Everything about Young Nudy is understated. In his songs, the East Atlanta native subtly switches flows often, using his words to fill in empty spaces in the beat, and can be heard cracking himself up in the booth with his own clever wordplay. When he arrived at The FADER's offices for this interview, he was wearing a two-toned plaid shirt, light wash jeans, and crisp white Air Force 1s. The only thing that stood out was the diamond-encrusted Chucky necklace around his neck, a staple of imagery in the artwork for all his projects. "I'm just low-key as hell," Nudy said, eating a handful of Skittles.
On the heels of Sli'merre, his May collaborative project with longtime production partner Pi'erre Bourne, Nudy seems up. If the past month has been all positive for the 26-year-old, it's a direct response to a rough start to 2019. In February, Nudy was pulled over and arrested in Atlanta with his cousin 21 Savage. Charged with aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Gang Act, he bonded out two weeks after his arrested, though the open case still looms.
Through it all, Nudy is staying poised and focused. "I'm just on some full blown just rap shit," he said. "Staying busy, keep doing music shit." In the past, he'd shied away from the spotlight but, in conversation, Nudy seemed to embrace his steadily growing profile and welcome whatever comes next.
It's been a few weeks since Sli'merre dropped down. How are you feeling now that it’s out in the world, people have listened to it, and digested it?
I'm feeling good. They feeling good. How you feeling?
I'm feeling great.
All right. Well, shit, then we doing our thing around this motherfucker.
Sli'merre really felt like a full circle kind of moment for you and Pi'erre. How did the two of y'all meet?
We met at Cory Mo’s [studio]. Pi'erre used to be an engineer. I just liked him 'cause he knew how to goddamn engineer like he knew how to find my sound when I record and shit. I think like the third time he recorded me, I was making a song to a Jetsonmade beat. And he was like, “I make beats too” type shit [laughs]. Little Pi'erre there — [does high-pitched imitation voice] ”I make beats too.” When he played the shit, Pi'erre shit was hard. I just been fucking with Pi'erre shit ever since then, but we just got goddamn cooler just off of being around each other. That's my boy.
What do you think makes the chemistry y'all have in the studio so special?
Shit, we just be vibing. When we used to be in the studio, he'll accept what I say. If I be like, "Bro, hell no, that shit ain't it." You know, you got some producers, they might get mad. You tell they ass, "Boy that shit bullshit." That make him go hard, ain't gonna do nothing but make some more shit. He just know what type of shit I like. Pi'erre was the first one I been with that makes beats with crazy ass sounds and shit. Like bring-it-to-life type beats. That’s the type beats I feel like Pi'erre make. Shit that just, you know, brighten up your day, whether it’s some positive music, or trap music. It just still it just brighten up your day.
A month before Sli'merre, you dropped a whole other project, Faded in the Booth. Why drop a whole other project before this big release that you had coming?
I still got street fans on some shit like, you know what I mean? You still got your people with your Androids out there. Like niggas that's just really in the trenches, they not hip to Apple Music. They don't go to a goddamn SoundCloud and buying this tape, buying this tape. You know what I mean? So, then I just got some folks that just really my fans. So this shit really is like, I really made shit for my fans. Like you gotta be a real Nudy fan to know that that shit out there 'cause I ain't promoting the shit. I just put it out there.
You like to drop full projects — you never really drop one song here or one song there. Why do you like to release music like that?
I just like to go on and just get it over with type shit. Y'all gonna get all these songs, ride their little wave for a minute, then I'll holla at y'all in probably about seven months or something. You feel what I'm saying? You know, we'll go from there. I learned from all my shit. When I drop my shit like that, I listen and I pay attention to how shit change with the music industry like the type of sounds people be wanting to hear. So I don't want to be goddamn stuck in one little way, burn myself out on that shit. So, boom, I get it for y'all. I give you this. 'Cause none of my shit sound the same. My voice, like how I do shit, all the shit be different. I just throwing that beat on, having fun.
It's kind of a—I don't know if I want to say old school approach but…
'Cause I be on some old school type shit. For real, for real. I like old school music. Old school music be some good vibe ass music. It depends on what type of music I'm making though. What with type of message I'm trying to get to who here. The young generation these days, they just want that, goddamn, shoot 'em up, bang-bang, I ran from my momma house- [laughs] ... that shit crazy man.
That's what you've noticed? Younger people want that specifically?
Them 2000s babies and shit? Pshh, that's what they want to hear. They want to hear the goddamn crazy struggle type shit. You know, young generation kind of crazy. I got a lot of little young niggas and shit. So I be knowing this shit, what type shit they be on, what they be liking.
There is one song in particular that's buzzing right now even though it wasn't officially released. Can you tell me a little bit about the “Pissy Pamper (Kid Cudi)” — how that came together?
I just made that shit, sent that shit to Carti, you know, get on this shit, and he sent this shit. Then he, it came back and yeah, and he sounded like a baby. [laughs] Oh man, that nigga ass crazy man. Shout out to that nigga Carti man. That nigga ass crazy.
When he sent it back and you heard that verse, how did you react?
When I first heard that shit, I'm like, "Man, what the fuck is Carti talking about?" I said, "He sound like a goddamn baby." You feel me? So I had to just keep listening to it. I had to goddamn stick my ear to the damn song to hear what the fuck he was saying and shit. Once I heard it, I'm like, "Oh, okay." It's all about switching your flows up anyway.
So that was it supposed to be on Sli'merre?
Yeah it was supposed to be on Sli'merre. But, you know, gotta get shit right first, man.
Sample shit man. That shit be so hard. One little small little thing man, small little shit. Fuck it up. But you know, it's all good though. I'm working on it though, trying to get that shit cleared.
How frustrating is it to find out a song leaked?
I don't know 'cause my shit don't get leaked.
That got leaked.
Well, it did get leaked, but I ain't give a fuck. I don't be caring. I don't know how nigga's music be getting leaked. It's hard to let some shit get leaked. Your ass ain't getting my shit goddammit. I think I had somebody leak some of my music, like some shit that I just know like, "How the fuck this motherfucker really get this song right here?" You feel what I'm saying? I don't even know how the hell they be doing shit like that.
People can do crazy shit with computers. The hackers.
Hackers man, them bitches on fire. For real, man. Don't hack me. I don't want no smoke with the hackers.
“I really don’t be chasing no attention and shit like that. I just let it come how it come.”
Last March you wrote on Instagram that you can't really move how you want to move, and you said, "I'm free, but it still feels like I'm locked up." What were you going through at that time?
Some personal shit, man. You know, I don't like talking about my personal life. 'Cause I do music. My street life, personal life, you know, I don't really... It’s just like I couldn't really move like I wanted to, just music-wise. That shit fuck with my fans and shit. Fucking up my money. Motherfuckers just be wanting to control a nigga. Man, they won't let a nigga be shorty. I swear to God, them folks won't let a nigga be. [laughs] But it's all good though. Fuck that shit.
As you've gotten bigger with the rap, and your name's gotten bigger, do you think you've become more of a target?
Hell yeah. Most definitely that. And not with no niggas in the street, but like police-wise and shit like that. Hell yeah, most definitely that shit. But, you know, niggas just gotta stay out the way and avoid that shit. I try to avoid trouble. Too many snitches out there, man. The world these days, they make their shit seem like cool type shit.
Over the course of your career, you've said multiple times that you had like one foot in rap, one foot out.
Yeah. But you know, I got all foot in rap.
Yeah, I wanted to know: What's your mentality right now?
I'm just on some just full blown just rap shit. Staying busy, keep doing music shit. Like, interviews, I don't give a fuck what it is, I'm just trying to stay busy, stay moving. I don't even want to be in Atlanta. Only reason why I'm down there 'cause I ain't got no choice. I got to. I got the little shit I gotta deal with. Other than that, I would’ve been gone. When I'm in the city, I'm in the studio all day. I got something to do.
In the past, what made it hard to fully have both feet in, like you said?
Shit, a nigga still gotta make money. Rap shit ain't just gonna blow up overnight. Right now, like a motherfucker probably be surprised how much money I get. They would probably be like, "Oh, he got 500,000 followers on Instagram. He ain't getting that money. He probably getting $2,500 a show, or $5,000... "
Back then a nigga wasn't really getting shit for this shit, so a nigga gotta keep going. It ain't like I could just depend on this rap shit like, I'm just finna not make me no money. It got it to a point where I didn't have no choice but to get like that. But I had me some little coins on the side. Where I can just be like, "Fuck this shit.”
It also seemed like you've been resistant to like the title of being a rapper.
I'm just low-key as hell. I don’t really be out there like, with all the rappers in the club on camera and shit. You might see me somewhere in a crazy spot where you least expect to see a rapper at. But I might be right there. I ain't gonna be right there long though. [laughs] You know what I mean? But I'm just very low-key with shit. A motherfucker quick fast to put shit on the internet. I sit there and think about that shit like, "I'm not finna do no shit like that." 'Cause I just know what that’s gonna bring. That ain't the type of attention that I want. I really don't be chasing no attention and shit like that. I just let it come how it come.
You said you don't really want to be in Atlanta. If you had your choice, where would you be?
I got three spots: L.A., Miami, and somewhere overseas. Like Paris, or London, some shit, Amsterdam, one of these motherfuckers.
I don't know. I got to get away though man. Atlanta, boy, even if you staying out of trouble, they still find some type of way to goddamn... I feel like that just go for anybody within they own little state though anyway. You can't be in your own state too long, depending on what type of character you are. Type of person I am, the way I growed up, and shit I had to deal with it. I got to get the fuck on. I want to be stress-free.
When Nipsey Hussle passed a few months ago, a lot of people took that as a lesson, like, even if you're doing something positive, the most positive shit, you can still get it.
Shit still can happen, man. That where you're comfortable at. That's the best place to catch a nigga at. That be the number one spot you need to get out there and pay attention to, comfort zone.
I see you got the Chucky necklace.
Hell yeah man. I got to have some type of Chucky with me everywhere I go. This was a gift though. My cousin got this shit for me. I just love Chucky shit man. You feel me? Chucky funny as hell.
Why do you connect with Chucky?
Chucky, he remind me of... Chucky just on some shit like everything be funny to Chucky. He really don't mean no harm... ‘til you get in his way. Once you get in his way, it's over with. You feel me? I don't know man, you just gotta avoid Chucky type shit man. (laughs) But I like Chucky though man. Chucky funny as hell man. Little bitty, short ass doll talking all this shit. I fuck with Chucky.
Sli'merre is your first project to chart. Where do you go from here? How do you build on that?
I don't even know how to feel about this shit. The rap shit still just ain't hit me yet. A motherfucker be happy as hell for me. I be happy for myself too, but I just don't be knowing like.. I guess 'cause I'm like, this shit just don't make me. I just be humble as hell type shit. I don't really be overdoing shit. I ain't fittin' to jump around and act crazy like, "Yeah! I finally made it y'all," type shit. Hell no 'cause, in my head, I knew I was gonna make that shit one day. Just like in my head I know that my career gonna go long as fuck. 'Cause my career go like this [makes slow rising motion with his hand]. My shit ain’t go like that [makes fast rising motion with his other hand] My shit going like this [moves slow hand higher than the fast-rising hand]. That how high I want it to go though. 'Cause I'm gonna be in this shit longer. I'm steady coming up by there and get where I'm going, past their ass. They done already jumped up there too fast. Yeah. Just keep going.
The past two years you dropped the first SlimeBall and SlimeBall 3 both around the same date in August. What's the significance of that time of the year?
That eight just mean a lot. It just a lot of shit that was going on around that August date. Around the time my little girl was born. Around the time I had to step it up on certain type of shit. It was like, I want to have me some money, so I was going crazy. That whole August. That big eight, man.
So that's your daughter's birthday?
That's a date that changed your life.
Yeah. Made me move different, made me feel like even though I was a young nigga, I just felt like I don't want to be no young nigga. Don't talk that much, listen, learn, learn from other people's mistakes, learn from my own mistakes. You know, grow up type shit.
Can we expect something new for August 8 this year?
No man. No more August the eighth man. No more SlimeBall man. Time for something else.
How do you like to spend your time these days when you're not in the studio, you're not working?
If I ain't busy, shit, I'm playing video games, or I watch cartoons. Or I'm doing something with my little girl or some shit. Sometimes I just sit back and be just thinking all day. For real, I sit for hours and just sit in the dark and just think. Won't be on no phone or nothing, just be sitting there just thinking, thinking like a motherfucker. I don't know. I just be trying to put shit together, make sure I don't make the wrong move when I do some shit, so I be thinking like a motherfucker.
One cartoon you've always said you love a lot is Dragon Ball Z.
Man, I love that shit. I be watching that shit now.
You said you identified with Vegeta 'cause he's an underdog. Do you still feel like an underdog?
Yeah, to this day I do. I still feel like a lot of folks sleep on me, like they don't really pay attention like that. But when, then they do, it be like, "Damn, I been sleeping on something. I really heard him before, I just wasn't paying attention to it. Now let me pay attention to it. Shorty hard as hell." Vegeta be having his point where he just go crazy on some shit. I have my time where it just like, boom, boom, boom. It gonna come.
I gotta work harder. Just like Vegeta, he gotta work harder. Goku always beating him to the punch. Goku be sneaking off and shit. He don't be paying attention. Goku be cheating. He sneak, he goes somewhere, sneak off, he got a whole motherfucker to teach him, train him. Goku, he the best now. He do his thing, but he got a motherfucker to teach him. Vegeta, he ain't got nobody to teach him. Shorty go somewhere, duck off, and teach his goddamn self. That’s what I like about Vegeta. They be sleeping on him. Shorty go hard, he be true, and he gonna smash some shit.