Buddy is back, and he’s breaking through to a whole other level. With his forthcoming follow-up to 2018’s Harlan & Alondra, the Compton-born rapper deepens his sound and style while still staying true to the music he was raised on and the environment that made him. With a dazzling array of collaborators and a creative vision truly singular in its scope, Buddy is prepared to level up to the next stage in his career, and it’s thrilling to bear witness.
The last several years of Buddy’s career since Harlan & Alondra have seen him tour the world two times over and work with musical luminaries ranging from Pharrell to the late, great Nipsey Hussle, along with collaborations on records with artists like Ari Lennox, J.I.D., and Bas. After his rigorous tour schedule came to a close, Buddy hit the studio and got to work on his new album—a three-year creative process that included sessions in Miami, Hawaii, and L.A..
“Initially, I started working on it pre-pandemic,” Buddy explains while talking about the creative process. “Then, I was settling into being at home all the time, which finally gave me an opportunity to go inwards and get to know myself a little more, which was very necessary. When I was able to work on it again, I was able to make it reflect how I felt at that point.”
“I’m always trying to show my personality and my versatility, and I really think I executed it,” he continues. “The songs are bigger, but they still feel like Buddy.” Indeed, the album—currently set for a September release—furthers the sound that Buddy established on Harlan & Alondra on a bigger, grander scale, with pop sensibilities perfectly folded into the mix.
Featuring production contributions from regular collaborators like Axel Foley and D-Mild as well as guest spots from artists like Tinashe, Blxst (who laces the low-slung “Wait Too Long”), Ari Lennox, and T-Pain (who lends his unmatched talents on the heart-stopping slow jam “Happy Hour”), the album also benefited from working out of his own recently established studio in L.A. for the first time: “It’s great to have a place to go where I can have peace of mind,” Buddy enthuses about the new space and how it helped get his creative juices flowing.
As for the album’s visual component, visionary talent Lena Waithe will executive produce that element—a natural extension of good vibes cultivated after Waithe and Buddy hung out following this year’s Oscars. “I played her the album, and she’s bringing a filmic aspect to this album too as we work on the visuals,” he explains. “We want the visuals to vibrate as high as the album, and she’s gonna make that happen.”
And this next stage in Buddy’s career represents a step forward for him as an artist and a person—an opportunity to show listeners his own personal and musical growth while re- establishing his accomplished status in the intertwined worlds of rap and pop. “I’m just trying to show the world who I am, and stand alone,” he explains. “I just wanna give the world Buddy.”