JID Makes a Play to be Lyrical Rap's Next Torch Bearer with DiCaprio 2
Evan Dale // Nov 8, 2018
Where do we start?
First things first, if you’re tuning into DiCaprio 2,do yourself a favor and begin with its 2015 predecessor, Dicaprio – an EP as foundational and underrated to JID’s career as any other artist’s early work. If you like that, take it back another couple year and start with Para Tu, his debut project and to be honest, one of the more experimentalist joints of its time.
Now that you’ve done your homework, indulge. Because indulgence if not utter immersion are what DiCaprio 2 is all about. Indulge in JID’s undeniable keystones – an acute attention to penmanship, a fervent, violent delivery, and a vocal range that seems to find home only in the most lyrically dynamic rappers throughout history. Immerse in JID’s knack for storyline, understanding of roots and buildup dating back to his early work, and ability to evoke emotion and memory at every turn.
If you’re feeling comparisons to Kendrick Lamar, you’re not off base, though JID makes it clear that comparisons in any capacity do him no justice.
He is undoubtedly an individualistic artist, so give DiCaprio 2 your time, your conscious thought, and maybe even your sobriety – depending on your vices of choice – because the album explores creative, conscious, and meditated depth we rarely see in music not only in this era, but throughout time.
It supposedly shouldn’t be surprising that Dreamville Records – the brainchild of one of the most lyrically conscious rappers of all time in J. Cole – should support artists of JID’s particular caliber and churn out projects as dynamic and introspective as DiCaprio 2. But there is really no way for a project of its quality to go unnoticed, if not immaculately received. There is also no way for it to come across the public’s perception without being widely polarizing.
To say the least, JID has had a banner year. The buildup alone to D2’s release was immense, not to mention his frequent collaborations across hip-hop, a tour, and an appearance in Berlin’s COLORS. Even with the busy schedule, JID didn’t slow down. In fact, he did the opposite.
Always noted first and foremost for his delivery which, if this is your introduction to JID, is best described as fast-paced, hard-hitting, and dangerous, his delivery got faster, harder, and way more brutal. In an era of melodic grey area hip-hop, JID seems sick of the bullshit, and, just like his Dreamville compatriots in J. Cole, Earthgang, and Bas, has no qualms airing his dirty laundry with the game.
But brash lyricism and violent cadences aside, there is much more to explore. DiCaprio 2 is not a direct shot at anyone or anything, but instead a public service announcement that every last one of us has been sleeping on the 28-year-old from East Atlanta. But those days are over. In its first days available to the public, led by singles 151 Rum & Off Deez, it’s exploding. And that says a lot about the state of lyricism’s remerging role in the mainstream following years of hyper-melodicism overpowering the importance of the pen.
In its lyrical dynamism, DiCaprio 2 rightfully hosts a short albeit presidential guestlist of featuring artists capable of keeping pace with JID. An expectedly high-octane opening verse from A$AP Ferg builds the foundation for Westbrook which is just begging for an arrogantly explosive music video the likes of which the Harlem hype man is known for coupling with his guest spots. More East Coast legends known specifically for their lyrical prowess are brought in for Hot Box. Method Man and Joey Bada$$ deliver complimentary, multi-epochal additions to the track, and make it one of the more laid-back energies on the album. Lastly, the man behind it all, J. Cole leaves it all out on Off Deez, taking JID’s untouchable energy, and inexplicably turning up the vibes even further.
But, in an artistically-driven decision, JID’s additional features come in an unexpected form. Three of the most internationally renowned vocalists of the day, 6lack, Ella Mai, and BJ the Chicago Kid, all play their respective roles in bringing an air of romance and soul to an album that otherwise runs too fast for non-traditionalist hip-hop fans to follow. Balance is the name of the game with Tiiied & Skrawberries, which may very well, especially considering the powerhouse names behind their features, come to be the most popular takeaways from the album. They’ll also make clean work of introducing JID to a slew of further fan bases.
In a time of short, less-than expected projects; in a time of melodic, less-than lyrical hip-hop; in a time of cookie-cutter, less-than innovative rap, JID is an old-soul lyricist with a young career, an obscenely massive, international following, and the edge necessary to take the torch from current masters of the pen. DiCaprio 2, which will undoubtedly be remembered as his proper introduction to the world, is the kind of necessary thesis on his craft to take him to the top tier.