Young Nudy sometimes looks like he’s from another planet, but he’s rooted in a real place on Earth. The neighborhood that Nudy represents in the title of her new album Monster EA is East Atlanta, specifically Area 6. As one of many trap stars with experimental streams to emerge from Atlanta in recent years (a wave that includes Gunna and the late Lil Keed), Nudy often garners comparisons to Young Thug and Future, and her artistic kinship with hip-hop author Pi’erre Bourne has inevitably prompted Playboi Carti mentions. But he’s Zone 6’s most famous son whose influence carries over to his music: you can hear a hint of Gucci Mane not only in Nudy’s drawl and “Yeah” ad-libs, but also in his effortless confidence, flowing from him like melting ice.
Nudy’s flow is like mercury, but it’s usually averse to co-signs or influence-seeking pop hooks, so her projects are often laser-focused. Monster EA clocks in just 34 minutes, and Nudy keeps her circle tight here. There’s only one feature – a back-and-forth relay race with up-and-coming Atlanta rapper BabyDrill on “Duntsane,” proof that Nudy has now built enough of a platform to share it with new voices. The production team includes regular collaborators, like COUPE, Mojo Krazy and his pal Pi’erre Bourne, who brings his inventive and futuristic touch to about half of the tracks. Moog’s watery tones on “Kit Kat” are curiously reminiscent MeowSynthesizer, a virtual synthesizer plug-in from the 2000s that was inspired by the meows of a cat named Baksik – a proper digital relic revived by a producer who grew up on MySpace and chat rooms. Elsewhere, “No Chaser”‘s wet bass sounds like someone stomping their fingers in mud, another moment where Bourne’s alien style is as unexpected as Nudy’s cadence.
The cohesiveness is due in part to seamless sequencing, with each track sliding quickly into the next, with no breath for too long. The opening track “Nun To Do” is almost entirely bass and robust 808 kicks, with the synth line reduced to background hum. On time, Monster EA plays with a vintage sonic palette, an unexpected move for a rapper who lives so often in the future. “Impala” combines a driving Memphis-like drum pattern with MIDI bass guitar that wouldn’t feel out of place on a 1990s No Limit cut; “Fresh as Fuck” mixes vibrato-modulated synths and chirping theremin-like special effects, the kind you’d hear in a 1950s B-movie.