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"I was born to be a star," laughed Jud Nester this March, and as it turns out it took only a few more months for him to start making it happen. This hip-hop local's new CD single "U Shoulda Seen Her on MySpace" (out on Abstract Workshop) blew into the Billboard charts this week, topping out at No. 4 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales over national acts like Young Jeezy and Eminem and settling in just two spots below this girl named Beyoncé. The finger of fame catches Jud on tour in the desert between Arizona and Utah, and what comes through a two-second struggling middle-of-nowhere phone call? Jud a lot excited and maybe not necessarily taken by surprise. Which makes sense if you remember the guy mentioning how much he looked up to Berry Gordy.
"I don't want to come out typical OC style, like get a couple million behind it and look like I'm a rock star already—though I am a rock star; I've spent more time in the studio than any rock star I've ever known," Jud said last March. "I'm a moment capturer. That's it. I don't consider us huge talents. I consider us capable of capturing inspiration. And that's beyond talent!"
"U Shoulda Seen Her on MySpace" is glowing with that goofy/geeky charm/inspiration, an obvious heir to Biz Markie—named in the song, as Jud discovers that the girl who looks like "Tyra B." on MySpace is more like Biz Markie when she gets to his place—over a radio-ready beat (by Jud and Tyler Coomes) heavy enough to have come out of Houston or Atlanta. Simple structure: Jud doing before/after riffing on a girl he finds online. She says she's from Malibu ("But at my place? Compton tattoo!") and shows up with a "moustache bigger than mine" and a bad rash of Republican politics ("She's supportin' George Bush!").
It's got a good beat and you can relate to it, says the PR—apparently true, since even hip-hop tastemakers like Tom Leykis are on board for this thing. And it's not out-of-character for Jud. Anyone who's met him knows how quick he'll get you laughing; anyone who heard his first single—also out on Abstract Workshop, the label attached to the longtime OC hip-hop collective that ranks Jud as a founding member—remembers him chatting up girls with, "Hey, how you been, how you doin'? Fine? I'm good, it's . . . good to be fine . . ." But "U Shoulda Seen Her" is Jud as focused funnyman, knocking out a laugh track that has Billboard going nuts. It's a nice way for an artist to get an in to the outside world, which is something Jud must have had planned for a while.
"To say, 'Yeah, I'm OC hip-hop,' that brings a chuckle," Jud said. "But that gives us a chance to catch the laugh, and that catches their attention, and if I catch their attention, then I'm in their studio making tracks!"
JUD NESTER PERFORMS WITH MYKA NYNE AND TREK LIFE AT ABSTRACT WORKSHOP AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 842-0600; WWW.DETROITBAR.COM. SAT., 9:30 P.M. $10. 21+. VISIT JUD NESTER ONLINE AND HEAR "U SHOULDA SEEN HER ON MYSPACE" AT WWW.JUDNESTER.COM.