The latest MC/Vocalist to be rising out of the buzzing ATL scene is J Cole’s Dreamville signee, J.I.D. On his debut tape, the high-pitched rapper holds down the majority of the tracks solo, which in todays Hip-Hop scene could really go either way. However, other upcoming artist 6LACK, Earthgang and Mereba all appear for guest features.
After a lot of consideration and influence from a close friend, I finally decided to review the album. Only two songs in and my jaw is hanging nearly as low when Kendrick dropped ‘TPAB’.
The first track that stands out to me for J.I.D’s weird but pleasing voice and switch up of instrumental is “NEVER”. The first half of the instrumental is, in one word, demonic. Over cloudy drums, J.I.D speaks on growing up where a Black man doesn’t have the same opportunities as a white man, as well as never being as wealthy as he is now. The second instrumental is psychedelic and a lot bouncier. J.I.D rides the beat with a slow but jumpy flow that reflects the manic beat. The following track “EdEddnEddy” is one of the slower and shorter tracks on the album. However, over smooth minimal repetitive keys and edgy drums, it builds the perfect background for the Xannie inspired track, where he discusses not being able to sell weed because he “smokes it too much”.
Being a fan of the show the track is titled after that appeared on Cartoon Network, this track should be the new theme song if it ever comes back, as it captures the weird, animated aesthetic that the show displayed. “Hereditary” is another one of the songs that stands out. While it may not follow the regular Hip-Hop/Trap sound, the Nu-Jazz instrumental allows J.I.D too execute a great combination of a rap/sing-along flow discussing a relationship going downhill. Yes, it is straight out of Drakes’ book but J.I.D doesn’t sound like he’s trying to rip any particular artist or sound in the process.
To conclude, J.I.D’s breakout tape, ‘The Never Story’ is an ambitious debut. It tackles racial tensions, drug addiction and selling, women and making a name for himself. It also battles against the normal sound of a Hip-Hop artist. He doesn’t sound like anyone else and his incorporation of various genres over the tracklisting shows that J.I.D is someone to keep a close eye on.