudy makes you feel invincible, although the odds say you aren’t. He makes you want to flex under pressure.
Don’t get it twisted, though. Anyways isn’t a fun-house. Lyrically, Nudy embodies that famous Alan Moore quote, “I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.” Luckily, for the listener, he’s naturally lighthearted. It’s hard not to hear a southern rap giant like Gucci Mane in his music—both rappers have the demeanor of schoolyard bullies who are also class clowns; guys who will crack your jaw and then crack a joke that you would laugh at if you could feel your face.