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Mudy is ready to take the heat that comes with getting personal

Mudy is ready to put herself out there. For the last couple of years the Milwaukee rapper has been one of the sharpest voices in the city’s rap scene, rhyming in cold, often hilarious fits of smack talk that usually reveal more about herself than whoever she’s cutting down. But until recently she’s kept a low profile, releasing just a handful of songs a year -- and often pulling them not long after sharing them. I can't share many of my favorite Mudy tracks in this article because they're no longer online.

Now Mudy says she’s ready to capitalize on the buzz she’s built and make a push for an audience beyond Milwaukee, even if it means releasing music that she previously might have kept to herself. She talked with Radio Milwaukee about her unusual approach to releasing music, learning to accept the scrutiny that comes from sharing personal art, and her goal of becoming completely inescapable over the next year or two. 

When did you start rapping seriously?

I think I started taking it seriously in 2016. I did poetry and I played with words my whole life, but I had a best friend who was also into music. He gave me the nudge I needed to start freestyling and investing in my craft.

What were those early freestyles like?

Long as hell! I didn’t know how to structure a song, so I didn’t know when to stop and put in a hook or anything. I think the first song I ever did was “0 to 100” by Drake, and I don’t know if you know that song, but the beat switches, so I did that entire song with no stops, no breathes, no cuts, and everybody was like, “this is long as shit! .” It’s just hard to learn how to create a song as somebody who is used to ranting.

It’s funny you mention that, because you still strike me as a rapper whose favorite part of any rap song is the rapping. There are rappers who like to do the hooks, but you strike me as a rapper who just wants to go on and on. 

Yeah, I still enjoy the freestyles more in my personal opinion because I feel like I have so much to say. And if I have to drop it, and be like “do a 12 bar, do a 16, then throw a hook on there,” it kind of ruins the fun for me, because I just like talking shit to be honest. Freestyles let me do this.

When did you start feeling like you were getting really good at rapping?

Honestly, when I had full-on confidence in myself and my abilities? That didn’t come until this year. I released my first single in 2018, so it took me two years of freestyling on and off and whatever I was doing on the back end. And from there I tried to put a project together because people were telling me to put a project together. It wasn’t because it was what I wanted to do. But listening back to my old music now it’s like, “Damn, I’m really cold.” And for a while I was looking at myself like, “how am I going to top all this stuff that I haven’t even put out in the world.” And it’s just about consistently leveling up. It’s only going to get better.

What do you feel like you’re leveling up on?

I feel like I’m leveling up as an artist who is more structured in their own sound. Being a woman with a more aggressive rap, my voice was deeper in a lot of my songs, just real grungy sounding. But now my voice sounds like me. This is Mudy’s sound. It doesn’t sound like anybody else.

Do you feel like some of your earlier tracks were playing a role?

I don’t feel like I was playing a role. But I think you can hear inspo in some of my early songs, and I didn’t realize that until after I got done with some of my songs. I had “FaceTime,” which I’ve since taken down, and I didn’t realize until later, “man, this sounds like Moneybagg.” Not the flow, but just the voice of it. And I really don’t want to be an artist -- especially as a woman because I love being a woman -- where they hear me and go, “Is this a man?” And I was getting that a lot on stage; people would see me and be shocked by how I sounded. I didn’t have a problem with that. I still have music that is in lower octaves or tones, but it did feel like I was going into the studio and not being my most natural self.

It must be weird, because obviously most male rappers don’t have to think about their masculinity or femininity when they’re performing. But it sounds like that’s on your mind a lot.

Yeah, I think about it. I don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on it, but the industry will. The fans will. My colleagues will. People all the time tell me, “You’re my favorite female rapper,” and it’s like, “OK, but why are you putting female on there? Because I can destroy your favorite male rapper, too.” As a person, outside of the artistry, people tell me I have a lot of masculine energy. I have a lot of boyish ways. So it just took me a long time to get comfortable with the unexpected imbalance people get from me.

What do you think it is that separates you from other rappers?

I just really like to have fun with it. People put a lot of emphasis on it, but I just really enjoy talking my shit in a way that happens to flow very well over beats. And I’m Mudy. There is no box to put me in. I keep trying to show myself that. Not other people, but myself. I can rap-rap. I can sing. I can be whatever someone tells me to execute with little to no direction. And I like being in spaces that are challenging to me. I’m non-comforming. 

You record a lot of music but you don’t release a lot of music. How do you decide what you release and what stays private? 

The reason I wasn’t releasing a lot of music before is because it was really personal. And I know that sounds fucked, but I wasn’t in an artists’ place at that time where I was willing to share what I was actually going through with people. So it was going in the music, but I didn’t want people to nitpick my sounds. Music is open to perception once it’s out there, and for people to try to paint me in any light they wanted, I wasn’t mentally ready for that. But now I’m in a different space. I want to go there. I feel like the more real shit you go through, the more people relate. I want to make music that ages well. I want to make people where people are like, "Damn, I feel this." It’s not just a turnup song in the clubs. I want songs for moments of your life, and that’s how I'm planning the music drops going forward. So yes, I’m still going to talk my shit, but I just want everything to have more substance to it. 

You strike me as a little bit of a loner. Is that true?

I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a loner. I’m really locked in with the people I’m locked in with. I get inspiration from the people around me. It’s just that I don’t know anybody like me, personality wise or flow wise. And I appreciate that about myself that I’m that unique. So people are around and yes I ask people for feedback, but as far as knowing what i want to portray, that all comes from me. I think that people just naturally want to know who I am, and I mean that in the least cocky way, because I enjoy people getting to know me. 

What’s your plan for marketing yourself?

We live in a world that’s out of sight out of mind. So my goal that I’m working toward is content, content, content. I want to make it to where you can’t ignore me. I want to stay in your face. Even if you saw my story shared multiple times and it doesn’t interest you, at some point you’re going to get so exhausted seeing my face and not knowing what’s going on that you’re just going to click it. … I want people to know me beyond music. I want them to know me as an individual, because I do think I am unique. I do have different energy and vibes to give. And whatever they want to take to is just what they decide to take to.