Jay IDK‘s popularity has been on the rise ever since he put himself on the radar with 2015’s SubTrap. The LP raised more than a few eyebrows due to the gritty and unsavory content that he tackled unflinchingly. Now, just over a year later, Jay is back with another full length album that is sure to garner him more attention. The Empty Bank focuses more around money (or lack thereof), but is an equally impressive, astute project as SubTrap with 13 refreshingly self-aware tracks. Jay examines the culture of indulgence and showmanship that is so abundant in today’s industry, and parodies it by rapping about the difficult transition from having no money to tasting real cash for the first time.
Before the full release of The Empty Bank, Jay teased listeners with two singles, “I Picture” and “My Wallet.” The two tracks, which both feature on the album, carry the themes that The Empty Bank revolves around. While “I Picture” has every appearance of a trap staple, Jay raps about the perils of money and materialism.
“My Wallet” features some big talent, with Saba, Michael Christmas, Jimi Tents, Phil Jackson, and Ab-Soul in the mix. The track tackles showmanship in a more lighthearted register, but with comparable success to “I Picture.”
Jay recently explained his thought process behind “I Picture” to Forbes:
“I say, ‘Car got hit by 50 rounds.’ That’s a line that nobody notices, and that’s the most important line…It’s saying how blind we are to all of these things. All we see is money. But at the end of the day when you get hurt, do you still picture money?”
The Empty Bank puts Jay IDK’s versatility on display. Over the course of the 13 songs, Jay sings, raps, and growls over a variety of different beats. Intermittent interludes from “collection agent Brian Arsinal” asking after “Mr. Mills” add levity to the album. Jay IDK moves from track to track, effortlessly changing tones. A personal favorite of mine, “Boy’s Innocence” grabs attention as a standout track with heavy content reminiscent of SubTrap.
Throughout The Empty Bank Jay raps about money problems, relationship problems, responsibilities, priorities, and much more. The beauty of the album is how well it all fits together; Jay creates a picture of the modern life as a performing artist that loses the glamour and frills that are so frequently associated with it. From the provocative album artwork to the stripped down, barebones view of life Jay espouses, The Empty Bank is an album that is as unique as it is impressive. SubTrap set the bar high, but Jay IDK has outdone himself with his latest project.
Stream The Empty Bank in its entirety on Soundcloud and grab your copy here.