Maryland-based rapper puts together best body of work on latest album.
IDK is definitely having a moment — releasing his highly regarded second studio album USEE4YOURSELF on July 9.
The 17-song, 44-minute album sees all of the skills IDK has added to his musical arsenal at its peak. His polished singing voice, fine-tuned topical songwriting and sharp delivery all come together for what should be considered as his magnum opus.
Within the album, IDK delves into topics of scorn for his step-father, wishing his mother had raised him differently, his distrust of women and at times, dismissing serious topics for addictive banger joints.
Along with his impressive individual performances, IDK recruited an all-star caliber feature roster, lined with a handful of hip-hop legends, a couple of rising R&B stars and some of most attractive current names in rap.
From the onset of the album, IDK’s previous singles ultimately set an elite tone. On “Peloton,” he couples his sexual desires on the hook with outright great singing and playful bars. He meshes well with and matches the standard of quality of his feature artists in Young Thug on “Pradadabang” and Offset on “Shoot My Shot,” where IDK raps of his preference of lowkey women.
Say she like to do the lounge, she don’t fuck with the clubs
My type, my type, yeah, yeah, my type
Like Biggie, if the head right, I’m there all night
Like Yeezy, when I see it, I’ma hit it on sight“Shoot My Shot” — IDK, Offset
Along with the Kanye West shoutout, much of the album sees IDK heavily influenced by Ye. The last single “Red,” likely the best cut on the album, sees him hold his own with lyrical titans Westside Gunn and Jay Electronica, while the late MF DOOM assists him on the backend of the hook. IDK eerily sounds reminiscent of Yeezus-era Kanye in his delivery.
IDK shines vocally on the ninth track “Puerto Rico” with Lucky Daye as he sings about a complex romantic relationship he is in. This track offers great atmospheric contrast to most of the hard-hitting production on the record — like the adrenaline rush of a song “Keto” with Swae Lee and Rico Nasty and the eye-opening second track “Santa Monica Blvd.”
Towards the end, IDK begins to key in on the motivation behind the album and troubleshoots the issues of his life and upbringing. Whether it be his painful reflections on being molested in his youth on “Hey Auntie,” or powerfully discussing how his mother’s blind faith in Christianity distracted her from motherhood on “Cry in Church,” he definitely isn’t one mince words.
IDK has mostly flown under the radar in his humble rap career. On USEE4YOURSELF, he levels up in a major way surrounding himself with quality production and feature verses — improving his song structure from previous works and using transparency and passion as a strong suit. His self-esteem soars throughout, transparently showcased on songs like “Dogs Don’t Lie”:
I feel the bad reviews comin’
These bloggers givin’ me sixes, my confidence say a hundred“Dogs Don’t Die” — IDK
While his name is IDK, he’s certainly made his name known with his latest effort. With USEE4YOURSELF, he clearly sees things for what they are — transforming from a heavily overlooked rapper to crafting one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. IDK has a handful of projects under his belt, but it appears he’s just hitting his stride.