The Break Presents – PGF Nuk
It's never clear what moves people to the next phase of their life, but it can happen at any time. Both talent and general interest can become the big break that most people hope for. Enter PGF Nuk, the 20-year-old Chicago rapper who currently has a viral hit "Waddup" under his belt. His style is best described as drill's earlier sound mixed with newer flows and production. He been rapping since 2017, and admits that he was too deep in the streets back then because making money initially made rap less important. But he didn't quit his passion. And now just a few years later, he's signed to Alamo Records, plus he has nearly 50 million YouTube views on both versions of his "Waddup" video, with the most recent featuring a verse from Polo G.
PGF Nuk got into rap via one of his friends. He continued on with it after one of his friends died as a way of honoring him. The support the rapper got early on in Chicago kept him going, starting with his first song "HenDusse," which dropped in 2019. In the video, a teenage Nuk is rapping and dancing along with his friends, but the pointed "let each bar breathe" flow he uses now was not yet apparent. At the time, Nuk had more of the throwback drill swing to his verses, like a less upbeat Sicko Mobb; the delivery and energy was on point. As his music evolved, Nuk's output became more aggressive. he released singles over the years, including the career-changing "Waddup" in October of 2021.
Nuk came up with "Waddup" while making bacon as his girlfriend looked on, making sure he did a good job. He had the beat on and was just freestyling. She recorded it unbeknownst to him, aware that he likes to keep track of what he says, in case it's good enough to become a song. "Waddup" surely was and within a week, it was out and into the world. Between the menacing beat, Nuk shouting, "Aye, bitch, waddup!" and his voice that cuts right through the song, the track was a success.
In January of this year, just three months after the song's release, Polo G posted a video of himself rapping along to "Waddup," in his car. Nuk eventually got him onto the song for a remix in May. Polo G at the time had no idea he and Nuk were cousins by marriage, but was happy to rap on "Waddup" and appear in the video, which brings back the energy of early, gritty drill videos. The remix became even bigger than the original song and Nuk started making national noise. From the original release of "Waddup" and on, Nuk was attracting label attention and chose Alamo Records, the home of Rod Wave and Lil Durk. He dropped Switch Music last month—his first project overall and on the label—and is still riding high off the whirlwind of success he's felt over the last year.
Taking some time to share his journey with XXL, PGF Nuk is this week's guest on The Break: Live. Watch his interview below.
Follow PGF Nuk on SoundCloud and Instagram.
"Waddup" featuring Polo G
"Button Boys" featuring Big30