IDK is a 29 year old British-American rapper, singer, songwriter & producer who broke out in the spring of 2014 off his debut mixtape Sex, Drugs & Homework. This was followed up with Subtrap & The Empty Bank, but his profile began to significantly increase in 2017 when he signed to William Street Records put out a 4th tape entitled IWasVeryBad to critical acclaim. He continued the grind by putting out a debit EP IDK & Friends as well as the full-length album Is He Real? & a 2nd EP IDK & Friends 2, but his sophomore effort USEE4YOURSELF last summer was very underwhelming. That being said, I was very much looking forward to his 3rd EP right here after learning that KAYTRANADA would be producing the whole thing.
“Drugstore” is a hip house opener about seeing that money talk & after the “Southeast to Paris” skit, Denzel Curry tags along for the jazz rap banger “Dog Food” with a fresh Lil Wayne interpolation during the hook. “Zaza Tree” returns to hip house turf & the hook here interpolates the late Soulja Slim very well.“Breathe” is a more atmospheric ballad talking about catching his breath leading into “Taco” incorporating some funky house influences settling some beef. Mike Dimes comes into the picture for the final song The Code” to discuss their #1 rules over a piano instrumental & “Paris to Southeast” ends the EP with yet another skit.
This is definitely much better than USEE4YOURSELF & I’ll even say that this is the crown jewel of IDK’s discography so far. Not only because he sounds incredibly laser-focused & comes through with some fantastic subject matter, but KAYTRANADA’s production is a breath of fresh air as it’s the most detailed it’s ever been on any project that Jay has put out previously.
This is the sophomore album from British-American rapper, singer, songwriter & producer IDK. Breaking out in the mid-2010s off his first 3 mixtapes under his original moniker Jay IDK, his profile began to significantly increase in 2017 when he signed to William Street Records put out a 4th tape entitled IWasVeryBad to critical acclaim. This was followed up with the debut EP IDK & Friends as well as his first full-length Is He Real? but with the 1-year anniversary of IDK & Friends 2 passing a couple weeks ago, Jay is delivering the long-awaited USEE4YOURSELF.
After the 301–809-1821 intro, the first song “Santa Monica Bvld.” is a bassy celebratory opener about him winning whereas “Dogs Don’t Lie” works in an alluring vocal sample to talk about trust. He also disses Anthony Fantano for giving Is He Real? a 6/10, which is bitter because many other people gave it the same score including ShawnCee’s annoying ass & even myself. “Truth” is a 30-second ambient cut saying he’s focused on money leading into Young Thug tagging along for the braggadocious “PradadaBang” produced by Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee of all fucking people.
Meanwhile on “Shoot My Shot”, we get a vibrant trap beat from T-Minus along with Offset accompanying IDK to be flirtatious just before Westside Gunn & Jay Electronica come into the picture to help discuss gold diggers on the luxurious trap banger “Red”. After the “Jelly” interlude, the Lucky Daye-assisted “Puerto Rico” serves as a corny ode to “5-star bitches” whereas “Temporary Love” is pretty much a 1-minute SiR song with little to no IDK presence whatsoever.
“10 Feet” with T-Pain is a lukewarm attempt at a strip club banger, but then “Keto” makes up for it with it’s synth-laced instrumental from The Neptunes to the charismatic performances from IDK alongside Rico Nasty & Swae Lee. He later compares himself to the great Michael Jordan on the minimal “1995” & then the “Payback’s a Dog” sample that “Peloton” brings to the table is so well played for him to talk about a woman who made his ego so high.
The track “Hey Auntie” with Slick Rick is a keyboard-heavy tribute to both of their respective aunts while the final song “Cry in Church” has a tension-building beat & lyrics about how IDK would rather be. Finally, “Closure” serves as a spoken-word outro with IDK talking over the phone saying that mockingbird represents innocence to him.
Coming away from this album, my feelings on it are pretty mixed. I think the concept of toxic masculinity being instilled in his mind at the early age is intriguing, but nearly half the cuts on here are so short that there’s literally no point of them being on here & most of the features hardly have any presence to them.