IDK recently culminated years of stellar mixtapes with his first major studio album, IWASVERYBAD. Never one to sugarcoat his story, IDK uses the album to reveal even more about himself than ever before. Backed by Adult Swim, the rapper finally had the support and resources to fully integrate the highly conceptual audio-visual experience he has incorporated into all of his projects. IDK’s talent on the mic and as a crafter of narrative is bolstered by an all-star supporting cast of Doom, Yung Gleesh, Chief Keef, Swizz Beatz, and more. The execution is immaculate. From his “episodic” releases of songs to the very content of the album, IWASVERYBAD is a reflection of the immense talent that is IDK.
IDK opens the album with “Mrs. Lynch, Your Son Is The Devil,” a self-analytic joint that opens with phone calls to his mother from teachers, community leaders, and police officers warning her that her son is a menace to society. The song follows suit, with IDK putting himself, his actions, and his drives in the spotlight. This type of gritty, stripped down tone is what drew listeners to IDK on his previous projects Subtrap and The Empty Bank, projects on which Jay turned his critical eye on the state of society, hip hop, and more. On IWASVERYBAD, it’s his turn on under the microscope. IDK raps “I’m trying to right my wrongs, but I’m sorry the same wrongs helped me write these songs.” This complex perspective is central to IDK’s message, which he took to social media to explain in more depth.
“Most people lie about their past or make up stories to look like someone they ain’t…this story is the truth. The good the bad and the in between. From the dumb s**t I did trying to be cool and even the way I treated women including my own mom. This is the soundtrack to my life and what makes me who I am today. I hope you can feel this shit the way I did.”
IDK dives right back into this with “Pizza Shop Extended,” the story of his forays into gang life as told by himself, Doom, Yung Gleesh, and Del the Funky Homosapien. Yet another track where IDK pulls no punches, “Pizza Shop” examines why Jay took the path he did, his choices, regrets, and what he continues to learn from the experience. The overwhelming realism of the track is in no means a glorification of the violence – rather, IDK presents the facts as they are, not excusing himself but not turning a blind eye either.
This is the a driving theme of the album. Put best by the man himself, IWASVERYBAD is “soundtrack to my life and what makes me who I am today.” IDK writes himself into the album, which is as strong overall as it is song to song. As introspective and conceptually impressive as the album is, it’s also full of bangers top to bottom. IDK enlists Chief Keef on “17 Wit a 38,” but also shows he can do it by himself tracks like “Windows Up,” and the groovy hit “Birds & the Bees.” IDK is a master of variety. Each track on the album feels like it has its own purpose, as well as a function within the larger context of the album. The result is an incredibly cohesive album that is also noteworthy on the individual level as well.
IDK goes crazy on IWASVERYBAD. The album is an reintroduction to a rapper we thought we already knew and the quintessential example of how to bring a concept in to reality. Tune in on Spotify below.