Final Rating: 9/10
The Atlanta rap scene has made a name for itself as being the Mecca for trap music with names like Gucci Mane and Migos dominating the airwaves. However, new and talented rapper, J.I.D, is challenging the typical Atlanta sound with his debut album entitled The Never Story. His sound could be mistaken for a California type opposed to a southern style. J. Cole’s newest signee to Dreamville. He is also the first one that doesn’t necessarily sound like J. Cole with his delivery and flow that could be compared to a collective of Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, and perhaps Lil Wayne. Whatever the case, J.I.D’s style is different and not a typical representation of Atlanta rappers, and it’s his intentions to expose this style of hip hop and create more for his city than just an aggressive trap scene.
J.I.D’s debut album is 12 tracks long and you get a lot in those 12 tracks. You can hear the trap influence in certain songs but is nowhere to be found in others where a jazzy sound is more present. Regardless, this new rapper can deliver a quality verse over it all. Following the intro track, The Never Story kicks off with the grimy General then proceeds into the bass-heavy NEVER in which the beat changes up halfway through, and although the two are completely different from each other, J.I.D uses his versatile flow to allow this beat change to work. The track EdEddnEddy is a fresh listen, for a younger person like myself, hearing the shows that I grew up on being referenced in a song. As these younger rappers come up, you’re beginning to hear more references to the more recent cultural history that can relate to the younger listeners who are used to hearing people talk about things that were before their time. Alongside this song with a newer reference is a sample from A Tribe Called Quest’s Scenario as he blends the new school with the old school. J.I.D makes these kind of references again on the track LAUDER where he says he “makes the crowd jump like Zaboomafoo.” His references are on point throughout the album with references to Mumford and Sons and Tarantino among others.
The album slows right down as J.I.D shows off his versatility with the song Hereditary and some decent vocals on All Bad. The track almost doesn’t fit into the album but again J.I.D seems to make what shouldn’t work, work. Following that, it picks right back off with the humourous track Underwear and two of my favourite tracks on the album, 8701 with 6lack and Hoodbooger. The hooks for these two songs are unbelievably catchy and the instrumentals that fuse groovy guitar riffs with trap-style bass and drums and it works so well with the chaotic delivery of J.I.D’s verses. The closing track LAUDER is probably the most notable of them all. This track sums up what J.I.D is about and what his visions are for his future. In the hook he says that “southern lyricists don’t exist like my flow is a myth” which is him suggesting that his style and delivery is something that’s never been seen coming out of Atlanta which is true to an extent, and with a line where he references the Odyssey and compares himself to Odysseus, he suggests that he can create a new “ideology” in Atlanta rap and that he’s the one to pave the way for the people to follow. The ability to work an Odysseus reference into a rap song is not a small feat for any rapper. J.I.D is a special lyricist. He doesn’t have the bars with the typical punchlines but he’ll slide in lines that make you rewind and check if you heard right. The kind of bars that make you go “damn.”
With his unique sound and his versatility, J.I.D has the potential to create big waves in the hip hop scene in the future. From what it sounds like from him, he wants to not only influence the hip hop scene but the on the world stage as well. If he continues to do what he’s done with this debut album combined with the media presence that he’s got by signing to Dreamville, he’s got the potential to be something special. He’s set the bar extremely high with this album and it’s really exciting to see where he takes this and what he has in store.