ALBUM REVIEW: IDK – ‘IWASVERYBAD’

Maryland rapper, IDK, formerly known as Jay IDK, dropped his debut album, IWASVERYBAD, on Oct. 13 – 13 months after the release of his most recent project, Empty Bank.

IDK has self-defined his music and style by using the, ‘Subtrap’, tag. The PG County, Maryland, rapper heavily focuses on producing trap music with substance/meaning. This style has worked well on a few tracks of his in the past including ‘Boy’s Innocence’, which is a fantastic record off Empty Bank.

 

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IDK deserves credit and recognition for the unique sounds and imaginative tracks he provided on ‘IWASVERYBAD’.

IWASVERYBAD is the definition of a concept album, as IDK takes a retrospective and thoughtful look back at his upbringing in PG County. Arrested as a teenager and charged as an adult, IDK (full name: Jason Mills) covers a couple very significant events in his youth in this release, and does it with just a few features.

 

The autobiographical album is pretty short considering its backstory and message, at just 35 minutes (12 tracks). Then again, albums that are too short > albums that are excruciatingly long.

Track Listing

  1. Mrs. Lynch, You Son Is The Devil
  2. Maryland Ass N***a (feat. Swiss Beatz)
  3. Pizza Shop Extended (feat. Yung Gleesh, DOOM, Del The Funky Homosapien)
  4. Dog Love Kitty (feat. Mother Marygold)
  5. Mama Said “Respect the Venus Symbol” I Didn’t Listen
  6. Windows Up
  7. Birds & The Bees
  8. 17 Wit A 38 (feat. Chief Keef)
  9. No Shoes On The Rug, Leave Them At The Door
  10. No Words
  11. Black Sheep, White Doves
  12. Baby Scale (feat. Yung Gloosh)

Review

@mikemccareins

7/10

Fav Tracks: Maryland Ass N***a, Baby Scale, Black Sheep White Dove, Pizza Shop Extended, No Shoes On The Rug Leave Them At The Door

This is a project you can’t just listen to when playing FIFA with friends or at a party, you really need to be in a more relaxed or personal setting to get the most out of IWASVERYBAD.

That’s not to say this was a bad album or a boring listen – there are some really hard beats and very rarely does IDK lose the passion and hunger throughout these songs. IWASVERYBAD is entertaining from the jump. The first half of the opening track, ‘Mrs. Lynch, Your Son is the Devil,’ is simply an interlude of IDK’s former teachers complaining about his behavior, but it heats up from there with a very introspective look by IDK at his mindset as a youngin’.

The next two tracks, ‘Maryland Ass N***a’, and, ‘Pizza Shop Extended’, were on another level. Production-wise, lyrically and in terms of wordplay these joints were so hot. The beat switch-ups in both tracks were flawless and really felt like you were listening to different chapters of IDK’s life, especially in ‘Pizza Shop Extended’. The production and delivery really made this sound like your were in IDK’s shoes as he tells the story of robbing a pizza shop. The complete change-up in sound at 2:08 was executed well (as he began telling the story of what happened in the store) – a lot of effort clearly went into this track.

I think the project lost a bit of its lustre following track three, even though there were definitely elements of, ‘Dog Loves Kitty’, and, ‘Windows Up’, that I enjoyed. I just think IDK was a little too generic in the middle of the album, especially on this pair of tracks. Whoever is singing the female vocals for the chorus on, ‘Windows Up’, did a good job and that was a nice addition, but the actual verses were a bit underwhelming.

The creativity came back a little in, ‘Birds & The Bees’, but I think IDK is too monotone and the beat just doesn’t fit his voice well on this to make it a great track. The sound was almost the exact opposite on, ’17 Wit A 38′, featuring Chicago drill rapper Chief Keef. The dark sound of IDK here matched pretty well with Keef’s sound, but there’s clearly an element missing in the production/beat that is holding the track back. It just sounds a little too basic for how fiery the delivery is from the two rappers. Keef was a mixed bag on his guest verse.

IDK executed the final four tracks much better than the middle-third of the album. ‘No Shoes On The Rug, Leave Them At The Door’, is a beautiful track some with some witty lines early on and a back-and-forth conversation between IDK and his mother (with IDK narrating both characters).

‘No Words’ was okay – a much faster-tempo beat here than what is seen for most of the project. Sonically, this sounded kind of random when listening to the album front-to-back and wasn’t super memorable.

Track 11, ‘Black Sheep, White Dove’, is a phenomenal track with two different halves of the song. The opening bars of the second half, White Dove, ‘have you ever been slept on so bad every time you seen a mattress it just made yo ass mad?’, was a humorous and memorable line. More importantly, this is a wonderful song dedicated to his deceased mother with some very sentimental moments including the backend of the track with the hook, “where you get them wings from, pretty? where you get them wings from, pretty?”

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‘IWASVERYBAD’, is a step up from Jay’s most recent project, ‘Empty Bank’.

IDK capped off his debut album with more of a classic-sounding hip-hop track, ‘Baby Scale’, that initially sounded soooo much like an Isaiah Rashad-produced track – like something off Cylvia Demo. The beat switched-up yet again on this track, several times actually, and IDK rode each beat really well.

I’m back and forth on the production on IWASVERYBAD. On several tracks (track 1, 2, 9, 11, 12), the transitions and segways into different sounds was fantastic, but on others (7, 8, 10) it was more basic and I think took away from how dynamic much of the album was.

The effort, storytelling and variance in sound was definitely there from Jay on his debut album. The first-third and final-third of the album were undeniably great, I just think the album slipped in the middle. However, this was a very enjoyable listen and an album that rap fans should check out and give a dedicated listen through if they haven’t already.

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