Young Nudy continues to crank out songs, but Dr. Ev4l is an album full of similar-sounding, monotonous titles that do little to inspire.
PDE rap artist and cousin to 21 Savage, Young Nudy has enjoyed some good proximity to America’s most substantial contemporary arts scene and the personalities at its forefront. These associations and their related access have carried Nudy to some level of popularity these last six years or so. And his skills as a vocalist are not inconsiderable, though they do generally lack definition, which may explain why his success has been mostly in conjunction with the ingenious Pi’erre Bourne, his frequent collaborator (going back to the first Slimeball mixtape in 2016). Pi’erre’s singular production aesthetic has been instrumental in shaping the Young Nudy sound, providing some otherwise absent character, and bolstering his discography. Their best work finds Nudy’s atonal, rattled-off delivery subsumed in the beautiful stream of flutes and arpeggiated video game keys — an approach most fully realized on 2019’s impeccable Sli’merre (those sessions birthing the iconic, unreleased Carti-featuring “Pissy Pamper”). That album, being a sort of culmination of many years of collaboration, seems to be the duo’s high point, one their happy to leave off at for the time being (though they did both work on the Lil Uzi Vert V.S. the World 2 track “Money Spread” last year). Pi’erre has since moved on to solo work, while Nudy released his first true solo album, Anyways, in 2020.
Keeping to a steady pace, Young Nudy now returns with a follow-up, Dr. Ev4l, which brings along entrusted producers 20Rocket, Mojo Krazy, and COUPE (responsible for half the songs here) as well as a couple newer names handling beats. As sort of implied by the title and spooky album art (Nudy as both his Chuckie-esque puppet alter ego from the Slimeball mixtapes and as a sinister puppet master), Dr. Ev4l has vague horrorcore aspirations that the assembled producing talent more or less realize. COUPE’s beats on “Revenge” and “Mini Me” (which all but confirm an intentional Austin Powers reference, though nothing else here suggests this) serve as a template for the rest of the producers to work from, resulting in a project that is aesthetically consistent, if rather uninspired. Regardless of producer, each song sounds about the same, minimal trap dressed up with heavy, dark bass and some occasional voice mod on Nudy to make his grimacing delivery extra snarly. For his part as the album’s almost sole writer (the exception being features and lead single “2Face”, which gives writing credit to its producers as well), Nudy takes on a cold, cruel perspective, relating fantasies of murder and memories of mean-spirited sex in simple, direct detail. Structurally, these songs are built around lengthy, often looping choruses that rival the actual verses in length, making each song feel rather dense and numbing. A couple guest features help break things up: Lil Uzi Vert on “Yellow Tape” introducing desperately needed melodicism to the proceedings, and 21 Savage on “Child’s Play” brings the project as close as it gets to true horrorcore (G Herbo somewhere in there too though). But songs on Dr. Ev4l have a habit of bleeding into one another, becoming ill-defined and monotonous along the way; it’s not an objectionable album, but a frustratingly unmotivated one. Dr. Ev4l’s future cultural significance will likely hinge on Nudy’s decision to mint NFT’s of the album (someone out there has one of a kind “day-in-the-life footage of Young Nudy” the rest of us can only try our best to imagine) for auction, and have little to do with any of the music on it.
Published as part of Album Roundup — May 2021 | Part 2.